• Malynda Hale

Leave the kids alone.

Unless you’ve been sitting under a rock hiding from social media and the news (which honestly if you are, no judgement here, I get it) then you have heard of Greta Thunberg. Greta is a 16 year old climate change activist from Sweden who is setting out to make a difference. She is unapologetically herself and does not hold back. She is admirable, and quite honestly we could all learn a thing or two from her. But a narrative that I’ve seen a lot recently is that she is being used to push a liberal agenda. And I gotta say in the words of dear Greta: How Dare You.

Why is it that whenever a child shows extraordinary promise, intellect and solid views, those views can’t possibly be their own? Why is it assumed that they are being brainwashed and exploited? Do we really have such little faith in children that we feel it’s impossible for them to think and form opinions of their own? We saw it with a beautiful little black girl in a town hall meeting who asked why cops hated them. We saw it with the Parkland high school survivors who have been loud and active in regards to gun control. And here we are again seeing it with a young girl who simply wants to save the planet.

When kids are able to think for themselves, do their own research and form their own opinions we should be encouraging them. We should be championing them for forming beliefs at a young age that many of us have yet to form in our adult years. We shouldn’t be assuming the worst. What good does it do to paint the picture that these children are being used as pawns? What good does it do to assume that there is someone pulling their strings, and feeding them lines? What good does it do to essentially want to silence their voices? At the end of the day, these are still children and this isn’t about the left or the right. This is about uplifting kids that want to fix problems they are personally affected by. We should not be tearing them down because we may disagree with their stance on something. What kind of adult goes after a child for speaking their mind in a positive, eloquent and concise way? Perhaps an adult who is incapable of doing that themselves.

People are so focused on who is saying the message, that they aren’t actually listening to what is being said. Everyone is always quick to criticize, but who of those criticizers has a viable solution? Who of those voicing their negativity and disdain for Greta’s passion and integrity has done anything to try and change the world? These kids are actually doing something. They are laying down groundwork and getting their voices heard. And whether you want to admit this or not: They. Are. The. Future. But we can’t say children are the future if we don’t actually allow them to be.

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