Tuesday, December 2, 2008

"Where are the adults?", I wondered...

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.

24 comments:

MilePost13 said...

you need to get out more...I've stopped being surprised and shocked at the language and manners of most local kids...

FWIW, spend some time on facebook looking around the profiles of some (not ALL) of the kids in our church...you might also be surprised at what you see/read, and we know for a fact that most of these kids have parents who love and care and try to raise them to be respectful, etc.

MilePost13 said...

BTW (because I know how some of your readers will want respond to my last comment), I'm not condemning or judging these kids, I'm simply adding the the discussion (assuming there will be a discussion here) by pointing out the fact that the behavior you witnessed last night is not exclusive the to unchurched crowd.

Denise said...

I am a mom of teenager, and I would no more allow her to go to the hospital alone (without a parent), or let her go with a friend, just to be along for the ride. It blows my mind how independent some of these parents allow their kids to be. It still appalls me the language these kids use on a regular basis, and the direspect they have for others and especially adults. If I EVER found out my daughter talked that way especially in a public place, I will tell you she would have a nice flavoring or ivory soap in her mouth, I don't care how old she is!

I will tell you though, my daughter's dad cusses like a sailor and listens to music that has horrible lyrics and thinks nothing of it that she hears it!

That is why I have the conversation with her, garbage in, garbage out, on a regular basis. I think we as parents are afraid to step on others toes and won't tell them when we encournter their children misbehaving. EVEN churched kids parents!

This is just my two cent worth!

Rick Lawrenson said...

Oh, I was neither surprised nor shocked at her language. I hear it from kids out and about all the time. But I wonder if anyone has ever told her, "Hey. That's not appropriate"? Probably not.

Barb said...

From what I hear coming from some parents' mouths when I'm out and about, it's obvious many parents have no standard of appropriateness and decency. And so the cycle continues.

My kids were told that there IS a standard, at least in our family. And that foul language and disrespect isn't tolerated. Further, a potty mouth broadcasts to the world a lack of education, training and decency.

I'm sure there are even churched kids who fall into the polluted cultural stream, but parents should still persevere.

Even though "everyone's doing it," as parents we have the responsibility to raise the bar and MODEL and expect the best from our kids. To do any less is pure laziness.

Nancy said...

How sad that that behavior has become common place...I work in all the high and middle schools in Dare and Currituck Counties, and I often see adults "in charge" turn a blind eye to that type of disrespectful behavior, and so it continues. I am glad that you said something to those teens. Maybe, just maybe, they will think before they speak next time.

Missy said...

All I can say is...........barefoot in a hospital ER? EEEEWWWWWWW.....I would have smiled at the end and tell her that she was standing barefoot right where the ______________________________________________________________________________________________ (fill in the blank of any ER drama)

stood. That she might want to get the tainted blood/incurable virus/SARS/kid vomit off her feet.

I am sure the parents are just as charming.

Bonnie said...

I can tell you.....as a parent of teen (POT)that you can raise them not to talk trash, to respect rules and authority, and to exemplify a Christ like character...and when they get out in public, they don't always follow your upbringing. Good for you for speaking up. I usually say something too. Can't help it...it's that teacher inside me jumping to get out!

Andy Lawrenson said...

I also know that at my age college students look like teens so the girls may have been older than you think, especially at your age.

ladybug said...

Andy is correct, in that if the "patient" were not 18 years or older, a phone call to the parent would have to be made to get treatment authorization unless the "patient", who may also have been under 18, was pregnant. How crazy is that?

Nathan is also correct about the facebook thing. I am all over it seeking this very language from my own children, just in case I have to get out the soap or in our case the pickled jalepeno peppers.

So here is the pay off for all of that - that "sore throat" will probably cost about $800.00 if you don't have insurance - go to the urgent care - it's cheaper!

Agnes said...

How very sad! But for the grace of God I could have been that girl. We are so blessed to be in a body of believers that make reaching these young people a major part of our ministry.

Rick Lawrenson said...

Back at Andy,
The girl in question was wearing a Manteo High School sweatshirt, and was pretty young. I'm fairly certain she is still in school.

