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Learning to Dad with Tyler Ross 003 - Marty Russo


Speaker 2: Hello. This is Tyler Ross, [00:00:30] and welcome to learning today. And my guest today is Marty Russo. Marty served in the us house of representatives from Illinois from 1975 to 1993. He entered the office at just 30 years old and he went on to work at the lobbying firm and Cassidy and associates, where he became the CEO. Marty now runs his own consulting firm and often lectures on businesses on how businesses and associations can have more influence in Washington with a mantra often being, just get involved. [00:01:00] Marty's a first-generation Italian American born and raised in Chicago. He got his law degree from DePaul. He started as an attorney prosecuting street gangs. He even has a credit appearing on the TV series, alpha house. He's undoubtedly a Chicago white Sox fan. And where you, the MVP of the congressional baseball game twice, two times. And to boot, he is a father and a grandfather. I thank you very much for giving me your time.

Speaker 3: Oh, Tyler's my pleasure. [00:01:30] It's really great to be here with you and hopefully you all can enjoy what we're going to be doing this morning.

Speaker 2: Oh, so that list, did I miss anything?

Speaker 3: No, that's pretty good at covers a lot covers quite a bit.

Speaker 2: You know, we're talking here because they're not really any metrics to measure the success of parenthood. The way that there is in, you know, in, in public service where you have votes, you know, you can measure your success on presentation of something or in business where you have [00:02:00] accounting. So the idea is to figure out how to be a better parent through experience in your professional life. So I wonder just, if you could talk a little bit about the place that you grew up, what that culture was like, and kind of ultimately what led you to your first job, your first work professionals?

Speaker 3: Well, let me just start by giving you a little background about myself. I'm a first generation Italian-American and my dad was born in Italy in 1912. He came here with his parents in 1920, then speak [00:02:30] the language, which is when you think about it, the heroes, they must have been all those immigrants who came here from overseas, the weather's from Italy, France, Germany, wherever they came from Ireland. At least they speak the language in Ireland, but they come here and they don't know anybody and they don't speak the language. Yeah. And the key thing for them is the create a family unit so that they're all together. And it might my dad's case, they moved to an area [00:03:00] called little Italy in Chicago. In the reason they moved there is because the whole community was all Italian Americans. A lot of them came from the same region that my grandparents are from.

Speaker 3: So they had a lot in common. They spoke the language and over time they began to learn English. Now my grandmother never learned English because she refused to accept America as her, as her home because she loved Italy. She never wanted to move, but she did. But the background is, is that there [00:03:30] was a very, very close knit neighborhood because they all had the same kind of issues. But they're also all construction workers, too. They worked hard for a very hard life trying to raise children in that kind of an atmosphere. But I would, I wouldn't trade it for anything. It was an eye-opening experience. It was a tough neighborhood. So you had to earn your spurs pretty quickly, but you learned a lot about life quickly because of that. And my dad worked [00:04:00] three jobs while I was growing up. So I hardly saw him, but he was the person who gave me the most inspiration because when I did get to see him, he spent a lot of time talking about what would be great for me for my future.

Speaker 3: W the key word that always came out of his mouth was education, education, education. My dad actually went to two years of junior college before he had to quit and go out, earn money. [00:04:30] Now in Chicago, in Chicago, my dad was an accomplished musician. He played seven instruments. Wow. He played for Sally ran, uh, the world's fair in 1932. And he played with the Wayne King band. And during the depression, he had a thing called Claude Russo and the hot 10 hot shots. That was a band. And they would play at speakeasies and get cash. And that's how the family survived during the crash. Yeah. So my dad was out there doing that while he was still going to school. [00:05:00] He was an engineering major and he's a great, great engineer. Obviously, when you start learning music, it's all mathematics. And my dad was a mathematic genius.

Speaker 3: That's why he could play so many instruments. The interesting thing was he can play those songs that he played 50 years ago, pick up a sax and clarinet and play the same tunes. Just never would have a piece of sheet music and he can play the violin. He played a piano, he played a mandolin and guitar. So he was an accomplished [00:05:30] musician, but he always said, education, education, remember this Marty. And never forget it. Once you have your education, nobody can take it away from you. And then if you're in the right place at the right time, that education makes a difference for you. Yeah. So he was a person that really made me want to do things and I'm watching him work three jobs. It's almost hard to believe it. You can find three jobs in that amount of time. Right. But he worked construction.

