My momma raised me right.

Date October 21, 2008

“Did you have a good sleep?” he’d ask me every morning and my answer was always the same.  “Yes, sir.”

My last day working at Port Hacking, Atto told me he’d miss being called Sir and to this day if I answer my mom with a “yes” there’s a “yes, what?” that comes quickly on its heels.  But that’s fair, she still says “yes, ma’am” to her mother as well. 

I guess with that upbringing it’s no surprise that I use sirs and ma’ams so often.  It’s a habit that I’m pretty fond of and that I seem to pass on without realizing it.

Today I was teaching like a mad woman.  We were talking about cheeseburgers and picking fights and  treasure maps and pirates and long division and how they all go together.  (If you’re a teacher and want to hear this little math story, let me know.  It’s a gem.  Har-dee-har-har.) 

There was shoutin’ and screamin’ and we were all getting excited.  It was a why I teach sort of moment.

In a last burst of energy I asked with heartfelt fervor, “SOOOO, should you ever ever ever EVER go looking for that quotient treasure without your treasure map, MY FRIENDCITOS???!!!”

And with that same contagious enthusiam all twenty-six of my precious Colombian children shouted out, “No ma’am!”

And my Southern heart nearly burst wide open.

12 Responses to “My momma raised me right.”

  1. Lou said:

    I believe in the sir and ma’am too but I fear I have gotten away it. I find my self not correcting my son on that like I should. But after reading this I go home today with a new fervor to “raise him right”.

    Thanks for that.
    Love, Lou

  2. Kyles said:

    Oh my gosh… How funny Em! I can hear exactly Atto’s voice and Your Voice as clear as day reading this blog. And then us giggling at each other, Me having to say ”Pardon” as you spoke with your thick southern acent.
    Good Times!!!

  3. chowle said:

    A southerner often stands out in a crowd, because someone’s mama taught them politeness and manners. In some neck of the woods, it’s called “home trainin'” – – We miss you, Em.

  4. Amy Laboe said:

    Love you!!! Good teacher stories always help me remember to be excited at work, instead of tired… besos.

  5. Deanna said:

    This is a good lesson for everyone…not just your students. I have to admit that I’m pretty good with the ma’ams and sirs for the same reason. Its part of being respectful and I’m working on it with Weston.

  6. Nieca said:

    Every morning before Christopher leaves the house I say (and he now says with me), “yes ma’am, no ma’am, thank you, and please.” And then he grins with that sweet smile. That is great, Em!!!!

  7. Natalie said:

    My 12 1/2 month old will jabber her little noggin’ off (like I am supposed to know what she is saying) and she will look at me as if I am supposed to answer. My reply? I answer her with a yes ma’am, and then she goes about her business.

  8. Dani said:

    I teach mine to say it too! When I was in college I worked for a man that fussed at me for saying sir to him. He told me he wasn’t my daddy. My reply was “no, you ain’t my daddy, but I’d rather not deal with my mama for not saying sir to you.” He finally gave up. I can’t imagine not saying sir or ma’am

  9. Sheila said:

    One thing that comes to mind is not a sir or maam but a Miss. When I worked at Brookwood and first started sewing I sat by a lady named Mabel and because she was a little older than me I called her Ms. Mabel and her reply was that she hadn’t missed a thang. So, needless to say i stopped calling her that and we became buddies afterwards so it was just Mabel…

  10. Kyles said:

    Here in Sydney Australia the first time i heard someone say Sir or Ma’am was When you Em arrived at Port Hacking… I agree with you all saying is correct manners!! It’s a shame it doesn’t happen more here.

  11. Stephen said:

    That’s beautiful. I’m going to have to start using the word friendcito.

  12. Frances said:

    Sometimes I wonder… If I ever have kids, will I be that good at passing on the manners? I have definitely slipped on the “yes sir/yes ma’am” part. But, for a couple people in northeast colorado, the boys and I have changed forever how they are addressed. We would always call them “Miss Linda” or “Mr. Bryan”.. and get made fun of for it. But now quite a few people call them that without even thinking about it. 🙂