Pieces of Transformation

When I was young, I’ve known this world as a cradle built of leadership. Everyday, we see a leader with the people that we are encountering with. Parents, teachers, civil servants, everyone can be a leader.

The way we see things is made by the circumstances that we are into. We hone our beliefs based on what our parents tell us, and contrast it with what we learn in our learning institutions. Schools teach us that effective leadership brings causes nearer to their goals. We elect annually not just our classroom president but muses and prince. Our culture instilled a value on us that our society is made of hierarchy of responsibilities, and functioning of which would mean accountability to reach your goal.

But out from the idea of leadership we bring in the concept of transformational leadership. A transformational leader is not just a simple leader. He is the kind of leader who has the potentials to transform societies for a greater social interest. He is willing to compromise the little resources that he had just to achieve his cause. He is a goal-oriented person who will strive on whatever challenges the circumstances may bring him to benefit others. He is non-eccentric, team player, and will do everything to prove his worth in his obligation.

When I look at things now, I can say I’ve met 63 % of the people of my life, the rest of which I’m going to encounter in the future. And maybe, 50 % of the people in my past will play a role again with the life ahead. In a perspective of a community volunteer and student-leader, I can say I’ve met a lot of people from different walks of life. I get motivations from different individuals who keep on inspiring others by their commitment, excellence and unending struggles. But if someone’s going to ask: Who is your transformational leader? I will only have one answer.

She is a teacher, businesswoman, company dealer, community leader, passionate soldier’s wife and most importantly, a very loving mother to me. Indeed, it’s a shared feeling of affection towards our parents. We feel delighted by how they made us loved and important. But I would like to introduce to you how my mother took her role in the society and why I believe she is a transformational leader, in and of herself.

My mother is born in a striving rural province in 1963. In her schooling years, she always managed to be in the honor’s list despite facts of not being able to buy papers because of poverty. She even told us of stories like selling guava to her classmates just to fill her stomach, and enjoy the snack walking 10 kilometers back home from school and arrive by dusk.

She is known for being witty and straightforward. And maybe the same traits that her friends could best remember about her. When my parents married in 1985, our only sources of income were our small retail store and my father’s profession of being a soldier. My mother then took a teaching profession in the kindergarten school in the 52nd Engineering Brigade where my father is working. The kindergarten school is exclusive for the children of soldiers alone and is run by priests. She had a burning passion in teaching and made good friends with the mothers of her pupils, who used to be wives of soldiers as well. And because of this profession, she became popular in the community.

After a year, my mother was offered to work as a pork dealer. This even accentuated her popularity among the community people since she had to interact with them and deal with them houses to houses. After two years of passionate working, my mother got a big position in the Brigade. She was elected as the President of the Organization of the Wives of Soldiers which, at that time, was recognized as one of the biggest organization in the community.

My mother, in her 4 year term, was able to introduce a lot of reforms. In her administration, she was able to commence a comprehensive profiling of projects of the organization. It was even deemed to be a very transparent organization, heading a lot of community projects, even annual outreach to children of Mother Theresa Foundation. She was able to reach to the different concerns of her constituents, and systematically tied up with other partner organizations to achieve the goals of their advocacies.

After that position, my mother resumed our small retailing business, bought a passenger-type cab for additional income, and worked as a company dealer. And atop from that, she became more active in the community, became a BEC leader and a chapter head of Couples for Christ. She continued touching other’s lives leading our community and lending help to others who were in need. She engaged constructively in weaving her role in the society one step at a time. Inspirational motivation and idealized influence, these are values that she forwarded to her followers. And I believe that made her truly a transformational leader.

It doesn’t make money to be a leader. It doesn’t make decades to make a change. For when you start in simple ways in being a leader, you could transform the society around you. A transformational leader doesn’t mean fame. It’s not even a measure of what brand of appreciation the society labels with you. For so long as you touched lives, in the most meaningful way of doing it, and impart your will serving others selflessly, you are a transformational leader.

As others may say, the only constant thing in this world is change. And in a context where leadership is an existence-bound norm, transforming your followers into leaders is the most effective leadership a leader can do.

Author: Gabriel S. Billones Jr.

(This piece is the winning entry to NATIONAL ESSAY WRITING CONTEST: Follow My Leader)

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