Last night I was sitting in the waiting room at our local hospital ER, waiting for a wife to arrive whose husband was being treated. In walked three teenage girls. One apparently was old enough to drive. The other two might have been 15 or so.
The older looking girl went up to the desk and said she needed to see a doctor. She had a sore throat. The other two girls continued on to the vending machines. After filling out a form and presenting her ID, the girl seeking medical attention was then told by the Triage Nurse to come in for her evaluation. At the same time one of the other girls started to follow her in. The nurse said, "You can wait out here" (referring to the waiting room), "but if you're going to be in the hospital you need to put on some shoes. Do you have some shoes in the car?"
The girl was barefooted. In December. Obviously she had no clue that shoes might be required attire in a hospital. And just as obviously, she didn't care. But she went out, and came back in with some shoes on her feet.
In the mean time, the third girl came back in to the waiting room with a Mountain Dew. She asked the girl with the shoes why she went outside. "To get some shoes on." "Why did you have to put on shoes?" "Because the f____________ b_________ woman in there is stupid!".
She pushed my button. Yanked my chain. "Hey. You think they might have some rules in the hospital? And there is no reason to call her what you just did. You're not old enough to be using that kind of language. Show some respect."
"You don't know how old I am", she smartly replied. "No. But you obviously are older than you act."
A couple of questions.
Where were the adults in these kids' lives? Why is a minor coming to seek medical attention without a parent? And what's with her bringing along a couple of friends to the hospital? Why hasn't someone taught this foul mouthed girl some manners and respect of authority? Does she have any concept of why there are rules?
It was pretty sad. Respect is a value that begins to be understood at home.
We have to reach this generation. Somewhere the passing on of values is being interrupted. Witness last week's trampling death of a Wal-Mart employee on Black Friday by me-first consumers.