Rick Lawrenson said...

Back at Andy,
The girl in question was wearing a Manteo High School sweatshirt, and was pretty young. I'm fairly certain she is still in school.

Ronnie Roach said...

Good for you Rick,

I like your style. Someone needs to tell them how to act and in many cases they might not hear that advice at home.

There are so many problems with the story. Why would you go to the emergency room with a sore throat? There is humor in so many things in life - It did make me smile at your "student" calling the hospital employee stupid. Irony at its best.

brunettekoala said...

I'm with Missy. I'd probably have gone with the calmly pointing out that she might want to put on shoes in case someone else's bodily fluids end up on her feet.

$800 to see a doctor? For real?

I think we can be quick to blame parents. I have a real potty mouth on me (it has got better since becoming a Christian, but still comes out when I get angry about something) but I was most definitely taught decent values, discipline and respect from my Mum.

Michele said...

I have been an emergency room for 26 years and what you have described is pretty typical afraid. I thank you for confronting the girls. Most people are too afraid to say anything like that. As far as a minor being treated... There are a couple of things. It does depend on the state you are in as well as WHY the child is being seen on whether or not parent has to be there. If she was being seen for a sore throat than most likely they called the parent to get consent and had two nurses listening in so that there was a witness. They usually do it when the patient is in triage.

In some states minors can be treated for STDs without parental knowledge or consent. If a girl is pregnant she can be treated without parental knowledge or consent (again, depends on the state).

Here is a crazy one for you. A pregnant girl can get medical care without parental consent but after she has the baby she needs to have parental consent again! BUT, she can give consent for the baby to be treated even though she is a minor. How is that for weird.

Also, a minor can be legally emancipated through the court system and would no longer need parental consent.

michele

Michele said...

I wanted to correct my post to say that I have been an emergency room NURSE for over 26 years. I left the nurse part out :) :) :)

michele

McLeod Family said...

I say good for you for speaking up! I don't care how old the girls are inappropriate is inappropriate! If it were my daughter I would be glad to know that someone said something. It is sad ... because really internally those girls are hurting inside ...

Jenn said...

It is sad that teens and younger from what I have seen lately think that the only way to be "cool" is to have a potty mouth!! It is not all that surprising though, look at the music on their ipods....every other word is a word that you would hope would never come out of your child's mouth. I have caught my daughter more than once with a song on her ipod that was not appropriate, so I let her know that either she could delete it or I could just take the whole thing!!
I am glad that you sppoke up to those girls....most would not! I am sure that I would not have said a word, just shook my head.

Andy Lawrenson said...

Go hang out in the cafeteria at school one day if you want to hear more

Tricia Moran said...

I wholeheartedly (and very sadly I might add) relate to this post. I think parents (or at least many of them) find it easier not to bother with teaching their children any basic manners and respect anymore and it devastates me. What kind of future are we going to see with this kind of attitude? And, I make no apologies for reprimanding young people who behave like this when it is done in public. Most people just want to look the other way. I try so hard to instill in my children the importance of respect, good manners and an attitude of caring and sharing. Some days it feels like I'm swimming upstream, but when I see them being this way, it's well worth fighing the mainstream attitude. Whew! Thanks for letting me get that off my chest - I obviously needed to! :)

suzannanana said...

Probably way to late to add to the conversation, but having been in youth ministry for 25 years, and now I work with seniors, I am not discouraged by the new generation. They, as all, are waiting for someone to tell them of their limits, and expectations. I do that, and they seem quite appreciaitive. The times are-a-changin Rick and we need to change with them, but nnever give up what we stand for, the kids appreciate that more than they can tell us :)

Rick Lawrenson said...

Times are changing. But do/should core values? Not exactly sure what you mean.

~*~Brianne~*~ said...

I teach 4th grade, and you wouldn't believe some of the language that comes out of their mouths. Even the little kindergarteners. Today's society, manners, and utter disrespect for everyone is completely and totally sad. I tell my students, and students in any other classroom, that their language/manners/everything else is inappropriate, and it won't be tolerated in my classroom.