Today I can stand before you and tell you that my name is Eric Clark. I am a college administrator, father of two, and a small business owner.
My life has taken several interesting deviations. Without the help of my mentors, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. Growing up in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, I never participated in a formal mentoring program. However, I look back and realize there were several people who "unofficially" took the time to mentor me.
It may seem like I had a fairytale life because I had a loving father who was my most influential mentor. I have to be completely honest though, he wasn’t my biological father. My biological father passed away when I was 18-months old, right after my younger brother was born.
My dad entered our lives and didn’t think twice about the responsibility of taking care of two young boys. He saved my brother and me. My dad showed us many things, but there are a few that stand out. He taught us how to have an amazing work ethic, love for all people, and humility.
My dad passed away about two years ago, and not once did he complain about his 15-year battle with a brain tumor. His final moments were filled with concern for his family, and wanting to make sure that we were taken care of.
Throughout my life, I have interacted with many individuals that I would consider mentors, all of whom taught me many things about life, and molded me into the person I am today.
I have gone through mentor training to become an official mentor. I would like to think that I exhibit the characteristics of a mentor when I am teaching. When I am in the classroom, the content isn’t my only objective. Many of my students need a little extra support and guidance, which I try to provide with each student interaction. As an educator, I try to teach my students how to think critically. It is also important for me to guide my students through the decision-making process. Many students need to be taught that every action has a consequence, good and bad. It crucial that my students learn to think about the big picture, and how their decisions today can alter the rest of their life.
Mentors need to be cognizant of the responsibility they are taking on. Mentoring requires a lot of time and structure, and it will do more harm than good to the mentee if the experience is handled incorrectly.
If I had the opportunity to be mentored by a Red Sox player, I would choose Jason Varitek. Jason conducts himself with integrity, and I don’t remember the last time I have seen him portrayed negatively in the media. He is a tried and true veteran with a lot of experience and advice to share. I can imagine that he has helped a lot of the young players mature throughout his career. Jason wears the “C” for a reason!
Influential mentors have changed my life, and I hope to have the same impact on someone. If you are up to the challenge and willing to dedicate time to mentoring, sign up with the Red Sox Mentoring Challenge today.