Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Dear Sir or Madam,

I started a new job this week. Encountering new people is always an adventure. I'm finding that everyone is really nice, and even though I sometimes feel that I'm swimming in mud, I think I'll find my feet before too long. This week has been such an emotional roller coaster. I didn't cry today! Haha. Monday I cried because I felt really overwhelmed at Convocation because I showed up and didn't have a clue as to where I needed to be, what I was supposed to be wearing, and who I was supposed to be looking for. Tuesday I cried because I hit my head on the corner of an open cabinet. Today, there were no tears and I was so relieved.

Something that I always find interesting is people's reactions to respect from a peer. I'm one of several Educational Assistants at my school and one of my coworkers, who happens to be older than I am, has been really helpful and on Tuesday he told me that if I needed anything I should let him know. I said, "Thank you, sir," and he stopped dead in his tracks and told me that I didn't need to call him sir because we were on the same level. This same type of thing happened to me a few weeks ago with a coworker who I was pretty close to at my last job.
All of this makes me wonder why my mom worked so hard to teach my sisters and I to show respect to our elders and even our peers. I was taught never to call my adult relatives by their first names only, always to say ma'am or sir, please and thank you.
Why is a society that is so focused on tolerance and acceptance and equal treatment seeming to run away screaming from politeness and respect? What do you think? If you have kids, what are you teaching them? What did your parents teach you? If you were raised like me, tell me what you think. If not, please explain your point of view! I want to know what you're thinking about this!

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