This video from Pixar Animation Studios is one of the most moving things you’ll ever watch, if you haven’t watched it already. While the video directly addresses gay teenagers, I think its message applies to straight teens as well. It goes beyond sexuality to offer reassurance about the future, and the young listener’s place in that future.
I’ve often thought that telling high school kids “these are the best years of your life” is not only a lie, but a pretty nasty thing to say to people who are for the most part still trying to figure themselves out. The choices that reveal character — friends, lovers, spouses, careers, passions — are still in the future. But teenagers have a hard time maintaining that kind of perspective, and adults don’t help when they turn kids into vehicles for nostalgia about their own teen years.
As an adult, I’ve taken my share of lumps and made plenty of bad decisions — even a few good ones! — about lovers and career moves, but not even when times were darkest did I ever want to relive my adolescence. The real juice of life comes with adulthood. Maybe you’re having fun as a teenager, maybe you’re not, but either way the message is the same — it gets better. The best is yet to come.