Child #1- Yes, sir I would like some more.
Child #2- Yes, Dad I would like some more.
Which child is being more polite?
How about here?
Child #1- Yes, ma'am I had a good day at school.
Child #2- Yes, Grandmother I had a good day at school. Thank you for asking.
Child #1- No, sir.
Child #2- No thank you Uncle Sam.
For me both children are being equally polite and respectful. And you've probably guessed that Child #2 is the voice of my child and my own voice for that matter. Before I had children I had the experience of watching parents and children communicate as a teacher and youth pastor. And my conclusions were always the same, just because a child put sir or ma'am after a yes or a no it did not necessarily mean they were showing any more respect or manners than one that didn't. Sarcasm can drip from any word of the English language, as well as body language that puts any parents teeth to gnawing. Sometimes parents would get so caught up in making sure that their child was addressing them correctly that they completely missed what the child was trying to tell them. I am guilty of this!
Anyway, my point to all this is that what works for me is to follow the words my wise mother gave to me many years ago. I can still see her, head buried in the Tupperware cabinet looking for a wayward lid as I asked her why she didn't make me say sir and ma'am like my friends parents.
Turning to look up at me she smiled, brushed her hair out of her face and said, "The words you use are not nearly as important to me as to the way you use them. When you speak I want you to speak with honesty, respect, and caring. If you do that neither I nor anyone else will find fault with your manners."
So I've taken those words to heart. If my children put a ma'am or a sir into their sentence I'm great with that, but I don't require it. My dear husband has gone along with my way of thinking, although at first I think it took every effort he could summon not to blurt out "Sir!" when our first child would respond with a sweet , "Yes".
So that's what works for me, what works for you?
Head over to Shannon's for more!