Yes Ma’am and No Ma’am – Respect

I was born in Flint, MI and attended school up there until I was in the 6th grade. In the north we called Coke’s “Pop”, and instead of ya’ll, we said “You guys”. When someone asked you a question you responded with “yeah” or “no”.

After about 6 weeks at the Grand Blanc Junior High School, my Mom moved us down to Blytheville, AR and I started school at the Central Elementary School. Soon after starting the new school I was asked a question by my teacher, a Mrs. Anderson. I responded the only way I knew how to respond…and that was with a big fat “YEAH”!! Now Mrs. Anderson had her bluff in on me and I to be honest, she kind of scared me. She very quickly asked what I said, and I said “YEAH”. I remember her response very distinctly as she said to me, “Young man, here in the South we RESPECT our elders and you WILL answer with either a “Yes Ma’am or No Ma’am or a Yes Sir or No Sir”…IS THAT CLEAR. I said, “Yes Ma’am”. I learned that short lesson of respect (and manners) in just one interaction with Mrs. Anderson. After she scolded me, I always thought she was a mean old teacher…of course I was wrong. I think she taught History and maybe English, but the lesson I learned has stuck with me all these years. And so I thank Mrs. Anderson for the lesson in manners and respect, Yes Ma’am she had an impact on me.

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