03-06-2020 8:30 pm
It is not everyday that you get a message "the Crown Prince of Norway" would like to speak with you.
Today, I was one of 4 very lucky teenagers in the whole of Norway whom were chosen and asked to have a sit-down-chat with Prince Haakon Magnus. I can't ever remember being so nervous as I was today, and I had to go to school for a few hours first.
The lead-up to the meeting was probably more nail-biting than the actual conversation. Sitting smack-bang in the middle of my room (in the background) was a journalist and photographer from the local newspaper, Drammens Tidende. That made it awkward, and to be honest did absolutely nothing to help my nerves. But hovering around in the background, was my mum. Knowing that mum wasn't too far away if I needed her, helped settled my nerves.
Because of corona-situation, we were all meeting via Zoom. Me, three boys and a prince! So what do you chat about with a prince? The same thing that has been on everyone's mind and lips for the last three months - covid-19. First he asked our name, age and which program we were representing. The Crown Prince and his wife have a foundation here in Norway where they fund and support a long-list of projects (program) for teenagers, like the one I was a part of - Flyt (which is translated "Move" in english).
Move is a life management program for teenagers. At Flyt, the program teaches different strategies to overcome some of the challenges teenagers "can face in life, build good mental health, develop social skills and good communication skills". We met once a week for a couple of hours after school. The program is basically designed to teach us social life-skills. Probably sounds weird for anyone that's reading this - but I think that lots of kids my age could benefit from a program life Flyt. Every now and again, I hear adults use the phrase "socially-awkward", well that's what Flyt teaches us among other things about how to deal with - how to master not being socially-awkward. Flyt is entirely funded by the Crown Prince's Foundation, and was launced from my hometown, Drammen last year.
After we chit-chatted about the different programs we represented, then we talked about corona. I sat and listened to the other boys until it was my turn. Corona had affected us all in different ways. I was the youngest (and only girl) of the four of us - and the global pandemic had turned all of our lives upside down, like most people on the planet. When it was my turn to talk about how I felt, it took a few seconds before I could get my words out of my mouth.
I had prepared a little of what I thought I would talk about - but since I wasn't sure how personal I should get, I decided to tell the Crown Prince about how closing the schools on the 13th March has affected me personally. I shared a little about what digital home-schooling has been like. If not for the constant support and regular routines (thanks to my parents), I probably would have easily given up on school.
Digital home-schooling consisted pretty much of homework, without any lessons. Imagine having to do homework in every subject that you had to teach yourself? Most of the assignments that we given, we always had a teacher on hand if we needed. But most of them were following other students from other classes, as well as my class. My teacher was pretty cool, and always checked in on us everyday. But that didn't help much, when I didn't always understand the assignment. How many times was a supposed to call him each day? Just as I was restricted by digital home-schooling, so were all of my teachers.
Both my parents had "home-office" when all the schools were closed. As my parents do, they set up a schedule for me and my sister - divided up our subjects between them and were basically our teachers every-day right up until our schools finally re-opened. The Crown Prince commented "that I was fortunate that I have supportive parents". And I know it. But what about all the kids in Drammen and around the world that aren't as fortunate?
The last question the Crown Prince asked all of us, related to #blacklivesmatter and the protests happening all over the world. I think his last question threw everyone off a little bit. So I answered his question and related it to 22nd July terrorist attacks. I really hadn't planed on talking about the terrorist attacks - and yet I did. I chose not to say anything about my sister, but explained to the Crown Prince that the 22nd July terrorist lacked the fundamental respect for life and for other people. My sister and 76 other people were killed because his heart was filled with hate for Norway's multi-cultural society, and all the victims were forced to pay a devastating and brutal price for his ism-hate (racism). They weren't killed because they were in the wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time, all of the victims were targeted for one reason and reason only.
My sit-down-chat with the Crown Prince of Norway (and three other boys, and en entourage of adults that sat in the wings), lasted about 45 minutes but was an experience of a life-time. Prince Haakon seems like he is a very kind man, and was very easy to talk to. One day he will be King of Norway, and I think he will be an awesome King!
For more information about Flyt, contact Monika Egeland Hammer, Flyt-Director in Kronprinsparets Fond.
My sit-down-chat with the Crown Prince, was not the first time I had met him. I met prince Haakon and his wife the first time when I was 7 years old - a month after my sister was killed, and again last year when he visited Drammen to launch Flyt.