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The Importance of "Yes Sir and Yes Ma'am"

By Jeramy McNeely

January 25, 2017

From the Extension Agent’s Desk

The Importance of “Yes Sir and Yes Ma’am”

Yesterday my brother Matt had his first child, Keller Cash McNeely, and I couldn’t be more excited for him and his wife Jennifer.  They live in Amarillo, so I haven’t had the chance to see the bundle of joy other than through pictures.  As I’m looking at the pictures, I’m already wondering how this little man will turn out.  Both parents were pretty good athletes so I’m sure he’s got that going for him and I would imagine with two grandpas being cowboys, he will have some kind of horse to ride very soon.  So personally, I see an ornery little cowboy in our midst when looking at pictures.

Although I wish they lived closer, I’m very glad that they live in Amarillo because “yes sir” and “yes ma’am” will be instilled in his upbringing.  If you have spent any time in Texas or parts of the South, you’ve seen this etiquette is still alive and well today. Having lived in Texas for a short time along with occasional visits, I’m still blown away by this practice.  I’m even more blown away when little kids use it as a sign of respect for their elders.  My brother has a buddy who has a three year old who is cowboy to the core, and not much gives you a warmer feeling than to hear that little man say yes sir and no sir to his dad.  It’s also yes ma’am and no ma’am to his mother and if dad doesn’t hear him say it, he’s gonna hear about!

Now there is all kinds of literature and studies out there on why kids should exhibit good manners and respect for their elders.  I don’t want to get into all of that in an effort to keep these articles short and to the point.  If you want more information come into the office and we can  study it together or just google “why manners are important”.  What I do want is to give my simple outlook on the subject.  When a young man or lady comes up to me, gives me a firm handshake, tries to look me in the eye, and uses phrases like yes sir, yes ma’am, please and thank you, they have my respect.  I will go out of my way to do just about anything for that kid and their family.   Not because I have to, because it’s what I want to do.  It creates good karma.  It creates cohesion.  It promotes quality of life not only for the child, but for the people with whom they come in contact. 

I hope nobody thinks I’m preaching.  It’s just an observation.  But as a parent, I would assume that the best compliment my brother and his wife can receive is, “Well, what a nice, respectful young man!” 
Contact: Jeramy McNeely
CSU Extension Agent
4-H Youth Development/Ag Natural Resources
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