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Friday, August 12, 2011

The trouble with language

The Husband and I do not run a "Yes, sir," "No, ma'am" kind of house. (Ironic, no?)

Not that we mind when our friends' children call us "ma'am" or "sir" -- sometimes it's just too stinkin' cute to hear those words come out of little mouths. We're both born and bred Midwesterners and, while we love our adopted South, those phrases just aren't our style.

The battle waging at our house lately is over "OK." As in, "Boy #2, please do this." To which he replies, "OK." Sometimes with a sigh, sometimes not. They both do it.

These 2 letters speak more about my boys' hearts and attitudes than they realize. And that's why it's important.

Ahem. Little person who shares my home and DNA, I do not need you to agree with what I've asked you to do; your job is to obey. I'm the mommy; God put you in my family and put your father and me in charge. In a few years' time, it will be perfectly fine for you to agree with me about what you're going to do. . .but we're not there yet. If you have a good reason for delaying your action, I will listen to you -- so long as you speak respectfully.

For now, the best thing for you to do is reply, "Yes, Mommy," showing a bit of respect, and then go do the thing I asked. Really.



  1. You've hit a nerve. I'm a Southerner, so my children are learning to say Ma'am and Sir. It's quite a bother to teach them this. (Translation: to constantly say it FOR them since they don't yet seem to remember so often.) Lately, I have envied families from outside the South because their moms don't have to do all of this reminding. I really would love to be frying all those bigger fish, if you know what I mean, than working on this.

    YET, as you have communicated this morning, SOMETHING must be said by the child to communicate the intention of obedience and/or understanding. "OK" doesn't do it around here, either. Strangely, I'm finding that "Yes, Ma'am" and "Yes, Sir" (they ARE proper nouns you must understand, unlike in your own usage in the opening thesis of your blog post) work just fine for this.

    So this nuisance of a tradition is actually proving itself rather useful around here. Maybe you should consider it.

  2. Excellent thoughts, Tina! This truly is a heart issue, and you identifying that and requiring a, "Yes, Mom," goes a long way in teaching them that. Of course, as a born and bread Southerner, I'm a bit partial to ma'am and sir, but living in the midwest the last six years has taught me there are plenty of respectful kids who don't use those terms.

    Keep up the good work, Ma'am!