Wednesday, December 19, 2012

English 201: My Positive Influence

I wrote this paper for my English 201-225 course, it was graded C.

Nate Fordham
Prof. Dee
English 201
February 15, 2009
My Positive Influence
My dad has been a positive influence in nearly every aspect of my life.  My mom and dad were divorced when I was seven years old.  Custody of my younger brother and I went to my mom.  As a result, I only saw my dad about eight hours a week, and every other weekend.  A lot of time during these weekend visits was spent fishing, where my dad gave me a love of nature, held me responsible for my actions, and taught me to make the most out of less than ideal situations.
By teaching me how to fish at a young age, my dad taught me to appreciate the outdoors.  My earliest fishing memories are from around age five.  I remember catching two rainbow trout in the Muskegon River.  At that age, my dad baited the hook, cast the line into the river, and waited by the rod while I threw stones and looked for frogs.  When there was a bite, my dad would set the hook and tell me I was catching a fish.  I would run over to my dad and reel it in.  It was not long after this that my dad taught me to cast with an open face reel, and how to bait the hook.  By the time I was ten, I knew how to tie the hook on with a clinch knot, add weight, and a bobber.  Doing these things with my dad pulled me away from the television set and into the wild.
By watching my dad’s stream-side manners, I learned a great deal of responsibility.  There is a place on the White River that we used to fish.  The riverfront was private property in this location, owned by a business.  My dad would go to the business and ask permission to fish there.  The owner of the property was happy to let people use the property to fish.  He would ask that we signed a liability waver, and did not leave trash.  My dad would always get upset when he and I would get to a fishing spot to find trash from another angler.  It seemed like we would always carry out beer cans and worm containers when we left, in order to leave the area nicer than it was when we got there.  My dad taught me not only to be responsible for myself, but to step up when others are irresponsible.
Sometimes in order to achieve good results one must step outside his or her comfort zone.  I learned from my dad that for some reason, unknown to him, the fish really bite in the rain.  They also really like to bite early in the morning.  My dad took me perch fishing one time on Muskegon Lake.  He woke me up at five o’clock on a Saturday morning, so we could be on the water by six o’clock.  This was a brutally cold morning in May where we both caught close to our limit of thirty perch. It is because of my dad’s early morning fishing trips in just above freezing conditions that I had no hesitation braving the elements two years back.  I chose to go fishing on a cold autumn day in the rain, while recovering from a hernia operation.  The weather was miserable, my feet were soaked before I got to the river, the wind was fierce, and I was all alone.  That cold September day in 2006, I caught the biggest fish of my life, a thirty-eight inch chinook salmon.

Today, I understand the value of rural areas.  I am not afraid to take the road less traveled just to see what is there.  I am a responsible individual who knows the importance of doing more than my share.  I regularly put myself into unpleasant situations in order to achieve favorable results.  My dad continues to this day to be a great influence in my life.

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