Speaker 3: And then he worked the [00:06:00] late shift on the Studebaker line and he owned a Tavern and my dad didn't drink. Yeah. But he did all that because he had four kids at home and it was a way of making money. I mean, it just, it was tough in those early days, I wore my brother's clothes and shoes and pants and all that stuff because, uh, you know, it wasn't, it was a tough time, but that's why education was important because it's the way to grow and get better and, and do better for yourself. And so having seen him [00:06:30] work that hard and do all the things that he was doing to make sure that he gave his family a good life, made me work really hard at what I was doing. And I'm the first one in my family to graduate college and go onto law school. Yeah. So I owe most of that to my dad.

Speaker 2: Do you feel like his experience in working in three jobs plus pursuing successfully music? Do you feel like one of those was a calling and the other was kind of like a hustle? Or do you think a calling might've been taking care of his family?

Speaker 3: Well, I think [00:07:00] taking care of his family was number one is paramount and anything. I mean, the family meant everything. I mean, we all ate every Sunday. Everybody came in my aunts and uncles, we all ate, we ate dinner. We had lunch at about noon, 12, one o'clock. And everybody gathered because in the complex that we lived in were four different buildings. They were all relatives. Nobody else was there. There was an outsider, all relatives. And so on Sundays we would all get together and then they would also play cards together. They would, uh, then down the way that people would [00:07:30] have a bace court, then they would go. So it was really like the whole neighborhood was like a family. Yeah. But in our place, we had like a, well today you would call a condos in the back, very small one building and then two separate buildings when a gangway in between them, in everybody, there was a relative.

Speaker 3: And so you grew up with your family. So family was the thing that, that came to the forefront and anything we, everything we did. So I grew up that way. Yeah. And I think, I mean, his hard work was to, was, [00:08:00] was to make enough money to send his kids to school. Now, back in those days, the Italians that came over from Italy, it was the boy that goes to school and gets the education and the girls go work and stay home and have children. Right. So what my brother and I went with the cows, my brother dropped out of college after their second year. And my two sisters went to secretarial school. And I'm the only one that actually finished college and finished law school. But that's how they thought back then. And today it's totally different. And obviously women deserve [00:08:30] a greater place in society and they're there and they're doing it and doing great.

Speaker 3: And it's been good for the rest of us, that the women are a much more prominent role. But back then that wasn't the case. It was stay at home. Mom and my mom basically raised all of us. My grandmother lived in the same house as my grandfather lived with us until he passed away. So the family unit was not just our family, but was the extended family of my grandmother's sisters, my grandfather brothers, all in the same complex with all the grandchildren that they had. So it was a great [00:09:00] experience. I mean, it, it, it, it, it made me who I am. Yeah. And I'm very family oriented. My dad was a major problem solver for the family. My uncle, Marty, for whom I'm named, never had any children. So I was his, uh, like his adopted son. So I was very fortunate. I had two people in my life who had major impact on me, my father and my uncle.

Speaker 2: So th that's, that's a real, I keep envisioning these scenes and movies of big Italian families just being [00:09:30] together and laughing and just the love and the room being just so dense and amazing.

Speaker 3: It was w it's like I say, it's an experience. I'm glad I went through. It was tough, but it made me who I am today. And I don't regret one bit of it. I'm glad. Uh, we stayed, we had the opportunity to move to another part of Chicago, like Oak park, which is considered more uppity back then. And my dad didn't do it. He liked the neighborhood we were in. He liked the people around us. And, um, [00:10:00] we were much more grounded because of that.

Speaker 2: So with your father's role, being the problem solver and the support system and, and the, the source of inspiration for education, it that in that period of time, how do you feel that role might have manifested for you as a father, as a different generation? Uh, did you feel like it was the same role, or did you play a different role?

Speaker 3: Well, I, I think it shaped who I am. I [00:10:30] am a problem solver. I'm always there. My kids are grown up to be there for them. They remember I'm 18 years of my son. Tony's life. I wasn't around. He was six. When I went to Congress, Dan was born while I was in Congress. So in those younger years, I wasn't there as much as I would have my dad. My dad was home every day, even though I didn't see him that much, but it made me always want to make sure I was around when my children had something important that I would fly back from Washington to see [00:11:00] a basketball game. Yeah. I'd fly back to Washington to see him perform something. So, uh, I wanted to make sure that they understood that they meant the world to me and anything that was important to them, their father was going to be there.

