I was in tears when my son forwarded me this essay he wrote for school.

Ethan Woadzro

The essay prompt was to identify someone who I believe is an effective leader in my life. While it’s a known fact that many of these essays are written for teachers or public figures, I couldn’t possibly give all the credit to one individual. So I did two: my parents, Adobea Asiam and Selorm Woadzro. From the day I was born, my parents have always wanted great things for me. From the sacrifices and hardships, like divorce, that they went through, they still made sure that I had a good education and a good life. What I noticed about myself and many other people is the feeling of being greedy or not content.

There were so many instances where I would complain about my circumstances, whether that would be a hot new toy or, now, trendy clothes. I would complain about the food I ate, the size of my house, etc. But my parents were there for me through all of it. They were able to teach me valuable life lessons and even gave me insight into how their childhood was like back in Ghana. One thing that a person needs to know to be a leader is to realize that Gratitude is a gift.

Although I am still learning, I am grateful that my parents were able to expose me to those less fortunate and build a life for my siblings and me. A leader is great with compromise. There were many times when I felt discouraged and felt like giving up. My dad, especially, was always the one to make compromises in any situation. He was quick on his mind and always seemed to find a way to make every situation better. Perseverance and Quick thinking were also needed to make compromises. With my mom, when she was in Nursing School, her quick review and determination helped her get through all of it, not to mention with three kids.

I’ve genuinely always admired my parents but sometimes couldn’t find a way to say it. A natural leader knows how to show empathy and be vulnerable. I grew up thinking that my parents were invincible, that they were always happy and could never cry. That was until the first time I saw them cry. As a child, I was terrified and didn’t know how to react, but now looking at it in retrospect, I am grateful that they did that.

With all the good in the world, there will be hard times in life, and that's okay, as long as you deal with it healthily. My Grandmother Mildred, my mother's mom, died before I was born when my mom was in her early 20’s. It wasn’t until a while ago when my mom shared sentiments about my grandmother with my siblings and me. I remember her crying after I asked, “Do you miss her?” She soon said, “Yes, I do. I wish she were here.” That was a special moment to me since I never knew she felt that deeply about her mother; the vulnerability she was able to show was strength.

Again, the prompt was to talk about who was a leader in your life and why they were one, but It was also to show how their characteristics have compared to what you (I) do in my life.

Like I said, Gratitude was something that took a while to learn and is still a learning process. Still, one way I demonstrated Leadership with Gratitude was when some of my younger cousins were complaining to me about a gift they had received from a relative. They came to me and said, “These gifts suck,” and “We wish we had something better.’ At that moment, I saw it as an opportunity to explain to them how the relative probably put a lot of thought into the gifts and that it’s important to remember the privilege you have since not everyone has the same stuff you do. It was a teaching moment they will remember as my parents taught me.

In the sixth grade, I joined the Robotics Club. I wanted to learn something new but was very intimidated by all the coding and tricks that my peers knew. We had a competition that made everyone anxious since we were in middle school going against high schools. There was a moment where something with the robot malfunctioned, and we needed to re-screw the bolts back in.

My whole team knew that I was very clumsy and weak with working the robot, but since they were all occupied with other problems. So with my perseverance, I was able to screw back in the bolts and get our robot back in the ring. While we didn’t win, I was proud that I could persevere through something that I thought was so hard. I credit my father.

To conclude, I believe that Gratitude, Empathy, and Perseverance/Patience are essential traits that influential leaders like my parents, Adobea Asiam and Selorm Woadzro, have.

Wow, to anyone reading this, no matter what life throws at you, make sure you don’t give up, continue to persevere for your kids and loved ones. The hard work will all pay off. My ex-husband and I co-parented and still co-parent the kids, and I am glad when we decided to put our differences aside, see value in each other, respect each other and work as a team; that has had a positive impact on the kids. Don’t lose hope, and don’t give up. Shalom.

Adobea (Imani)

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