Learning About My Family from Halfway Around the World

Jeremy Gerstein
March 16, 2020

A few members of my family came to visit me this past week. While we have had many interesting and amazing experiences, one in particular stands out. One morning we woke up at 0430 and hiked to the Lion’s Head peak for sunrise. Although it was a little cold, the hike was great and featured several spectacular views. The most interesting part of the hike took place on a flat part of the trail near the summit that was exposed to very strong winds. Although it was not strong enough to lift us off the ground, the wind pushed us back and forth as we walked along the trail. At one point I looked back to check on my family. While my dad was right behind me, I noticed my mom and older brother were farther behind and leaning against a large rock. I walked back to check on them, expecting to find that my 5’4”, 110 pound mother was worried that the wind was going to throw her over the edge. However, I found my mom comforting my older brother.

As my older sister was very independent growing up, my older brother was the one I relied on most for advice, comfort, motivation, and inspiration as a child. He always knew how to answer the questions I could not answer and solve the problems I could not solve. He helped teach me golf and tennis and helped with my college application essays. However, during our hike up Lion’s Head, I found myself having to advise, comfort, and motivate him. I knew we could have stayed where he was comfortable but I also knew that it was safe to continue and that the satisfaction of summiting for sunrise would be worth the temporary discomfort. After assuring him that we were safe and that we were nearly at the summit, I lead my brother and parents to the peak just in time to watch the sunrise.

An adventure that began as a sunrise hike turned out to also be a valuable lesson in both leadership and my family’s dynamic. I realized that sometimes I have to be the “big” brother. I also learned that an effective leader needs to push their followers out of their comfort zone without making them feel unsafe. As an added bonus to these lessons learned, I also made a memory with my family that we will never forget.

Jeremy Gerstein

<p>Hi, my name is Jeremy and I am a Midshipman at the United States Naval Academy. Outside of studying engineering and Arabic, I spend most of my time training for ultra-races, hiking in any park nearby, and going out with friends. I love experiencing anything new: food, language, music, etc. Find me in any local market, square, or club trying to figure out how the locals live.</p>

2020 Spring
Home University:
United States Naval Academy
Carmel, IN
Engineering - General
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