As a child of the South: born in Georgia and resident of South Caorlina for the last 30+ years, and now a parent in the South, I’ve determined Five values all Southern Parents must instill into their children:
- Manners, Manners, Manners
Above all else, and before all else, you must be polite and show proper respect to all people. This includes proper use (meaning everyone, young and old) of “Ma’am” and “Sir” and continual use of “May I” (even if it’s already yours) and “Thank You” even if you were wronged.
- Love of college football
You must find a team and make them your own. You must love them through thick and thin and you must hate their rivals (I have some ideas of teams you can cheer for, if you need some).
And most importantly, you must not celebrate special events on fall Saturday’s – especially weddings. No daughter of the South shall ever schedule a wedding between Labor Day and Thanksgiving.
- Exposure to Beach Music
You must learn to shag and to make sure your children do as well. And shagging can only be done to Beach Music. While most people are familiar with the Drifters, the Temptations, and the Four Tops, you must also be conversant with groups like Chairman of the Board, the Catalinas, the Embers, and the Tymes.
If not, how else do you propose to have a Southern wedding?
- Wardrobe of seersucker and flip flops
To not only be Southern, but to also look Southern, your children must have a collection of seersucker suits/dresses and flip flops. Both of these materials breathe the best, which is a necessity in the hot and dirty south.
There is some leeway here for girls as a good sandal can take the place of flip flops. Should typically be white, or other light color, and be adorned with flowers or fun insects.
However, please note there are some exceptions to this rule. For guys, no sandals. None. For girls, the following brands are off limits to be considered Southern: Tevas, Birchenstocks, and Crocs – even they make flip flops.
This should go without saying, but socks with either seersucker or flip flops is explicitly outlawed. In general, socks in the South are optional – even for work.
- A few great expressions
What makes Paula Dean so lovable, besides the butter, are the expressions, and every Southerner must have a few in their staple. They do not need to make sense, but they need to be understood – know what I’m saying? Southern expressions are generally silly, confusing, and grammatically incorrect, when read outside of a Southern conversation – kind of like athletes’ tweets outside of a sporting event. But you must have them.
Generally, 5-10 will get you through most every situation in life – and you’ll never be at a loss for words.
As you try to raise Southern children, please note, Southern reality tv is not your barometer. You may not use any of the sayings, dress, or tricks shown on Duck Dynasty, Honey Boo Boo, Swamp Loggers, or any other “Southern” reality show to increase your Southern standing. It must be legit and from you, the parent, not some terd on tv.
So – how are you parents of the South doing in raising our next great Southern generation? Any other necessities I missed? Am I wrong on any?
Even if I were, would your Southern hospitality and manners be allowed to tell me?