Letter to the Editor: 'Wear that 'ma'am with pride'

I’m finally getting an opportunity to read this week’s newspaper. When I read, “He called me-gasp-M’am,” I wanted to send you reassurance and share perspective.

Twenty years ago, I started a new job and attended a three-week training in New Jersey. One of my new colleagues was from Kentucky. He held doors open for all his female counterparts. At dinner, he waited to sit until the women were seated. He answered with “yes m’am” and “no m’am”. Mind you, many of us were in our 20’s. When I heard him speak with his children on the phone he asked his young sons if they were taking good care of their mama. If any responses to questions were not “yes sir” or “no sir,” I’d hear my red-headed colleague say, “Excuse me?!” to which the boys quickly restated their answers. This was done in love and teaching his young sons to respect women and respect adults. I loved it and hoped to raise my boys (if I were blessed with boys) similarly. Fast forward several years, I was blessed with two incredible boys.  

This is the part of the story I really wanted to share with you. It impacts everyone in the Brandon community and will continue to do so.

I enrolled my sons in martial arts in Brandon. It was music to my ears when I learned the students were required to answer questions with a “yes/no sir/m’am.” The program was nothing short of amazing. It helped me raise boys of virtue and respect.  

Hundreds of kids in Brandon have gone through this same program over the past 10-15 years. You may encounter them working at the grocery store, holding a door for you at the gas station, delivering food to your table at a restaurant ... and they may call you “m’am.” They say it not because you may be “on the downhill side of middle age,” but because it is what they were taught to show respect to women and adults. To that, I say, “Amen!” Demonstration of honor and respect can be a rarity this day in age. We should encourage it and relish it when encountered.

I’m not as strict with my kids’ sir/m’am’ responses as I once was (but after reflecting and writing this, I think there will be a resurgence).   
Have a great week and wear that “m’am” with pride! Someone thought you were worthy of it!

Monica Visscher



The Brandon Valley Journal


The Brandon Valley Journal
1404 E. Cedar St.
Brandon, SD 57005
(605) 582-9999

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