Speaker 2: That's a really great segue into a question that I had loaded. I wanted to ask you because as a public servant, for so long, you impacted people by the hundreds, hundreds of thousands, tens of thousands of huge masses. And I would think that other people that have [00:11:30] public exposure like that often have to sacrifice being there for the few to make an impact on the many, in your experience. Can you share kind of reconciling that for someone who might be pursuing the public good versus, you know, just being at home as often as possible? Well,

Speaker 3: It, people don't understand how tough a job being in Congress is because you're in two different places. Your constituents want you, when [00:12:00] you come home, your colleagues want you when you're in DC, trying to do things for the country as a whole. And so it's a balancing act, but my balance was, my kids were first. So if something came up on a Saturday when I was home and I was asked to do a bunch of different events that my children and my family came first. And then I did the events just to give you a typical weekend as a, as a, as a public figure, because I came home every weekend. It's a short [00:12:30] flight from Washington to Chicago. I would fly in on Friday afternoon. And then my staff would have four or five events for me to do Friday night. And then I would get home, see the family, get up the next morning, do a town hall meeting and do about four or five events on Saturday night.

Speaker 3: Yeah. Sunday family did what we did the family go to church and all that stuff. And then I'd have maybe a little league game to go throw the ball out at them. Or I have some other [00:13:00] church event that they want me at. And that was the week. But in between all those things, my staff understood one thing. You have to build time in for me to spend time with my family. And if my son had a basketball game, which my boy, both, both boys play basketball, I'd be at the basketball game because I wanted them to know that they were the number one priority. And they knew that. And I think even though you're away, like I would call every day, I would speak to them on the phone [00:13:30] to let them know dad missed them, cared a lot about them and was involved and had a great wife.

Speaker 3: I have a great wife and we were married almost 53 years. She carried the burden. She was a school teacher. She carried the burden of raising my children while I wasn't around at the same time working full-time as us as a high school teacher. And I had wonderful, wonderful. In-laws my mother-in-law's the greatest woman ever met in my life. She took care of my children while my wife was at school and that she was there, that [00:14:00] her and her, my, uh, her and her two daughters who live with her would take care of my children when they were out of school and gave comfort and company to my wife while I was gone. So the whole support structure that I had made it a little easier. A lot of members had a very difficult time. Members get divorced after a while. They're not home enough and things happen. And so it's people understand when you have two different homes that you have to go back and forth with, and you have responsibilities in two places. [00:14:30] It is a strain on any marriage. Yeah. And on any family life. And the question is, do you have the right person with you to be able to make it happen? And I did.

Speaker 2: So living in those two worlds, I wonder if you had to make transitions every time you went from Washington back home, you know, and I'd imagine in the public eye, you have to be careful about, you know, even the most simple of comments being taken out of context and having to be careful how you communicate. [00:15:00] Did you have to change the way you commute?

Speaker 3: No, I didn't. Cause there wasn't any social media factors. So basically if I'm at a town hall meeting and I'm getting into it with a constituent, I just, I was myself. And I think they appreciated that. I mean, I was a very candid person and they asked the question, I gave an answer, even if they didn't like the answer, I, this is how I feel about things. And we would debate it. They don't do that today. But back then, you can have some really good dialogue with your constituents. [00:15:30] And it was good. It was good for me. It was better good for them. It was better for the country and that people understand why you do things. So I thoroughly enjoyed doing that, but at the same time, my family was very important. I I've commuted for almost 24 years. Yeah. Before I actually ended up moving to DC and staying here and having my family here now, all my family's here now.

Speaker 3: I mean, uh, uh, both my boys are married. They live, each of them lives about four minutes [00:16:00] from where I live. Yeah. I see my five grandchildren just about every day. Amazing. And so it's very, and, and on Sunday evenings, we get together as a family and have food and have barbecue or whatever. We stay in touch. So it's very, it reminds me a lot of what I did when I was a kid. Yeah. Family, we get together, all the cousins were together. And so in this situation, you know, my five grandchildren, they get to know each other because even though there's, they go from 16 to five [00:16:30] at 16, 12, 9, 7, 5. Wow. So they're around each other and they help each other out, which is really great. And I, and I sit there as a grandparent and saying to myself, wow, this is really cool. You know, this is how I always envisioned it to being. And, um, and you know, you never stopped being a dad to even when the kids grow up in adults and they have their own family, you still never stopped being a dad.

