My recent trip up North, where I was given some dirty looks for using the term “ma’am” brought this post from last year to mind. “Ma’am” is not an insult, y’all. While this post originally talked about what you teach your kids to say, I’d love to hear what you think about being called ma’am, too.
I’ll never forget the first time I was called ma’am.
It was my first day of teaching and I had given a direction to my class of 6th graders, who then chorused “Yes, ma’am.”
Did they just say “Yes, ma’am??????”
Don’t they realize that I just turned 22 the previous WEEK?
No one called me ma’am when I was student teaching. But I did that up North: where the class will chorus “Yes, Miss —–” instead of ma’am.
But this was the South.
And in the South, kids are taught to say ma’am to their elders.
And even though at 22, I didn’t like describing myself as an elder, it was the norm.
And so I got used to it. And I sir and ma’am people all the time.
My boys know to say “Yes, ma’am” and “No sir” and the like to their teachers, other adults, and even Hubs and I. Though our two youngest sometimes say “Yes, ma’am” to their Daddy… not quite getting the whole gender thing, since they are used to dealing with their teachers(and me) who are all female.
I have to admit: while I cringed at that first time I was called ma’am, I do expect it these days and expect my boys to address adults that way, as well.
Do you teach your kids to say “ma’am” and “sir?” If not, what terms do they use?