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Old 03-25-2011, 10:45 AM
 
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I've noticed the use of this by children in my neighborhood who come from military families and from the south. My son is very involved in Tae Kwon Do and it's a requirement to call the instructor Sir. This has had a spill over into his "social" vernacular with adults and I think it's fine.

Adult to adult in a work environment I feel is a little too formal.
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Old 03-25-2011, 10:52 AM
 
Location: Sterling, VA
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I'll vote on the "sir" and "ma'am" side. I was raised that way and so were my children. I was also taught not to refer to an adult by their first name unless I was given permission by the adult.

I find the practice of being called by my first name in a doctor's waiting room too familiar. Yes, I am an old crank , but when a doctor calls me by my first name, I respond by calling the doctor by his or her first name.
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Old 03-25-2011, 11:08 AM
 
Location: Virginia
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I don't think you can go wrong giving your children a bit of polish and good manners. There are so many jobs in this area where we deal with people from other cultures who appreciate that sort of response. Yes, this might be a habit that they find they don't need when they get older, but it's much easier to discard manners than to try to learn them as an adult.

I agree it's even more important to teach children to say "thank you." Too many people are letting that slide and it's not doing your kids any favor, IMO.
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Old 03-25-2011, 11:27 AM
 
Location: In the woods
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My dad was in the military and when we were little, taught to ask and respond with "Yes Sir, "Yes Ma'm." My children were taught the same. People (to me) respond better when address this way versus "Excuse me" or some other generic form of verbage. I find it to be a sign of courtesy.

Because I respond this way, people assume I'm from the south, but it's the opposite--I'm from the North. I was just raised in a military family.
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Old 03-25-2011, 11:32 AM
 
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I think it's sad when people interpret as an insult something said with the intent to be polite and respectful.

I grew up in the north, but I hear "ma'am" and "sir" a lot around here, especially in retail establishments. Before traveling in France, I was told that it was considered rude NOT to address people as "madame", "mademoiselle", or "monsieur", and these terms were constantly used.

The only objection I have is when I, as a woman, am addressed by my first name (e.g., at the doctor's office) but men are addressed as "Mr. Smith."
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Old 03-25-2011, 11:33 AM
 
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Wow - I have taught my sons to say "Please" and "Thank You" - being from the North we were not taught Yes, Ma'm and Sir - but I like it.

I have volunteered in the schools and the sad thing is most kids have not even been taught Please and Thank You - I wonder why? Are the parents that clueless?
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Old 03-25-2011, 11:37 AM
 
Location: In the woods
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fairfax Mom View Post
Wow - I have taught my sons to say "Please" and "Thank You" - being from the North we were not taught Yes, Ma'm and Sir - but I like it.

I have volunteered in the schools and the sad thing is most kids have not even been taught Please and Thank You - I wonder why? Are the parents that clueless?
Seems to be a bad habit that's been around awhile. Even when my kids were little (when we moved to Loudoun Co), people would compliment them for using "thank you" and "please".

The other form of etiquette is the horrid way [some] kids/adults answer a phone.
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Old 03-25-2011, 11:50 AM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
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Ugh...I can't stand it when someone calls me "ma'am". It makes me feel like I'm 75 years old. I grew up in southern California and was a very polite child (and I think I'm a pretty polite adult now!), but I never said ma'am or sir--it was always "yes, please" or "no, thank you".

I know it's their job and they're doing it to be polite, but I haaaaate when the grocery store checkers ask, "Would you like help to your car, ma'am?" Then I feel like I look old AND decrepit!
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Old 03-25-2011, 11:55 AM
 
Location: In the woods
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Originally Posted by CaliTerp07 View Post
Ugh...

I know it's their job and they're doing it to be polite, but I haaaaate when the grocery store checkers ask, "Would you like help to your car, ma'am?" Then I feel like I look old AND decrepit!
Ah, then they should use a humorous line I use (if someone really is a senior), and use "Miss" or call them "young man" or "young woman". I did that once and a woman smiled and said, "Oh, it's been years since I heard that!"
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Old 03-25-2011, 11:55 AM
 
5,071 posts, read 8,617,441 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fairfax Mom View Post
Wow - I have taught my sons to say "Please" and "Thank You" - being from the North we were not taught Yes, Ma'm and Sir - but I like it.

I have volunteered in the schools and the sad thing is most kids have not even been taught Please and Thank You - I wonder why? Are the parents that clueless?
This made me feel better. I grew up with Southern parents who taught me to use "Ma'am" and "Sir," but ditched it when I went to school in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. I still use it with some older Southern relatives when visiting, but never gave a thought to passing it on to my kids around here.

On the other hand, we've been real sticklers for getting our kids to say "Please" and "Thank You," so it's good to know that's still more or less universally appreciated!
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