Speaker 2: Has it changed like when [00:17:00] you were raising your voice and then now your grandfather and your boys are adults with their families. How has your role as

Speaker 3: Dad or grandpa? My role as a dad is to be inspirational. Yeah. As much as I can. Cause that's what my dad did for me. I could tell you a story about when I wanted to quit law school. I just, and I've been in school since I was four years old. And, and after my first year of law school, I was just, I, it was just, I was actually burned out. Law school was not easy. It was, it's a tough grind. And I had gotten out of law [00:17:30] out of undergrad school in three years. So I worked, I went to school summers and nights. And when he's impatient people, yeah. I wish I'd get it done yesterday. So I did all my credits in three years then went to law school. And then my first year of law school was like my elective hours. So I got two degrees in, in six years.

Speaker 3: And, uh, let's see, in six years, instead of seven years, right. I was burned out. Yeah. I went home. I never forget. I went home one day from school and he went to my mom. I said, look, mom, I just [00:18:00] can't do this anymore. I'm I'm, I'm fried, I'm tired. I just can't keep this routine up. And uh, and I I'm going to quit law school. And she said, well, look, don't do anything that they thought the apartments. And so I sat down with my father and uh, I went through the whole thing with him and he looked at me and he say, look, and I said, you know, dad, I don't have a car. I very rarely have any money in my pocket. The God and dates. I worked at a shoe store, a women's shoe store, [00:18:30] making whatever I can make. Sometimes I make $4 an hour and $5 an hour, but it's only part-time.

Speaker 3: I said, you know, all my other friends, they drive cars thing. He said, look, let me explain something here and back there, working construction. The big pay was three 50 an hour. Yeah. Me, me, me making $4 an hour for 20 hours worth of work was a lot of money. Yeah. But again, you go from law school in Chicago. Shopping days were Monday [00:19:00] nights, Thursday nights, Saturdays. That's the days I worked and I studied in between. And I just was, I just couldn't. I just, I, I just can't keep this pace up. He said, look, I can get your job on construction. You can make, you know, the Mac $3, three 50 an hour. And um, that's not a problem. I can do that for him. He said, look at me. I work in winter time. It's cold. You know, I got them mixed concrete and stuff.

Speaker 3: When it's very cold out, I got to listen to the other people [00:19:30] telling me what to do, where to go, how to work. He said, now that can happen to you and I can help you. You can grow in this business and you can probably be like, I am a supervisor, but look, all this stuff you have to go through. You're not your own boss. Now the alternative is you finished law school. You're your own boss now, how do you want to live the rest of the 50 years of your life? Do you want to live it? Like I do. Where in the wintertime, your back bothers you, your elbows bother [00:20:00] your Coger. You're freezing outside. Or do you want to take a chance and being your own boss? And he said, that's a choice. I can help you either way. Yeah. And I said, well, dad, if you asked me to pick for myself, I will pick for myself.

Speaker 3: I don't want to go on to law school. He says, well, look, son, if you don't want to do it for yourself, why don't you do it for me? And, and when he said that something clicked in my brain that said, whoa, [00:20:30] my dad wants me to do this for him. It's all I needed to hear. Yeah. And from that day on, I got the best grades I could get. I got married to my lovely wife when my soft, my second year in law school, my grades went up even better after that. And the rest is history. And like he once said to me, education can never be taken for you. So just be prepared because some day something may happen and that education is going to make a difference for you. And it did having been [00:21:00] a prosecutor for three years, all of a sudden somebody came to me and said, would you like to run for Congress in a district that Democrats can't win? Now they want accompany. If I didn't have that education, that background that I had, and that led to what I have today. So I remember that story. And the basic thing that I tried to do with my kids is to be there when they need me.

Speaker 3: The problem I have is that I'm a problem solver and I always try to solve the problem. [00:21:30] Cause I don't want my kids to go through any of the pain. Some of the pain I had to live with. I think we all feel that way about our kids. Can we make a better life for them? Then I have a great life. It's hard. It's really hard for my kids to, to look at their desk. So I want to be better than my dad. They can be. Yeah, it doesn't have to be in politics. It can be anything you want as long as you're happy. So I try to step back from the problem solving role. I try to stay there. Okay, I'm here. If you need me, [00:22:00] I'm here. And I think the best thing a parent can do with adult children is to not interfere in their lives, but let them know that you're there to support them anytime they need you.

