Nurturing Young Minds: Essential Guidance for Positive Development

With so many distractions and obstacles, it is not always easy for young people to stay engaged with the opportunities around them. That’s why teachers, mentors, and parents play such a critical role in providing guidance for young minds to stay motivated and curious. The steps that follow can help those in a position to shape young people. 

Ask Questions and Set Goals

One of the easiest ways to nurture young minds is through active questioning. Young people should learn not to accept anything they read or hear blindly. Rather, you want to encourage them to ask questions that seek out details or clarify confusing concepts. Teachers and mentors can model this behavior in their interactions with and in front of young people. After a community event, this could translate to asking questions of a speaker or networking with other attendees.

In addition, work with young people to set goals, including both process goals and final goals. For instance, if a student is not doing well in a writing-intensive class, a process goal could be completing a draft of a paper to review for content and grammatical errors. A final, long-term goal could entail earning a higher grade on a submitted paper and, ultimately, a better grade in the course. 

Provide Guidance for Young Minds with Interactive Learning

With high school students feeling negative about their experiences 60% of the time, it can be beneficial to introduce engaging, outside learning experiences. Many students see learning as a regimented struggle in high school, and they may not see a longer-range purpose for what they are doing. By contrast, visiting a local business or museum can be an energizing experience that shows how high school courses can lead to something more. 

Even better, following up a visit to a museum, event, or business with conversation can connect the dots and spark interest in academic pursuits. Mentors at OhanaHC focus on making learning engaging while providing accountability to mentees. Our community partnerships enable mentors to take advantage of local events and programs that can stimulate curiosity in the mentees with whom they work. 

Focus on Ongoing Improvements

Selecting a wrong answer or misunderstanding something can derail growth quickly for young people. They may feel like they have to get things right on the first try, when, in fact, they can learn from each stumble. Provide an encouraging comment or note if a mentee fails to hit a goal, particularly if they made a strong effort. Share personal anecdotes to show that failures do not define a person. And strategize ways to take a stumble in stride and find a more effective way to reach a goal. 

At OhanaHC, we focus our efforts on helping young people overcome obstacles to develop into curious and confident individuals. With mentors at the helm, our high school participants find meaning and see a successful future. Please fill out the contact form on our website or email us at if you are interested in learning how you can help fulfill our mission. 

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Ohana of Howard County, Inc. is following the CDC, Maryland, and Howard County recommendations to ensure the safety of students, volunteers, and staff. At this time, we will be moving to in-person programming and masks are optional. When appropriate, we will provide hybrid or virtual options for engagement.

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