Fathers as role models

Fathers as role models
By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 6/16/2019 6:13:11 AM IST

The observance of Father’s Day dates back to the Middle Ages in Europe. The day  referred to as St Joseph’s Day was mainly celebrated by Roman Catholic countries on March 19- a day set apart to celebrate fatherhood, paternal bonds and their influence in the society.  The celebration was later brought to Latin America by the Spanish and Portuguese where it is still celebrated on March 19. Today, many countries the world over have adopted the US date which is the third Sunday of June.

In comparison, Mother’s Day was established much later. The first mother’s day was organized by Anna Jarvis in Grafton, West Virginia in 1908. By 1911, all US states observed it as a national holiday. After Anna Jarvis’ observed the first Mother’s Day, the first “Father’s Day” was held on July 5, 1908 (the same year), in Fairmont, West Virginia, in the Central United Methodist Church, to compliment Mother’s Day.

Speaking of fathers, they have traditionally been considered the chief “bread earner” of the family.  And while a father’s primary role is to provide and protect the family, the truth is- his responsibility as the ‘head of the family’ goes beyond providing and protecting. In the current era, with women asserting their rights/rightful place in the workplace/society and also upstaging the male counterparts in many aspects, the responsibilities of fathers have only become wider/assumed greater significance at home.

From calling the shots, fathers today are expected to be more versatile with their role in the family.  Considering how the cost of living has spiralled over the years and how it has subsequently prompted women to come out of the kitchen and walk right into the highest positions in corporate houses, father’s today must know how to change nappies while also making crucial decisions for the family.

Having said that, it is high time we gave a serious though if fathers have been appreciated enough. The masculine persona with very little or no expression of emotions and yearning for appreciation surely should not be an excuse to hold back our gratitude and appreciation. A good father knows his responsibilities and does not need to be told what to do. But when he is generously appreciated, it helps him understand his value even deeper and gives him that push to go the extra mile.

If the mother is the glue that holds the family, the role of the father is like the building blocks that secures a family.  While the mother builds a house with warmth and love, the father is the shield that protects it and keeps it secure. As the ‘head’ of the family, there is a lot riding on him; right from providing for his children and wife, finding a solution in tricky/tough circumstances to even leading his family in vesper. 

Every father has a legacy that his children seek to carry forward. A father wants his children to pick up the good traits from him that eventually become associated with the family. In short, a father represents the character of the family. How much hard a mother may try to hold the family together, if the father shirks from his responsibilities and does not help the mother, the family invariably will be in disarray. 

In this issue of Sunday Post, we feature some fathers who have richly contributed to the society (achievers)  narrate how their father shaped their lives and were role models in their formative years. 

