I live in the deep South, where the terms Ma'am and Sir are (generally) used as a matter of course, and out of respect. My parents would have killed me if I had answered an adult with "yeah." We raised our daughter to use ma'am, sir, please, may I, and thank you. I did not mind if she answered me with "Okay," as long as the tone was respectful. This topic touched off a huge debate in my Classroom Management course. The instructor (from Ohio) fervently did not believe in using ma'am and sir. She did not illuminate us as to why. A girl I knew in a past life (from Massachusetts) said that she would NEVER teach her children to use them, because they are subservient. HUH? I guess the geographical area/culture in which I was raised is significantly different than some others. What are your ideas/beliefs/thoughts on this topic? I have noticed that in my area, most students do still use ma'am & sir in responses, at least in elementary school. In fact, and correct me if I'm wrong, ChristyF, several years ago, our governor passed a bill through the state legislature requiring elementary and secondary students to use them. I have talked to teachers about this, and most of them vaguely remembered the news coverage when it happened, and most of them did require respectful forms of address and response, but at the same time, almost all of them felt that it was an unenforceable statute.