Recently, Ohio mom Merritt Smith went to Facebook to air her feelings regarding a hospital employee’s inappropriate response to her daughter’s injuries.
According to her October 6th Facebook post, Merritt Smith took her 4-year-old daughter to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, because she needed stitches after a boy at school hit her. What makes it worse is that an employee at the registration desk told her daughter, “I bet he likes you.”
Smith describes how that one statement not only perpetuates unhealthy gender stereotypes and dynamics, but excuses damaging behavior. In her post, which has been shared more than 33,000 times, she stated:
“That statement is where the idea that hurting is flirting begins to set a tone for what is acceptable behavior…I will not allow that message to be ok…At that desk you are in a position of influence, whether you realize it or not. You thought you were making the moment lighter. It is time to take responsibility for the messages we as a society give our children. Do Not tell my 4 year old who needs stitches from a boy at school hitting her “I bet he likes you.” NO.”
However, Smith acknowledged in the comments section that the man probably had good intentions, also explaining her gratitude to the hospital in general, saying:
“I want it to be understood that I value Nationwide Children’s Hospital as a tremendous asset and resource in our community. I do not mean to attack the hospital or get this man fired. He genuinely meant no harm. My intensity and intent is to change old scripts that do not serve us as adults and most certainly do not serve our children.”
After her Facebook post, Nationwide Children’s Hospital responded with an apologetic statement on Facebook on October 9th.
While it sounds like this is a case of good intentions gone wrong, it’s crucial to realize that most sexism, racism and prejudice often stems from good intentions. Smith is a great example of how to educate others without demonizing them–it’s important to call someone out for their mistake, but it’s also equally as important to be compassionate.
Read her full response below: