The world had just been created, the sun and the moon had taken up their positions, the heavens and earth had split, fish were swimming, birds were flying and lions were roaring. The world was a jungle, a beautiful kaleidoscope of nature and beauty.

The hushing calmed down as G‑d took the stage. “Yes, this world is serene and perfect, predictable and uncomplicated. But I am not satisfied with this. I want something more. I want to create a human being: the baby, the infant, the child, the teen, the tween, the cocky college graduate, the entrepreneur, the housewife, the middle-aged, the boss, the retiree and the golden age.”

But I am not satisfied with this. I want something moreSilence. Was this for real? Was G‑d really going to decide to go through with His blueprint for humans? Was that inconsistent, moody, atom-bomb-maker species gonna come into fruition?

“B-u-t Your Highness!” cried one of the supreme angels. “Didn’t we make a compromise that we would leave out the teenager? The blueprint was too risky. The moods, the hormones, the rocky relationships, the addictions, the temperament, the radical idealism, the witch’s brew of immature maturity and anger—run a risk of turning a world upside down. Your Holiness, we beg You to reconsider.”

And the Creator broke out with a smile and said: “Do I not have the knowledge of the negative potential of the teen? Was I not the One who made the concoction in the first place? Instead of focusing on what could go wrong, have any of you contemplated what can go right? With their passion and energy, they can take the world to places unfathomable by their elders. Their struggle between the world that is and the world that should be will bring about the marriage between those two worlds. These are the choicest of the entire human race! They are the one age-group I will never delete from the plan.”

The meeting was over and the angels filed out quickly. As they walked through the corridors of Eden, they realized that they were far from convinced. The risk still seemed too real, and the benefits a bit too fantastic. All preliminary statistics predicted colossal failure and unfixable damage. Once the teens were on the scene, there would be no turning back.

History would never be the same. And the angels were terrified.

And so are many teens. They are terrified. Terrified of the world they are just getting to know, of the future which seems so out of reach, and most of all, terrified of themselves.

Who am I? Am I as bad as they tell me? Am I as good as they tell me? Can I succeed? Why can’t I control my impulses? I set the alarm clock for five AM, and I am woken up and see 5:00 on the clock, but the sun is in the west!

They are terrified. Terrified of the world they are just getting to know, of the future which seems so out of reach, and most of all, terrified of themselvesWho are you? The greatest gift the world has ever received! No two people are the same, and each human being in his or her own way is the best thing that happened to planet Earth!

Are you as bad as they tell you? Well, listen up, kid. Whoever these self-esteem bashers are—stay far away from them as a plague! And if you can’t distance yourself physically from them (like parents, teachers and siblings), then just distance yourself emotionally. Don’t ever listen! Let it just bounce off your ears! The second someone underestimates you, they are on your blacklist. You must still respect them and act cordially, but you must not let them ruin your self-image!

Are you as good as some people tell you? Even better! You are full with goodness and innocence, and exploding with love and hope! And whoever these people are who sing your praises, stay very close to them! When you find that person who believes in you, don’t let him go! Ask him to be your mentor, confidant, friend, pal, or whatever synonym works for you.

Can you succeed? What a ridiculous question! Of course you can. The question you should be asking yourself is not “can I succeed?” but “will I succeed? Will I reach my goals?” And the only one who can answer that question is you. You will decide whether you’ll succeed. No one can stop you from reaching the peak. You can be your own best friend or your own worst enemy. Pick your choice!

Why don’t you feel in control of yourself? Okay, okay. I admit this one ain’t simple. As a teenager, one can find it a bit hard to control their impulses, their wants and their temptations. Many times we find ourselves going against our own best judgment. The resolution to which we had committed on our birthday has gone stale before the party was over . . .

But, however, alas, nevertheless . . . that does not mean to say that you cannot control yourself! It might be a bit harder than at different stages in life, but it is reachable and possible. We’ll talk about it a different time . . .

Many times we find ourselves going against our own best judgmentAnd about the alarm clock which doesn’t wake you up . . . Well, err, I guess just buy a louder alarm clock! Or ask your mother to pour a bucket of water on your head if the alarm clock is not doing its job. And if the water runs out, then remember this: after 120 years you will sleep as much as you’d like. Now is a time to live! Eight hours of every 24 is spent in bed! Isn’t that more than enough?

