By Doug Brown

These are your teen years. They won’t last forever. Every year you will be faced with a new set of challenges. This is a time of self discovery and growth. Expect that lots of changes are ahead. The teen years can be a tricky puzzle. Each day, each challenge, and each moment will be a new piece to add to the puzzle. Learn from your experiences.

Develop a healthy relationship with your parents, your mentors, and your teachers. Time is valuable. These years will go by quickly. The life puzzle is never finished; however, the older you get the easier it gets. Use your heart and brain.

If the Doug of today could tell the fifteen-year-old Doug in that 1988 photo all that was to transpire in his life. I would tell him in four years he would own his own home and become a guitar instructor for ten profitable years. I would tell him in fourteen years he would become a paid professional skateboarder and travel the globe. I would tell him to stop fighting with his mother and tell her how much he loves and appreciates her. The hardest news to deliver to him would be in only one year his mother would no longer be alive.

To all the teens and class of 2020… my skateboard has become my microphone. Find your microphone. Be yourself. Figure out who you want to be. Keep your dreams strong and alive. I chose a completely different path compared to the rest of my family. My road led me to good places and good choices.

Maturity, experience, and wisdom will happen with time. You can be different. You can make a difference. You will mentally grow and have so many experiences ahead of you. You can make your mark on the world.