Leadership, that one word can be so powerful in a person’s life. Most people think that
when someone identifies themselves as a leader, they have to be a figure of authority. This is
untrue; in actuality most leaders are small town individuals who have big dreams. An example of
a small town leader would be Whitney Kropp from the close town of West Branch. Another
example of a leader is Dick and Rick Hoyt, a father son team. Finally, a leader who didn’t realize
he was a leader, Mr. Giuliani, the mayor of New York during the September 11th terrorist attack.
Anyone can be a leader. Big o small, leadership affects us all.
A heat wrenching story of a tremendous leader would be how Giuliani led
America through a terrorist attack. While the world was in shock and panicking, Giuliani stayed
calm sending out reports on how thousands have been killed in the Twin Towers. Terrorists were
in the midst of flying planes into the twin towers as new reporters began flooding New York’s
mayor with questions. Little did he know, he wasn’t only speaking to the citizens of New York,
he was speaking to the entire world. He unknowingly gave hope to the American people and
assured them that the situation was going to be handled. As it turns out, everyone was looking to
Giuliani as a leader. Giuliani had to make many split second choices that day of September 11th,
choices he will be remembered for forever. Giuliani is still remembered as “the face of 9/11” to
this day. The leadership he exemplified was extraordinary and he helped millions without even
realizing he was.
On a smaller scale, an example of leadership would be the story of Rick and Dick
Hoyt. During birth, the umbilical cord was wrapped around baby Rick Hoyt’s neck causing a
lack of oxygen to the brain. This incident caused Rick to be diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy.
Cerebral Palsy is a disability where the person affected cannot move their body. In Rick’s case,
the only movement he has is in his head. This doesn’t stop him from accomplishing his dreams
though. After Rick got a computer so he could communicate, he told his dad he wanted to be
involved in marathons and triathlons. Rick’s father Dick decided to train for these kids so he
could push his son across the finish line in his wheel chair. After finishing hundreds of races,
Rick and Dick are leaders because they show the message of never giving up. Even when you
have it bad things will get better. Dick thought his son wouldn’t be able to live a normal happy
life. In actuality this was a blessing in disguise. Dick says Rick is one of the happiest people he
knows. Rick leads us all with his touching story of never giving up.
Their Eyes Were Watching God is a great example of leadership. Although the
book is full of examples of leadership, one that stood out would be the fact that Janie changed
Pheoby’s life. Janie tells phoebe everything that happened in her life, good and bad, and told
Pheoby the lessons she learned from it. As Janie opened up, Pheoby’s life changed. Although
Janie wasn’t exactly trying to be a leader, she led Pheoby in her life and inspired her to be a
Leadership doesn’t always influence us from a place far away. “Hometown Heroes” can
have just as much of an impact on people. For example, in the small town of West Branch,
Michigan. During homecoming elections a girl was chosen to be on the homecoming court as a
prank. At first this girl, (Whitney Kropp) was devastated and heartbroken. Before this incident
she had been severely bullied at school. In the matter of days Whitney’s story had made it to the
National news. She was then given two options; stay on the court, or drop out. Whitney’s choice
was shocking. She decided to stick with the homecoming court because she wanted to b e a
leader and show victims of bullying that they can overcome. Whitney led many people for
believing in herself and wanting to encourage others to stay strong in the fight against bullies.
In every person’s life they have a “leader.” While it may not be a person of authority,
people influence each other. In the cases of Giuliani, Rick an Dick Hoyt, Whitney Kropp and
Their Eyes Were Watching God; they were not looking to be a leader. They became leaders by
taking a negative situation and making it a positive outcome. Leadership is the most powerful
role, and anyone can be a leader.