So, listen closely, kiddo. You are the best thing in the world, and it is great to be a teenager. This is not bluff or fluff or feel-good pop psychology; this is real. G‑d said so. How do I know? By the mere fact that you were born.

Nobody is born by mistake. Some brilliant parents might tell their child that he or she was a mistake. Well, all I could say is that it takes one to know one . . .

There are no mistakes. If G‑d didn’t want you down below, you would never have been conceived. There are enough childless parents who can testify that babies don’t get born by mistake. There is a Master Plan, even if the parents don’t get it.

You don’t have to be strong, smart, beautiful, talented or cool in order to justify your existence. You can flunk every test, have pimples all over your face, be as boring as a prison wall, say the wrong things at the wrong time, and be as tactless as Libya’s very own Ghadafi, and still consider yourself a gift to society.

Although I would recommend you to go to a course on “tact,” and develop some personality just for the sake of having a more pleasant life!

There is a reason and a purpose for each of the almost seven billion people on the face of the earth. The reason doesn’t have to be as big as Hollywood, Forbes 400 or elective office. It can be as simple as adopting an old-age home, selling lemonade for AIDS victims, or being a good sibling and friend. You can never know, but maybe the only reason you were born was to help one old lady cross the street, or to smile to the stranger (even better: smile to your family member!)—and by doing so you have already justified your existence!

The power of a smile is ultimately more powerful than the strength of the sword. Some people might be in high positions in the army and can control the destiny of a tribe or country with the power of drone or tank, while most of us change the world by the sunshine of our smile [stewardesses not included . . .]—unpaid, un-made-up smiles!

You haven’t found your calling yet? Keep on smiling! Keep on working! Keep on searching! You most definitely won’t find it under the covers or on TV. Guaranteed! If you have found purpose in any such pointless pursuit (aka Wii, Xbox, DVDs, pillows, hanging out for endless hours, reading this book for the eighteenth time . . .) then I am sorry to be the party pooper, but sonny, you are way off target! Time to climb out of bed and off the couch and search for meaning elsewhere. And you will find it, as long as you search for it!

But while searching for meaning, don’t you ever, ever doubt the importance of your existence!But while searching for meaning, don’t you ever, ever doubt the importance of your existence, even if you haven’t even found the clue to life’s mission yet. Don’t you ever consider yourself a mistake or a failure! Don’t you dare! That is emotional suicide and a hideous sin—a sin against G‑d who put you here and believes in you. A sin against society who needs your input and uniqueness, and worst of all, a sin against yourself!

Every day you sit there wallowing in self-pity, self-doubt and self-bashing is another day where the world has lost out. Time is a loss that cannot be retrieved. Time is the most precious commodity in the world, especially the time of a teenager. There is nothing more valuable than a productive teenager, and no greater loss than a teenager who disrespects time.

The angels were terrified of the teenagers for good reason! The teenager is always with one foot on Mount Everest and the other foot at the edge of the abyss. One move in any direction can change the course of history. In every struggle in history, it was the teenagers who played a most decisive role its outcome.

Wars are won by young teenagers with guns and guts. Regimes are toppled by teenagers’ chants and demonstrations. Societies are built by the values that the teenagers take to heart and bring into their adulthood and their children. They set the tone of the conversation of today and the nature of our world tomorrow.

If you own the youth, you own the world.

You, dear teenager, have the present and future of the world on your shoulders. In fact, you have the past as well, because only you can justify the sacrifices our ancestors have madeThankfully, no one person can own the youth; therefore the world will never be totalitarian. The youth will always have a fresh, different, provocative point of view, which will challenge the world to change its paradigms and opinions. They won’t put up with corruption. Excuses like “this is just the way of the world” have never worked with teens. They don’t want the world that is, they want the world the way it should be, and they will give their lives away to bring the world to that place.

The raw idealism and passion of the teenagers is a double-edged sword. It can tear the world apart or sew it back together, depending on the idea brought to the table. Hitler used his youth as talented mass murders excelling in the annihilation of decent human beings in an efficient manner. While leaders such as the Lubavitcher Rebbe have inspired the youth to serve as leaders and visionaries of peace and good deeds.

You, dear teenager, have the present and future of the world on your shoulders. In fact, you have the past as well, because only you can justify the sacrifices our ancestors have made. By living the life that would make them proud, you have just justified their sacrifice. Their blood on Omaha Beach, their sweat and toil in the fields and in the schools, and their tears will not be in vain.