GURNEE – With a small book, a Gurnee author, motivational speaker and entrepreneur hopes to make a big impact in the lives of teenagers.
Stephen Bastien’s latest book, “Hear Me: A Guide For Teenagers Who Are Struggling To Communicate With Their Parents,” aims to show teenagers how to be “heard, understood and believed in by their parents, resulting in a sense of freedom and control teens never thought they could have.”
Having hosted motivational workshops in the past, Bastien hopes to bring parents and teens together at future workshops to talk about the principles in the book.
“It’s a uniquely different way of getting kids to document how they feel to their parents,” he said.
“Every teenager needs to believe that they can achieve whatever they want to in life,” he writes. “With the advice in this short book, they’ll see just how easy that is.”
“Hear Me” is Bastien’s third book. The author expects another, “Suing The Vatican,” to come out soon. He published “Yes, One Person Can Make A Difference” in 2005, followed a year later by “Born To Be: A Simple 4-Step Method To Reconnect With Your Special Abilities.” All books are available through Amazon.com and his website, www.entrepreneurialspeaker.com.
Although Bastien’s books fall under a common theme – empowering others – his life has been anything but common.
He created his first product, Bastien’s New England Coffee Flavored Syrup, in 1981. Since then, he’s created numerous products and services. His financial publication, Creditor’s Edge, founded in 1986, is still in business today.
He has produced and hosted an alternative health radio program, created a Christmas program to help provide gifts for underprivileged children and written and performed the one-man show, “Only Mom,” based on his original songs.
Bastien’s entrepreneurial spirit grew out of a tough experience as a teen.
Attending an all-boys Catholic high school, he said he refused to let a priest sexually molest him and was kicked out of the school. Because he couldn’t tell his father the reason why he’d been kicked out, he said, he also was kicked out of his home.
“I went from being a promising young kid with aspirations of getting a scholarship to college to being on the streets,” he said. “If I knew how to communicate with my parents back then, my whole life would have changed. … I was on my own and learned how to survive.”
Based on the advice in his first two books, Bastien developed workshops designed to help adults discover the ideal business or occupation for them.
“We’re all born with talents and abilities unique to us and we lose sight of them at a very early age because our parents and teachers all want us to be doctors and lawyers and things like that,” he said.
He later developed a course on “Becoming an Entrepreneur ”for Northwestern University’s graduate, undergraduate and adult education programs.
Upon telling his story to teens and young adults, he shared how he wished he’d been able to better communicate with his parents growing up. Teens responded, and his latest book grew from there, he said.
The book encourages teens to document how they feel through writing. Teens can express themselves in ways they don’t realize, Bastien said.
“There are no courses anywhere in the educational system that teach us how to verbally communicate, how the tone in our voice has a certain effect, how our eyes tell a story, how our physical gestures give an indication of whether we’re interested or listening,” he said. “Verbal communication may not be the best way to go because a lot of adults don’t know how to verbally communicate.”
Since publishing the book, Bastien said he has heard from several readers, including a teenager who had tried to commit suicide three times. Family members of the teen reached out to Bastien to let him know that the book helped her turn her life around.
“It’s been pretty rewarding,” he said. “You don’t know how your words are going to affect someone.”