Speaker 3: And that's what I try to do in my wife is a gem on that. She's also very, very close to them. Works very hard with them. And they talked to her as much as they talked to me, but I wanted to make sure they understand that it's not my life. [00:22:30] I want them to live, leave. I want them to live their life. And I think both my boys are doing a very good job at that. They're very happy. And, and they've had some struggles. There's no clear my son Antonio was died of leukemia at age 26. Yeah. He's a survivor. It's a great thing for me, my son, Dan, he's happy what he's doing. And so I just try to be there for them. I think one of the things that I've learned that I wish I knew way back when is to be a good listener.

Speaker 3: I think [00:23:00] the key is the, make sure you allow your kids to talk with you, that they know that they can speak with you at any time they want that's something I learned over time. I wish I'd have had back then. Yeah, but it's doing me in good stead now. And I, and basically I've basically indicate to my kids. That's one of the things that they should do with their young children. The key key is listen to [00:23:30] them, give them the opportunity to express how they feel too. You don't always step in and say, well, here's how we're going to solve it. This is what you need to do. Go here and go there. And I'll take care of this. You take, it's not, you can't solve all the problems for them. Sometimes they have to make the mistakes so they can learn from the mistake.

Speaker 3: Right. And so my whole purpose, even with my grandchildren, I want to listen to you, tell grandpa what's the problem. Yeah. Then, then they open up to you. [00:24:00] So I wish way back when, when I was having my own children and going through some of the things I went through, that I was a better listener rather than a problem solver. There's a big difference. Yeah. So that's what I would do. I mean, my recommendation to the people out there who are listening is listened to your kids, give them the opportunity to open up the, you don't always say here, I here's how you do it out the office Elvis, I make a phone call for [00:24:30] it. Don't do that. Listen to them.

Speaker 2: Is there a trigger or kind of a mindful practice that you might recommend that could put somebody in that place too, instead of, you know, go with their gut and try to fix the problem step back and prepare.

Speaker 3: Well, Tyler might problem is I didn't learn that until later on in life. I realized that I moved too quickly. That's, you know, that's, that's a plus for me and a minus for me, you know, my strength is my weakness. [00:25:00] My strength is I want to solve the problem, right? My weaknesses, I want to solve the problem, which you want your children to learn is you, you make a problem into an opportunity. Yeah. That's the key things are going to go wrong. There are going to be problems in life, which you have to look at the prompt saying, okay, this is my problem. Now, how do I take that problem? And turn it into an opportunity to me that's critical. And that's the thing that [00:25:30] back then I didn't think about, I thought about, oh, there's a problem. I'm solving it. Boom done. I've probably missed a bunch of opportunities of making things even better for my children. By allowing them, you make the mistake. We figure out what the mistake is. We're sorry for the mistake, but now what do we learn from the mistake? What's the opportunity that comes out of that mistake. And that's the thing I think is very critical today. Especially today with all [00:26:00] the things that are going on with social media and the pressures, the peer pressure that goes on, focus on. If I make a mistake, how do I turn it into an opportunity? And that's the thing I would, I tell my children today. Yeah.

Speaker 2: The thing that you said about trying to help versus solving the problem, help, um, creating the opportunity, reminds me of a thought I have about non-parents. I feel like people without [00:26:30] children don't understand the depth of emotions associated with having kids, how much you can actually love someone isn't apparent until you've had a child. Do you think a child can love their parent back at that level?

Speaker 3: I don't quite follow the question. And you say that

Speaker 2: We'd all throw ourselves in front of a bus for our kids. And before kids, we might not have felt that way about anybody. I've never cared more about anything [00:27:00] in my entire life than my children. And I wonder if my kids will ever understand that if my perspective is tainted, by how much love I have for them, because they don't understand it.

Speaker 3: Oh, they understand it. Yeah. They'll take you. They take my take. Yeah. They understand it. And in giving the love, you're giving him you're you, you are you're, you are inspiring to be the person they are. So they're sitting there. Maybe they don't totally understand it, [00:27:30] but children are so impacted and how their parents treat them when they're young. Yeah. Remember they're absorbing knowledge. They don't have a lot of knowledge. W w what we feed them is the knowledge they have, what they see, what they, what they hear, what, who they play with, what people say, they're absorbent, because they're just, they're just here three, four years. And they're at 7, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 years. They're absorbing. So we have to make sure we're inspirational. [00:28:00] We love them because hopefully when they grow up to be children, I mean, adults and have their own children, they then reflect what you taught them.

