With only 250 words, they don't give you much room to be descriptive (your essay is at 254 words right now). You are going to need to make every
You finish by saying that your mom has made you a strong-minded scholar, but there isn't anything in the body of the essay to indicate HOW she did that. Did she drill you with flash cards before spelling tests? Did she learn calculus so she could help you with your homework? Was she waiting at home with a plate of cookies and a glass of milk when you got home from school?
You have a few more traits in the second essay, but still not a lot of life. Has your mom done things that are above and beyond what a typical mother does? What kinds of roles did she take on that might be out of the range of a typical mom? Is she a single mother (and thus taking on some of the responsibilities of a father as well)? Try to use your words to show how much your mom loves you.
I agree with Liebe's suggestion to get right to the point (Liebe's suggestions and observations are always right on the mark--pay attention to what he has to say). Readers don't need to know that a lot of people influenced your life. We don't want to imagine your first-grade teacher, your Little League coach, the next-door neighbor that paid you to mow the lawn, the parish priest, Barney the purple dinosaur, or your first boss . . . we want to hear about you mom. Obviously you are close to her. State your admiration immediately and succinctly.
With an essay this short, you might want to state your person, give a reason/value/lesson, and then back it up with an example before providing a sentence that wraps things up. Let's see . . . your mom taught you to work hard, finish what you start, to think before you act, and to learn from problems.
My mother has taught me some of the same traits and some that are different. If I were to write an essay of this nature about my mom, it might look something like this:
The most influential person is my life is undoubtedly my mother. She takes the responsibility of raising a son seriously and works diligently to instill values. Education is a priority in our home. When I was young, my mother read to me for hours on end, quizzed me for my weekly spelling tests, and answered my myriad questions. As I grew older, she brought me to the library, provided a quiet place to study, and taught me how to use reference materials to find the answers to questions on my own. Alongside this academic foundation, my mom provided a moral grounding with life lessons designed to teach perseverance and responsibility. Although helping with household repairs felt like a chore, I realize now that I was learning to take care of my own home one day. My mom brought home a ceiling fan once and asked me to install it. The task seemed overwhelming, but my mom insisted that I read the directions, look up helpful hints on the Internet, and gather the needed tools. Within a few hours, we watched the ceiling fan spin around with pride showing on both of our faces. Time spent cooking at my mother's side and sorting out light-colored laundry not only taught me life skills, but enabled me to spend time with my mother and know her better outside of her role as a caretaker. She is an amazing woman and her influence has helped me to be a competent and confident young man.
That came in at exactly 250 words. Even though my mom is not super-human and has not had to overcome any great obstacles in my upbringing, the essay still gives some examples of HOW my mom has taught me and the time/care she has put into her role as mother. My mom has taught me other things (or tried to, *grin*), but I focused on the academics and household chores so that I could give examples.
The people on this thread are trying to push you to give a little more, share some examples, enliven your mom with your words. As it stands, it is a generic essay, but not because you are writing about your mother. It is a generic essay because it is in black and white instead of living color.