I heard something of interest on the radio this morning on my way to work. A listener wrote a letter to the DJs of this particular station about his daughter and her being in trouble at school. I’ll paraphrase – but you’ll get the idea.
“Dear DJ: I was born and raised above the Mason-Dixon line, but still consider myself to have very good manners. Since I have moved to Arkansas, I notice that most young people and children address adults and people of authority by “maam” or “sir”. I have not taught my young daughter to do this as this is not something that is as common where I am from and I don’t consider it necessary in order to have good manners. People I have encountered here in Arkansas, and in particular her grade school teachers, disagree with me. She has been reprimanded on several occasions while at school when she answers simply “yes” instead of “yes maam” or “yes sir”. And there have also been several occasions in which adults have corrected her – in my presence. My daughter is otherwise very polite and I not only disagree that the addition of “maam” and “sir” to her vocabulary makes or breaks her manners, but I also think it is far less polite for an adult to correct a child while in the presence of the child’s parents – no matter what the crime. What do you think?”
I, obviously, have an opinion. As do I believe that there is more than one issue here. I would love your thoughts.