Speaker 3: I saw something about one of the actresses, a famous actress about what a horrible childhood she had. And now the AJD, she finally understands it took her 80 years. Yeah. So the impact that parents have on their children is awesome. Yeah. [00:28:30] It could be really great. It could be really horrible. So if you're concerned about how your children gonna view it later on in life, it depends on how you treat them now. Yeah. It's a lasting memory. It never leaves their mind. So the subconscious never forgets conscious does, but the subconscious never. So like I said, when I had this big choice of deciding whether the going out my mind, my conscious mind says, I'm sick [00:29:00] of this. I don't want to do this anymore. So I'm really the quit. Yeah. And then when my dad hit me with do it for me, it's like all the things he did for me in my entire life, working three jobs, doing all the things he could to be around us and helping us, it all just came right out to me and said, wow, he did all that for me. And all he's asking me is to finish my education. I think I can handle that. So it was, [00:29:30] it was bred in me. I didn't know what was going to ever happen like that. Right. But because I had this wonderful experience with my mom and dad, that at the moment of the truth, when he pushed my button, I reacted to the button. And that's all because of everything he did before that, and was doing at that point to

Speaker 2: Have that moment of awareness like

Speaker 3: That. Yeah. It was unreal. I mean, I tell you, it's kind of spooky. It was like, Ooh, you know, it's like, you know, and I hope I've been an inspiration to my [00:30:00] two sons. Yeah. And I, I try to be an inspiration to my grandchildren, especially the two that are older. I think that's my role. My role was to be inspirational, to love them and help them. And most of all, listen to them. Yeah.

Speaker 2: Now, where were you in your professional life? When you had your first son?

Speaker 3: I was a practicing lawyer, a local practice. Would I have my son Dan Tony. And was in 1968.

Speaker 2: Did that impact your decision [00:30:30] to be a public servant in the form of being a Congressman?

Speaker 3: No, not really. I never, I didn't aspire to that. I, my, my job was to be a good lawyer, provide a good living for my children. I only have one at the time during those first six years before I went to Congress. I mean, I spent a lot of time with Tony. Yeah. And I would say, because I spent a lot of that time with him. It's such a, I over time had a much better and closer relationship with him. And then I had [00:31:00] with Dan early on, but over time that changed. And we were all, I mean, the relationships are very strong, but I will tell you because I was home every night and saw him every night, it was, had a better effect on him in terms of me in him. Whereas Dan, I wasn't home except on weekends. And I think, I think I missed out on some things I would have liked to have done with him as I did with Tony when, from age zero [00:31:30] to six.

Speaker 3: Yeah. But in the long run, because you showed the love and you care and you do things with them, you can overcome some of the time when you weren't at. Look, my dad worked three jobs. I hardly ever saw him. But when I did see him, it was quality. Yeah. And that's what I try to do with my children myself, because when you're gone five days a week and then sometimes you're traveling and you're gone, you're speaking somewhere. You're not home all the time when you are there. They have to be the center of attention. So it's quality [00:32:00] versus quantity.

Speaker 2: I've noticed a difference in myself trying to be more present for my kids because we live in a world of just extraordinary distraction where, you know, being a hundred percent engaged in one thing is becoming increasingly difficult because we've got phones and iPads and televisions everywhere. Uh, do you have any comments on kind of watching, you know, your experience as a father and watching your grandkids, having all these things or just the world in general?

Speaker 3: Uh, well, it's very different [00:32:30] watching my grandchildren versus my children, my grandchildren, these young kids live on iPads in, in, um, games, video games that they see. So I try to have a little bit of a restriction on them when you're at the table. Nothing in no more than an hour, a day when you're around me. Yeah. I think my boys both do the same thing. So the kids are beginning to learn that there are limitations because you have to set limitations. Otherwise I just keep doing what they're doing, because [00:33:00] that's what they want to do. I think there's, I think it's a lot tougher job today because of all these distractions that are going on, but that's the same token. One of the things I realized what my oldest grandson is, he does a lot of research on this stuff. Yeah. And it's really great when he helped come back to me, started talking to me about what happened in world war II.

