Courage to Say “No”

Edwin James Dr. D. Wei SYG 2000 26 February 2007 Courage to say “no”. We all have difficult decisions to make in life. When these decisions involve someone you care about and when it means doing something you don’t want to do, it becomes even more difficult. Several instances come to mind where I had to make a choice that could ultimately affect my relationship with the other party. I will cover two, one when I was a young boy and another as an adult, both of them significant. I was born in the city of Wilmington, Delaware and lived there up until I was in the forth grade.

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All throughout my childhood I had heard about my father’s hunting trips to Canada to hunt bear and moose and his yearly deer hunting adventures to upstate Pennsylvania and New York. I had never given it much thought as I was too young to hunt and didn’t realize what it involved. Things would be much different in a couple of years as we moved to Pennsylvania the summer before I was to start forth grade. I was about to start junior high when I was given a shotgun for Christmas. I had no idea what I was going to do with it and to make it worse, shortly afterward I was given a rifle.

I had made the mistake of never discussing my feelings about hunting to my parents. I had never told them that I had no desire to shoot a gun or kill an innocent animal. It was always assumed that I would follow in my father’s footsteps as my older brother had and I didn’t want to disappoint my father. So I went along for two years with the charade. After the second year I couldn’t hold back. I told my parents that hunting was not for me and I had only agreed to do it because I thought I had to. They told me it was my decision to make and that they would not be disappointed.

Had I known that, I would have had the courage to say “no” earlier than I did. After I graduated from high school and moved away, my father traded in his shotguns and rifles for a camera. He later told me he had lost the desire to hunt and enjoyed the beauty and grace of the animals he captured in photography. Experimentation. As a university student living in a dorm, this is an everyday occurrence. You’re away from your home, your family, and friends. This is a time when you can easily be influenced. I was no exception.

I was in my second semester at the state university. I had come out of the closet the semester before and had become very close to a few guys on campus. One guy, for whom I was very fond, rented a house off campus that became a hangout for us all. One night I had gone to the house to hang-out. Shortly after arriving, a bong was pulled out and began to circle the room. Mind you, although I was in my early twenties, I lived a somewhat sheltered life and was very naive. I had no idea what this was. When I was asked to participate, I hesitated but gave in.

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