Teaching Young People to Think (Part 2)

[May 31, 2024]  In Part 1, the strategy of thinking (an analytical tool) was introduced to help us get our thoughts in order.  Teaching young people how to think is the beginning for them to learn to advance in a complex and competitive world.  They can use it, modify it to suit their needs, and keep it as a tool for further development as they mature.

Many of us in our younger years made decisions that we regretted and were in situations where we were utterly unprepared to do the right thing.  Training to make good decisions and survive unpredictable situations is the hallmark of good citizenship because it intelligently prepares others to succeed.

Part 1 introduced the Ends, Ways, and Means analytical model and discussed the 1. Ends and 2. Means.  In this post, the Ways and how they connect the dots for better decisions will be discussed by getting one’s mind prepared to understand one’s social environment.

  1. Determine the Ways: ‘Ways’ are the methods, tactics, procedures, practices, or strategies to achieve the ‘Ends’ we seek.  Given that there are many ways of getting things done (frankly, it is nearly endless), it is not uncommon for young folks to get confused and fail at this point.  This is why we are recommended to instruct them on how to think precisely, to think through the many ways to achieve a goal, and to select the most appropriate and likely to succeed.  From experience, this is often done through an iterative routine, including brainstorming ideas.  In our Cub Scout example from yesterday, the question for us was: how do we build the boys mentally, physically, socially, and spiritually?  Using the same matrix we used to list our Means, the adult leaders identified “best practices” from past successes and from the local scout executive and other Cub Scout dens.  This allowed the leaders to identify clearly what needed to be done and when.  A three-ring binder was used for each of the four goals, a method that achieved considerable success in helping in planning any future event.  These planning binders were so successful that they were later used by the Webelos and Boy Scout Troops, which many of our Cub Scouts later transferred to.  The model was instrumental in improving the safety of the Cub Scouts, reducing risks, and putting to rest parents’ anxiety.

The Ends, Ways, and Means analytical model has been successful for decades in helping people organize their thoughts in adult organizations like the U.S. military and several commercial enterprises.  Logical, tested, and commonsensical are features this model uses.

While it is best taught by those who have used it before, anyone can pick up the basics by studying examples where it’s been used to good effect.  The model is highly recommended for teaching young people how to think.


Teaching Young Leaders to Think (Part 1): https://www.theleadermaker.com/teaching-young-people-to-think-part-1/


Please read my books:

  1. “55 Rules for a Good Life,” on Amazon (link here).
  2. “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I provide one article every day. My writings are influenced by great thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Jung, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Jean Piaget, Erich Neumann, and Jordan Peterson, whose insight and brilliance have gotten millions worldwide to think about improving ourselves. Thank you for reading my blog.

15 thoughts on “Teaching Young People to Think (Part 2)

  1. James Earl Samson

    Good one, Gen. Satterfield. Always good to “think” but that is a challenge for our lazy youth of today.

  2. Doc Blackshear

    Gen. Satterfield, nicely laid out. I suggest that you look this over and simplify it for the young people out there. Yes, I know that this article is targeted to the more experienced folks who have the duty to train young people, but we also need to convince the young people that the must be able to think properly and not depend so much on their emotions and the “old ways” of doing things. Let them think. Encourage them to think. Train them to think, per Gen. Satterfield, and that is the way forward.

    1. Willie Strumburger

      Doc Blackshear, I have to agree with you and I agree strongly. In fact, that is one of the big problems all societies have that are rich and where there are very few challenges. Humans are built to take on challenges and when you remove all the real challenges, then what have you done to them? That is naturally a huge philosophical debate. What to do? I say, let the challenges return. Get rid of the social support network in the West and watch people fail. That will provide sufficient motivation for the weak to be motivated to think.

  3. Peigin

    Thanks Gen. Satterfield for the two part series on how to think. This applies to everyone. Where this method works best is in complex situations that require thinking things through logically.

  4. Gays for Trump

    Learn to “connect the dots.” Now that is a start. We should be teaching HOW to think from early on in our lives but today in an easy society with few wants, that is not necessary, and look to what that has done. We have a generation or two of lazy stupid non-thinkers who spend all day on their phones. BTW, Gen. S. it is a shame what they have done to Donald Trump, my man. The radical leftists will be paying a heavy price at the ballot box for their crimes. Disbar the judge should be the next step IMO.

    1. Melissa Jackson

      Hi Gays. What I don’t understand is how these radical leftists who procesuted Trump can also be in bed with but scared to death of the anti-American pro-Palestinian pro-Hamas faction of their very own party?

      1. Patriot Wife

        Emotionally driven and are part of an ideology that says if you hate Trump, then you are a great person and morally superior to all the “right-wingers.” The prosecution was all about hate and zero about the rule of law. We know that because this was a Democrat Party effort and they have proven they care nothing about the law.

        1. Martin Shiell

          Nailed it. Now, the verdict is going to radicalize conservatives and when they get going, you had better watch out.

  5. ableist mas

    Gen. Satterfield, I certainly enjoyed and learned from these two articles. Although, I must comment that what you are doing is showing that it might not be easy to “think” and that might actually scare a lot of young folks away. Yes, I know that this is the framework for thinking and that we don’t go thru these steps sequentially or actually have the names of the categories memorized in our heads and checked off like a checklist. Keep up the great works and I just finished reading “55 rules for a good life” and I’m certainly working on doing just that.

    1. Paulette Johnson

      Good point ableist mas. Thanks. I was thinking something along the same lines. Today, you have to adapt your teaching methods to an AP on a smart phone.

  6. Steve Dade

    Nice follow up in Part two on how to get young people how to think and not what to think.


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