Speaker 3: And I'm like, wow, where'd you learn that? Well, grandpa did, you know, Papa, Papa. So the tool that they have can [00:33:30] be a great tool and educational tool versus just a fun and game too. Yeah. So as I watch my oldest grandson, who's 12 from the time he started with computers in little games to where he's at today, he's gone from someone who loves to play games, but now realizes there's all this research component. He can gather all this knowledge. And I think it's incredible. And I hope my other grandchildren, as they get older will, will, will follow in his footsteps. Think there's a way

Speaker 2: To [00:34:00] encourage that

Speaker 3: Curiosity. I think, I think as a parent, your job is to do that. Yeah. Your job is to monitor what they're doing because today it's totally different than when I was, when I had children. When I was a kid who we didn't have all this stuff at our disposal. I mean, I'm not knocking it. I think it's a, I mean, you know, if I want to look up something and go to my iPhone, I hit something and I put it in and up comes the answer. I mean, I never had that when I was a kid. You know, we have to, I remember people [00:34:30] coming by trying to sell you encyclopedia Britannicas because if you want it knowledge, you had all these books, you gotta go there. Well, our parents couldn't afford a book as a set of that book. So we'd have to go to the library, right?

Speaker 3: Canadian kids, they pop up something. And there it is. Even today in law school, if you want to do research in law school, you just have Westlaw on your computer, push a button, you put the, you put what you're interested in. In all of a sudden, all the cases pop up. I never had that. I had to go to the library. He looked at them, you know, it's so different. [00:35:00] I think that's why we expect so much more from children today. I think there's a lot more pressure on them because we are demanding more from them. I watch my grandkids, even, even in fourth grade that the courses they're studying, I didn't get that until I was in high school. Yeah. So all this information actually is terrific if you channeled it correctly because it's there to educate them. And so, because we have all these tools, we expect students [00:35:30] today to do much better. Yeah. And frankly, they do. Yeah.

Speaker 2: And you you've talked about, um, monitoring and kids and restricting kids. That's a great opportunity to ask you about punishment. Cause I, I view punishment. It's like, if you're bowling and you put the inflatable things in the gutters to keep the ball from going into the gutters, you give them a little bit of a path, but you don't want them to go into the gutter. Um, but what's your opinion on punishment and kind of the evolution?

Speaker 3: Well, the evolution is a lot different than when I was a kid on punishment. And when I was a parent that's punishment, [00:36:00] uh, look at it today. That's why I said, if there's anything I've learned that I wish I knew back then was the ability to listen to my children instead of punishing them. I think, you know, they made a mistake. What you need to do is sit down and they haven't explained to you, why did they do what they did? Talk to me, tell me why. And I think if you do that and this idea of, you know, getting, getting punished by, by physical, you slept on the butt or whatever [00:36:30] that accomplishes absolutely nothing yelling at kids accomplishes is absolutely done. Maybe in the old days they did, you were afraid, whatever. I didn't have that problem. My dad wasn't that type of person.

Speaker 3: But I think what we're missing in society today is the ability to say, okay, I'm confronting the problem. My son made a mistake or my daughter made a mistake. Okay. I have a choice. I can yell at him. They put him in time out. This thing that I learned about years ago, put kids in time out. Yeah. [00:37:00] I don't think that helps them understand what happened. Right. I think what you need that we'd need to understand is why did it happen? So talk to them. Yeah. Give them the opportunity to make their case. And then whatever punishment you may render they'll understand it better. But I think, again, I come down to this one thing, there's a problem. It's a mistake. We understand that now, how do I take that problem and [00:37:30] make it into opportunity for my grandchildren or my son? How do I do that?

Speaker 3: I think if we focus on what we can get out of it and how we can help them versus punish them, I think society would be better off because punishing has long lasting effects on children. Right. You know, you think they blow it, it blows away, but it doesn't, it stays in the back of that brain. And that brain recalls it in, in situations where [00:38:00] it reminds them of what happened. Yeah. I, whether they say, geez, you know, I had that problem and my dad said, talk to me about it. You know, I did, you know, and I finally, I D I, you know, I made a big mistake and I'm not gonna do that again. Yeah. And I'm going to do this as a result of that. So that's what you want. And I think paradise is difficult today because there's a lot of distractions. So you've got to make sure your children are in tune with you, that they know any time I do something, no matter how bad it is, I can [00:38:30] go to my parents and say, here's what I did. Yeah. And I'm sorry about it. Helped me. Yeah. Isn't that great? I think that's wonderful.

