Amazing Kids! Magazine

It Takes Two

By: Allison Stein, age 11, Michigan

“Everyone,” Mrs. Benson said. “Today we have an essay topic.”

Marilyn sighed. She didn’t like writing essays.

“The topic,” the teacher said, “is which is more important, a leader or a follower?”

Marilyn had always followed Melissa, and she didn’t think she could survive without her, but where would Melissa be without her?

“You may work in partners,” Mrs. Benson said.

A slouching Melissa brightened up. “Oh, Mary,” she said, using the nickname she’d always called Marilyn. “Let’s be partners”

Marilyn definitely wanted to be prepared for Melissa’s visit. They were meeting in Marilyn’s room to discuss their project. Being a leader, Melissa’s job was simple: boss Marilyn around while she does all the work. Marilyn decided to write a rough draft.

Most people think a leader is important. They are right. A leader motivates the group, but a leader cannot lead without followers. I’m not saying they’re more important; I’m saying they’re equally important. You can’t have one without the other…

“Really, Mary,” were Melissa’s first words when she read Marilyn’s lead-in.

“What’s wrong with it?” Marilyn asked. “What should I change?”

“You should start over,” Melissa said. “Mary, a leader is WAY more important.”

“I think they’re equals,” Marilyn said, stubbornly. “If you don’t agree, you can work alone.”

Marilyn slammed the door behind Melissa. She’d decided to take Melissa’s advice. She wanted to start her essay over. A follower was more important. They did all the work. At 11 p.m. Marilyn had finished her first copy. “It doesn’t sound quite right,” Marilyn reasoned. “But what should I change?” Marilyn wasn’t a very good editor. It was evident in her work. Melissa knew just the right words.

Melissa was calm, sitting on her bed. She had about five pages full of great ideas, but had no idea how to start. Should she do a lead-in like Mary had, some other funky writing tip? Melissa couldn’t decide. Even if she could, Melissa was bad at all the detailed, skilled writing Mary did. Grammar was a problem, too.

It was a Sunday afternoon. Tomorrow the essay project was due. Melissa had written ten more idea papers, but her essay was lame. Meanwhile, Marilyn had spent days wondering what her essay was missing.

Melissa gave in. She pressed her e-mail button. Dear Mary, HELP!!!

Marilyn knew Melissa was talking about the essays. She called Melissa. “We can’t agree,” she said.

“Come on, Mary,” Melissa said. “We found out they are equals.”

“We have one afternoon,” Marilyn protested. “What could we write about anyway?”

“We’re supposed to base this on the real world,” Melissa reasoned. “Didn’t we just go through a real life experience?”

Melissa was right.

It Takes Two
By: Marilyn Simon and Melissa Shores

The real world has many misunderstandings. Is a leader better? Does a follower work harder? We found out that you can’t have one without the other. A leader is an important person. A creative person with lots of ideas makes a great leader. They support and give advice to their group. A follower does lots of the work. They have lots of special skills. I guess that’s the point of two kinds of people: so everyone can specialize in something. If the world can learn to work together, we are headed in the right direction.


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