STOP – LOOK – LISTEN – THINK: An Approach to Empower.

  • Youth today face more challenges than previous generations.

  • The rates of anxiety, depression and even suicide of the younger generations have increased dramatically over the past few years.

  • This post suggests an approach on how we can assist them.

The goal is:

to empower them to better cope with the challenges today;

to improve their social and communication skills; and

to help them become our future leaders.


A recent post in Growing Leaders had some details about what Generation Z are facing.

This made me think about the importance of communications and community in our lives.

The article “How 2019 Impacted Our Students” made the following points about 2019.

  • Mental health issues reached record levels in many areas. There has been a large increase in anxiety, depression and suicide.

  • The largest college entrance scandal sent a terrible message to kids. It informed them you have to cheat to be successful. Also, parents don’t believe children can do it by themselves.

  • Vaping took a toll on the psyche of both students and parents. This ‘healthy’ alternative to smoking has caused many unpredictable deaths.

  • Record level mass shootings took a toll on fear levels. In the USA, there were a record number of mass shootings last year.

  • Student protests signal that Generation Z feels empowered to speak up. They are increasingly vocal about climate change, voting rights, government injustices, etc. In the USA gun control is also being contested.

  • Young black women ruled the beauty pageants, signaling a shift in culture.

  • Kids are not waiting to make feature-length motion pictures. The post referred to the example of a 14 year old Marsai Martin. She produced a feature-length film ‘Little’ The film was released by Universal Studios in 2019 and grossed over US$ 48 million.

  • Students are inventing and innovating more than ever. There are examples of products being invented by those as young as 8 years old.

The post at Growing Leaders can be found at



This post covers approaches to improve our communications with, and understanding of, the younger generation.

The approach is STOP – LOOK – LISTEN – THINK..

You may recognize this as being similar to safety slogans used when crossing the railway lines or crossing the road.

Here is how this approach can work when communicating with our young generation.


  • Stop talking, telling them and lecturing them on what to do.

  • Stop going into ‘adult’ mode!

  • Stop being the adult who knows all the answers and solves all the problems.

  • Stop thinking that you know what it is like for them. The world has changed since we were young.

  • Stop thinking that as the adult you must know all the answers.

  • Stop thinking that it is your job to solve all their problems.

  • Stop multi-tasking. When communicating with the younger generation give them your undivided attention.


  • Look for clues as to what is going on in their lives.

  • Look for details to better understand their challenges.

  • Look for ways to gain their trust.

  • Look at their body language as it accounts for about around 55 percent of communications.

  • Look and learn their perspective. Learn about how they see and understand their world. It will be different from yours.

  • Look for ways that they can help solve the current issues they are facing.

  • Look to find solutions that they will want to implement.


  • Listen to them. Change the current ratio of where adults do more than 75% of the talking. Reverse that ratio.

  • Listen by practicing active listening with empathy. Active and in-depth listening is a wonderful skill to develop.

  • Listen for clues and repeat what you think you heard to ensure it is correct.

  • Listen to understand their world. Discover what are the causes of them feeling overwhelmed.


  • Think about what you have learned by stopping, learning and listening.

  • Think about what it must be like to be in their world.

  • Think about ways to improve communications with them and amongst themselves.

  • Think about ways that they can support each other.

  • Think about ways how group sessions can help them to build community.

  • Think about how they can help solve the issues which they are facing. We can help them find purpose, build confidence, and gain a sense of community.

By stopping to control our youth and manage their problems for them.

By looking at the current situation and what the young generation is facing.

By listening to them and empowering them.

By thinking about how we can assist them to contribute to help solve the issues which they are facing.

We can help them find purpose and build confidence and a sense of community.

This can have a positive effect on the anxiety they often feel.

They will become empowered and become the future leaders that the world needs.


If we do this when interacting with youth, we will empower them to become successful in whatever they decide to do.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions please contact us.

Please see the “How Can You Help?” section below.



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There is a guide available which assists parents and others working with youth.

The guide enables a person to be proactive in the success of a child’s future.

It contains activities to assist youth to gain critical soft skills.

They will become more resourceful and independent when they practice and gain these skills.

The guide is available from Our Future Leaders.

Request the Parent’s Guide here


What are you going to do to assist children to become our future leaders?

Fred Jones

Victoria, BC Canada

Fred Jones

Fred Jones

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