I am a mom of two awesome children who teach me more daily than I ever thought possible. I love writing, exercise, movies, & LGBT advocacy.
Greta Thunberg Might Be an Activist, But She's Also 16
"Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!"
This is a tweet from a serving president of the United States of America, discussing a 16-year-old who wants to try and make the world a better place. Argue all you want about President Donald Trump's maturity level, especially given the fact the man is 73 years old and the president of a world power. Granted, Trump has a few other things to worry about currently, such as the impeachment hearings that are ongoing about a little phone call the president made to Ukraine.
Perhaps one of the more disturbing issues is that a 73-year-old feels somehow threatened by a 16-year-old girl. We as a society have said multiple times in the past that children are our future and that today's children will become tomorrow's leaders, but this man who's supposed to have the wherewithal and discernment to not harass a 16-year-old girl who was given the honor of Time's Person of the Year seems not to care overly much about Ms. Thunberg's age.
It would be all too easy for Thunberg's parents to speak out against Trump's words and to try and protect their daughter. They have, however, been conspicuously absent, at least from the media, which then begs the question of how Thunberg is handling what Trump said.
Put simply, Greta Thunberg is just fine, thanks. In the hours immediately following the president's tweet, Thunberg changed her Twitter status to read, "A teenager working on her anger management problem. Currently chilling and watching a good old fashioned movie with a friend."
Let me assure you, from someone who teaches teens, specifically kids roughly Greta Thunberg's age, Thunberg's response is quite typical of a kid her age. Sure, this is a young girl who has gone and spoken in front of the United Nations, and she has seen her message about the necessity for global powers to take action on climate change go viral several times over, and she has seen her angry face from her UN address turned into several different memes.
To say that she's done more in her short life than several twice or three times her age would be something of an understatement.
However, we do have to keep in mind that she is still a kid. It's great to credit her with raising awareness about what we know about climate change; at the very least, we have started asking some key questions about climate change. By the same token, we have to be careful not to put too much responsibility on the girl's shoulders.
She's done a fantastic job in encouraging those her own age as well as those a generation or two older to start considering what we need to do in order to help fight against climate change. She should continue to do so.
She should also continue to stand up to petulant, jealous men such as President Trump—no differently than any teen would stand up to any authority figure. The bottom line is, she's a teenager, and teenagers are born to push the boundaries that are put around them, even by men such as Trump who somehow feel threatened by a teenage girl.
Trump's insults have likely done little but fuel Thunberg's fire and desire to make her voice heard even more than it already has been done. Here's the thing about many teenagers; you start picking on them, they are going to fight back even harder than they've already done. Their anger that someone has told them they can't do something or that they should, effectively, stay in their own lane will be enough to propel them forward towards their main goal. They will be irritable, they might be as dryly smug and sarcastic as ever before, but they will be even more driven to do as they wanted and to pursue their goals.
So congratulations, President Trump. All you have done in taking shots at a 16-year-old is made her even more determined and alienated Thunberg's base in a way that no other president likely would have done ever. You, a man in his 70s still trying to be relevant in spite of being the president, are jealous over a 16-year-old, and you need to grow up.
Ms. Thunberg, kudos to you. Keep fighting for what you and so many others believe in and don't ever apologize for who you are.