Dr. LM Murry, son of Late Chemdemo Murry
Dr. L Murry’s father, Late Chemdemo Murry was the only teacher of the Mission L.P. School in Vankhosung when it was first started.  As a strict and hardworking man, he was very meticulous in keeping records of all life events. 
As such, Dr. L M Murry also started his education quite early and even started attending Sunday school before he could even read the English alphabets. His father would also not allow him and his siblings to sleep unless they finished their class assignments. Late Chemdemo Murry also worked as the Sub-post master in the Wokha Branch of the then Postal Department and was also involved in the translation of the Gospels. He was known not to waste even a minute. As the salary in mission school was meagre, Late Chemdemo Murry had to supplement the family income by cultivating paddy. Dr. L M Murry recalls how he would accompany his father to the jungle on Saturdays as there were no classes in those days. He would do so right from the process of clearing the jungle till harvest. In the evenings, his father would sit with them and help them with their studies.  
Dr. L M Murry said if he considers the sacrifices his father made for his welfare, he is not even a fraction of what he was. After Dr. L M Murry successfully completed Class VI, he was appointed as an LDA cum Store keeper in the Office of Lotha Tribal Council but his father insisted that he should pursue his further studies. That made him resign from the post and he went to Government High school, Mokokchung thereafter. 
When Dr. L M Murry passed Matriculation Examination of the University of Guwahati with flying colour (First Division with distinction), he contemplated finding work to lend a helping hand to his father and support the family but his father insisted that he pursue his higher studies. 
To meet the expenses, his father sold his prized possession, the breech loading 12 bore gun and sent him to St. Joseph’s College, North Point, Darjeeling to study Intermediate Science. Again, after he had finished Intermediate Science, he was appointed as Store Keeper in the Supply Department of Nagaland-Tuensang Area Government, but once again, his father did not allow him to take the job. He then sent Dr. L M Murry to Assam Medical College to pursue MBBS. With immense gratitude, Dr. L M Murry credits his father and his firm decisions that enabled him to become the first Medical graduate among the Lothas.
Rev. Dr. Wati Aier, son of Late Yajen Aier
As you drive into the lane in Naga Cemetery where the eminent Aiers live, you’d notice the lane is named after Late Sir Yajenlemba alias Yajen Aier  who was the Deputy Inspector of Schools for Naga Hills in Kohima in 1952 (before Nagaland attained statehood). Born in Mopungchuket under Mokokchung district in 1914, Yajen Aier started his career as an assistant school teacher in Mokokchung in the mid 40s and through sheer hard work rose up the ranks to become the Director of Education of Nagaland in 1967. 
Talking to this writer at his residence, Rev Dr. Wati Aier recalled how as a young boy, he would look forward to his father returning from school as it was time they would bond over making thatch houses. Though Yajen was amongst the pioneer of education in Nagaland, he did not limit himself to books.  He was also a skilled worker who knew how to fix and repair things on his own. 
The other vivid memory Rev. Dr. Wati Aier has of his father is how he would carry him on his shoulders and walk to church on Sundays while his mother would carry his younger sister on her arms. Rev. Dr. Wati Aier said his father was known for his pragmatic approach.  He was kind with his family but also firm.  His firmness though was not harsh but as a disciplinarian.  He also encouraged his children to do what they wanted to and complete it. 
There are three things Dr. Aier said he has inculcated from his father; being punctual, getting work done on time, and getting up as early as 4 am, a habit he imbibed from his father. 
Dr. Aier has two children; Justin and Kristina who are both in the US. Kristina is an attorney and Justin works in the Publications and Communication department in Boston University. He wants his children to be true to their vocation and put God first in all that they do. Dr. Aier has retired from active service but he is the Emeritus professor of Constructive Philosophy and Theology at Oriental Theological Seminary. 
Dr. Kethoser Kevichusa, son of R Kevichusa 
Dr. Kethoser Kevichusa is a renowned Naga author and speaker with the Ravi Zacharias International Ministry (RZIM) Life Focus Society.  His father R Kevichusa was an engineer and also a got into the Indian Administrative Service.
Apart from R Kevichusa’s credentials as a civil servant and his social status, he has an artistic side to him. Dr. Kethoser Kevichusa recalls his father also being a violinist, singer and composer. 
The best memories Dr. Kethoser Kevichusa has of his father while growing up is how he would make catapults, bow and arrow to keep him engaged and happy. On one occasion, he had even made him a Roman armour out of tin- a fond memory Kethoser vividly recalls. 
Dwelling on his father’s qualities, Dr. Kethoser Kevichusa said despite the weaknesses he has, there were also many good qualities about him.  He is a fair man and never pushed his children beyond their limits.  One of his biggest strengths though is his honesty, Dr. Kethoser Kevichusa pointed out. 
Another remarkable quality of R Kevichusa is his ability to forgive whenever his children apologized. Also, he would never raise the issue again. It was a closed chapter once his children had apologized. 
On his own role as a father, Dr. Kethoser Kevichusa admitted that though he may not the best example, he wants his children to imbibe his good qualities. Dr. Kethoser Kevichusa has three sons who are studying and he desires that they follow Jesus and Draw closer to Him. They need to learn more about Jesus, Kethoser emphasized. 
Himato Zhimomi, son of Ihezhe Zhimomi 
Himato Zhimomi comes from an illustrious family. While he is currently the Principal Secretary, Health and Family welfare, his brother Jacob Zhimomi is the Minister for Public Health Engineering Department (PHED), and another brother, Akito Zhimomi is a prominent lawyer. It is a legacy the Zhimomis have carried forward from their father Ihezhe Zhimomi, an ex-minister of Nagaland. 
Speaking to this writer, Himato Zhimomi said the first thing that comes to his mind about his father is that he is a disciplinarian. He recounted, as a politician,  Ihezhe Zhimomi was someone who is sociable and had excellent communication skills, a trait that Himato Zhimomi believes he has inherited from his father. One quality though that Himato feels he can still learn from his father is his tremendous patience, adding that is a virtue he stills need to work on. 
Another quality Himato said that makes his  father stand out was how he maintained his dignity as a public servant and in his general conduct in life. Ihezhe Zhimomi is also a very strong-willed man, a trait associated with Naga men in those days. They did not buckle under pressure but fought all odds to carve a niche for themselves. 
The best memories Himato Zhimomi has growing up as child was accompanying his father on fishing trips to Dhansiri. Way back then, Dhansiri river was not as polluted as it is today. 
Himato Zhimomi said reminiscing  his childhood with his father would be incomplete if no mention is made of his religious nature. Known for his deep faith, Ihezhe Zhimomi always gives God due importance and acknowledges Him (Jesus) in all that he does. 
Samuel Beech

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