It’s true that when you came into this world, most of your situation was beyond your control. You didn’t get to choose the time in history you would appear or the place where you would grow up. You didn’t get to choose your parents or other members of your family. You didn’t get to choose your race, gender, genetic make-up or how healthy your body would be at birth. Even your name was chosen for you.

But after that, whether you know it or not, you’ve been in charge.

Your life is a journey, a path you walk as you create the stories that will make up your life. This path is not your destiny. It’s a path you create with each of your decisions and actions. Each day you choose how you will engage with the world around you. With every choice, with every action large or small, step by step you create the path that becomes your life.

You also create who you are, because only you can decide what you’ll learn, what you’ll do with that knowledge, and how you’ll prepare yourself to continue creating and walking your path.

If your parents or teachers ever thought they could do this for you, they were mistaken. They may have wanted you to become a particular kind of person, and you’ve always had the option to agree and accept their influence, but it’s always been your choice.

And this opportunity to create who you are and the path you’ll follow will never end. The choice to learn and grow stronger and change the direction of your life has always been there—and still is. Each new day you write another page in the series of stories that is your life. In the end, these stories may be interesting and inspiring. Or they may be pointless and ordinary and boring. As long as you’re alive, remember that you’re in charge. You decide what gets written.

How Your Teen Can Grow a Smarter Brain was written for parents and their teens. Three chapters were written especially for teens.

You can grow the bond with your child through better listening. Download the FREE ebook, Listening to Understand.