“Helping people is strong in our family”

by Michael “MG” Japaljarri Wayne

Michael “MG” Japaljarri Wayne with his son Johnny “Jujayi” Jungarrayi Wayne.

My name is Michael Japaljarri Wayne, and most people call me MG. This is a story about me and my son – most people call him Jujayi, because his skin name is Jungarrayi. He’s four.

I lost my father, and I gave his English name for my son. They are both Jungarrayi, and I wanted to give him the same name. Thinking a lot about my father, I wanted to get my father’s name and give it to my baby. I think it’s a good way to remember my father. People might know that I’m remembering my father.

I always ask Jujayi, ‘What you gonna be when you grow up?’ and he always says, ‘I’m gonna be a doctor!’ Sometimes he says police. When he says these things I feel alright, really happy. I want him to be a doctor or policeman.

First, I wanted to be a doctor, when I was a little kid like Jujayi. When I was a little boy I was thinking, ‘When I grow up I want to get a job’. The reason I wanted to be a doctor was to be helping people, especially older people. Doing a job that helps people is really strong in my family. I think my father taught me about helping people. He used to have a job working in the clinic with a doctor, as a health worker. He was helping people through his job in the clinic.

This way of helping people is something strong in our family. It’s something that my father taught me and something I think is important for Jujayi. I want him to be helping people in his future. He’s got that strong idea too, that his life is going to be about helping people. We taught him that by always asking him about it and talking to him about it.

Just a few days ago, Jujayi was at childcare and he found a snake there. He saved another little girl from being bitten by the snake, getting her out of the way. I have done these kinds of things too – I have worked with young people to help stop them from sniffing petrol or committing suicide. Oh, I feel really ngurrju (good) when Jujayi’s doing things like that, copying his dad – really proud.

Sometimes me and Jujayi’s mother say, ‘When you grow up are you gonna be breaking in? Are you gonna be a smoker or a drinker?’ He always says no. We want him to stay away from those things.

Jujayi never met my father and sometimes that makes me feel sad. Jujayi’s only four years old but already he’s saying he wants to be a doctor; maybe Jujayi never met his wardinyi (father’s father), but he has the same idea as his wardinyi! He wants to help people and be a doctor.

Uncles are important for Jujayi too. They always look after him and talk to him, take him for a walk. They follow him around and he makes them talk, teasing them and making them wild. They really love each other and those uncles look after him, since Jujayi was born.

Jujayi lost his uncle, his mother’s brother. He has the same voice sometimes and he is gentle like his uncle. Sometimes this makes us sad because we always miss that uncle. Sometimes it makes us feel happy and proud though, because Jujayi’s uncle was a really wonderful man and we want Jujayi to grow up like him. Sometimes it’s happy because he reminds us of the people we love. Sometimes I look at him and think about my father and I feel alright. He is very precious to us like that.

He learns quick. I’m proud of him for that. He wants to learn to play guitar too, just like his uncle. That comes from his mother’s side family, I don’t really know how to play music. But I want him to learn that, following on his mother’s side.

I think he’ll play football like me, I’m good at football. He’ll maybe follow Allies which is my team. Once he was going for Kintore because they are the Hawks, just like Allies.

To view or download the PDF of this story click here

The idea for Strong Family Men came from Cecil “Crocodile” Johnson, a Mt Theo Traditional Owner and one of our fanstastic community partners from Central Australian Mental Health Service (CAMHS). Croc wanted to get Warlpiri family men, old and young, to share their stories about teaching, protecting and caring for children in their lives. We took beautiful photos with help from PAW Media, and worked to reflect, question and put together the values and ideas each person has for being a strong family men. The result is images and stories that are strong, proud and beautiful.