By A.J. Dugger III
Mayur Mehat graduated from Nashville’s New Life Program last year. The program assists fathers that are struggling with various issues including financial, employment and parental problems.
Mehat enjoyed the experience. “There were fathers there from all races and backgrounds. We learned that as fathers you have to focus on your health and learn to communicate, whether it’s with your spouse or your children.”
Mehat was born in India but lived most of his life in Tennessee. The Austin Peay State University graduate lives in Clarksville and works as a senior project manager for a financial services company. He has two boys, aged 10 and 7. He’s been happily married for 14 years. Although some of the New Life participants are struggling with custody disputes, unemployment, single parenthood and other problems, Mehat wanted to see what the program as to offer. “I wanted to learn as much as I can,” he told The Tennessee Tribune. Last year, Mehat found out about The New Life Program on the News Channel 5 website and decided to participate.
“They taught us that it OK to have fun along the way,” he said. “It’s OK for your children to make a mistake. You have to be open-minded and teach children to appreciate things.”
Mehat says that the program told the fathers to accept the fact that their kids may not be exactly like them, as well as to be good disciplinarians and spend quality time with their children. “They told us to lead by example, be supportive and loyal, and teach them life lessons. You have to show unconditional love,” said Mehat.
There were other lessons as well, including that a father has to talk to an elementary-age child differently than one in middle or high school. Mehat was amazed at how supportive everyone was at the program. “You definitely have a support system at the New Life Program. It’s positive learning enrichment for the future.” Mehat encourages other fathers to join the program. “I think it’s a very good thing to go through. There’s always ways to continue to develop as a father and it evolves over time. Fatherhood is not just looking after the kid but also looking after yourself.”
Mehat’s youngest son approaches him every day and says “Happy Father’s Day.” The first time he did this, Mehat asked him why, and his son responded that everyday should be Father’s Day and it shouldn’t be just one day a year. Each time, the comment never fails to put a big smile on Mehat’s face.