Major General John M. Schofield outlines how to be a great leader based on his experiences during the American Civil War. He says one must “inspire… desire to obey;” one must “[feel] the respect” of their followers; and one must not utilize “harsh or tyrannical treatment” to be a successful leader. Although my mom does not share the prestigious title, she too must run a reliable and successful regiment– my brother and myself. My mom learned her leadership skills on the fly with two kids just as Major General John M. Schofield learned his leadership skills on the job commanding armies. A great leader is not born; a great leader learns through experience.

Despite always being strong and sweet, my mom was not born a leader. Before having my brother and me, she spent her young life in and out of events in Boston and dental school. Never before being a mother did she have a leadership role with such pressure. My mom had to learn on the go. Given that my brother and I are only a year and a half apart, there was not a lot of room for ‘lessons learned.’ She became a great leader out of instinct and circumstance.

Motivation to do good and work hard does not come easy to most. Many of us need a helping hand, someone to inspire us to obey the rules and be successful. That person has always been my mom. Spending the majority of my adolescence raised by a single mother meant she had a lot of work to do. She often opted for affirmative encouragement and support, a kind voice amid an argument. Slowly, throughout my preteen phase, accompanied by a growing attitude, my mom’s constant kind and gentle voice, created an astounding level of trust. As I grew older and slightly more mature, I wanted to make my mom proud in any way that I could. I worked hard in school; I used my manors around adults; I kept my room clean. If she was proud of me, I was proud of me. The trusting relationship she created with her amicable techniques inspired me to perform well in my home, school, and social life.

As I grew older, the mutual trust instilled between my mom and I flourished into mutual respect. No longer did she look upon grades, ensure I was using my manners, nor check to see if my bed had been made. When we did disagree, or I got in trouble, my mom opted for me to choose my punishment. Finally, my mom treated me as an adult– with the respect I showed her. Ths mutual respect made me never want to disappoint my mom. I felt as though she had so much faith and trust in me, and I wanted to show her that she should.

However, there was a time when my mom and I did not see eye to eye. To cope with these disagreements, my mom might yell or ground me or take my phone away. These punishments made me more upset. No longer did I want to make her proud with my grades, please her with my clean room, or impress her with my manners. In fact, this response made me want to act out again. I was not obedient by choice. I was obedient because I had to be, and as soon as my grounding was over, I was back to arguing. Cruel and callous treatment and punishments did not invoke a desire in me to be a better scholar, daughter, nor kid in general.

Overall, my mom is a woman of many capabilities. She is a hard worker, a wonderful person, and an even better mom. Part of being an exceptional mom is being a great leader. As I grew up, my mom learned through trial and error, how to inspire me to follow her rules and do good things. She had to learn that harsh methods do not encourage appropriate actions. Instead, that kind and supportive words and actions create mutual trust and respect that fosters obedience and success.

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