Many adults would love to go back in time to their teen years and live them again with the wisdom of the present.
It's like cheating life, if not in reality, then in memory.
As if back then, when we were teenagers, going to school every day, having long summer holidays, life was easier, less complicated, with less responsibility and fewer options to choose from.
In those years, teens struggle with the greatest questions in life.
Those were really big questions.
People take a lifetime to answer only some of them.
When I gathered those questions, I realized, to my surprise, that I still had the same questions, long after I had passed my teen years.
In fact, life is a long journey of answering them.
You see, being a teenager was not easier, because in our teen years, we first met those questions, but did not have the experience, the support structure or the wisdom to answer them.
Our society has a fairly negative image of teenagers.
As they grow up, teenagers fight this image, but at the same time it gradually turns into their own self image, because it is reflected to them by almost everyone around them.
When they grew up a bit, most of their energy is turned to changing that image.
Most of them follow the "rules" and try to fulfil the expectations of their parents, their teachers and later on their bosses.
On the surface, there are fewer problems, but 20 years later, the questions come back, only this time they looked like this: Who am I? Where am I going? What makes me special? Who loves me? Whom do I love? How much should I compromise my uniqueness in order to feel loved? This time, there's a scream coming from inside.
They realise they now have more experience but a lot fewer options, bigger support structure but a lot more responsibility, more wisdom, but a lot more frustration.
As educators, We should aim to help teens and their parents answer the questions as early as possible.
We need to change the bad image of teens usinga holistic approach and answering the questions.
Trying to find the reason for the problem is having the wrong focus.
For many years, parents, educators and governments have tried to find a solution to the teen problem.
Until now, we've heard two approaches: "Let's help the parents and they will help their teens" or "Let's help the teens and they'll grow to be supportive parents".
Like the chicken and the egg, isn't it? And I say, why not help them both? Every day of their life, teenagers deal with finding the balance between being unique and being loved and accepted.
They face problem they have no control of, but if they have an attitude that focuses on solutions we say they are inspiring.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: To be yourself, in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else, is the greatest accomplishment
I believe we canchange the world and make it more accepting, because what Emerson said is painfully true.We can establish a new trend of teens taking control over their life.
Understanding their talents and power and accepting their uniqueness as a gift.
If I offered you this attitude when you were 14, would you reject it? Why wait until you are 40? At the same time we should empower parents to see the same in themselves and help put a stop to the vicious cycle of conforming.
We can give our teens the power to be special, be themselves and trust them to use it wisely.
Teen life can be a lot more than a good memory.