I am proud to say that I am Tom’s mentor. Tom (not his real name) is a second grader in the Greater Hartford Public Schools and is best described as tall, thin, respectful, self-confident and on the move. My Webster Capital Finance colleague Linel Noble recruited me into this role and I could not be more pleased.
One day per week we spend Tom’s half-hour lunch period together. We mostly play games at a pace far beyond what their designers intended. His favorites are Mouse Trap, Break the Ice and Front & Back Memory. Tom is quite proficient in all aspects of these games. We have brief conversations, commonly interspersed among the countless drubbings Tom hands to me in our contests. By nature I am a very competitive person, but it’s fine that Tom amends the game rules (on-the-fly) to ensure a win. Also, I completely enjoy his enthusiasm and occasional victory celebration, rivaling any I’ve seen in the NFL. Further, it makes my day when he scoots out the door with a “see you next week”, leaving the office staff to call ahead to the instructor of Tom’s next class. Tom prefers to walk himself to Music, and he takes the long way!
Tom has many admirable characteristics which are more like those of a fifth grader; high energy, great confidence and a wonderfully creative spirit. He also has a very brave mother who recently returned home from deployment in the Middle East, serving in the United States Army. Tom is very proud of his mother, but steers most conversation away from the topic of her military service. I surmise there is silent apprehension about a future deployment and the burden this action places on Tom and his family.
Military families endure great hardship. Skype conversations at uncertain intervals can’t take the place of loved ones at sports activities, birthdays, family events and parent/teacher conferences. There is also the unescapable heart wrenching concern which accompanies a several day lapse in email communication, casualty reports in the news, or report of the loss/serious injury of a Company member or another military family impacted by tragedy. This sustained anxiety frequently produces overwhelming emotions in adults, but to an estimated 1.76 million children in military families, the concern and fear can seem insurmountable.
I am proud to be in Tom’s support network, should he need me. Even if the price of admission includes getting drubbed each week in Mouse Trap, Break the Ice, and Front and Back Memory.
Stephen Francis joined Webster Capital Finance during March 2015 and is proud to have a son at the United States Naval Academy.