Speaker 2: Yeah. I mean, it's really, really tough. Talk about education for a minute. If you, if you had a magic wand and you could wave a educational system in front of your grandchildren, how would you want them to be educated?

Speaker 3: Well, I think it's up to them. Yeah. I think the real true is that, what are they like? I mean, not everybody has to be a lawyer. Not everybody has to be a doctor. [00:39:00] I mean, there's a lot of trades out there that we need. We need electricians or the plumbers. We need scientists. We need engineers. We need policemen. When the firemen, we need teachers, you have to encourage them to find what they like, not what you like. Yeah. Now, uh, it was drilled in me by my uncle, Marty, that the greatest thing in the world is there'll be a lawyer and never thought about any of the Oscars. I adored my uncle. He died very young at age 52, [00:39:30] and I hadn't gone to law school yet. I was going to be going to law school when he passed away. So I never thought about anything else.

Speaker 3: I was like, this is what I'm going to do. But there are so many options today. And, and you just have to have the, the, the child pick it out, see what they like. Maybe it, maybe it, maybe it's an airline pilot. Maybe it's the going into the, to the Navy. And maybe it's going becoming a Marine or an army or a fi [00:40:00] they have to figure that out. Then you can help them. If you listen to them, if you dictate to them what you think they should do. I think you're making a huge mistake because then they're not going to want to do it because they want to do it. Yeah. And so to me, that, that, that would be the key for me is tell me what you're interested in now in seventh grade or where they call here, what a middle school, you may [00:40:30] think you want.

Speaker 3: One thing I always wanted to be an engineer because my dad was one. He had the engineering background. Look, what I ended up. I ended up in law school, ended up a member of Congress, something that was never in my thinking. Yeah. Some people grew up all their lives wanting to be a public figure. I never did. So it depends on how you feel about issues. I, I was content on being a lawyer, making a decent levy for my family, and then opportunity came in and I got lucky. Right. [00:41:00] But I wouldn't have got lucky if I didn't have the educational background to be able to step into that induced and, and, and, you know, run for Congress to see if I was competent enough to do it. So, but it less, they like what they're doing. They'll never be successful.

Speaker 2: That's great. Um, I want to jump into a little bit of a lightning type round share. Kind of a handful

Speaker 3: Of questions is double jeopardy.

Speaker 2: How much did you bet and how much do you wager if [00:41:30] you were going to write a book about your professional and parental life, what would be the name of some of the chapters?

Speaker 3: Oh, well, I don't know about the, some of the chapters, but I know the title book would be, yeah. It would be, make a problem into an opportunity.

Speaker 2: I love that. Uh, what is a gift that you could give to another dad that you would like to every dad to have

Speaker 3: Listening,

Speaker 2: Listening the ability to listen? [00:42:00] What physical thing does every dad need? Okay.

Speaker 3: Well, for me, it's a golf club. I don't know about anybody else, physical thing. That's all I can think of. I mean,

Speaker 2: When you get to do that with your kids,

Speaker 3: I, uh, I love athletics. I do athletics with both my boys when they were growing up. And I think that's, that helps round them out. I mean, I don't want just a bookworm. I, once I want [00:42:30] to a young, I want my kids to be well-rounded. I think that helps them in any profession they go into or any trade they go into. So you, you want to make sure that they're well rounded and that's it to give them, give them the tools and let them do with it. That was Isaiah, please.

Speaker 2: Uh, what, is there a, a TV dad, a movie dad that you like?

Speaker 3: Um, movie Dan and I like not really a movie that I can't, [00:43:00] uh, I'm just trying to think of right off the top of my head. I can't come up with any particular movie dad, you know, we have fathers knows best with, uh, it's way back with Robert Young fathers knows best it's about the, well, you know, the yellow one that was really kind of cool was Ozzie Nelson and Ozzie and Harriet was a show back back then there was a family oriented show today. The one I like that's family oriented in the end is a thing called blue bloods. What I like about it the most is [00:43:30] that every show ends with them having, uh, having, uh, uh, dinner on Sunday, altogether in the house. That's one.

Speaker 2: I love that. What is your greatest hope for children?

Speaker 3: They're, they're happy. They're happy in what they do.

Speaker 2: Um, a podcaster named Tim Ferris guy that I've listened a lot to likes to ask a question. If you had a billboard on I [00:44:00] 95. Yeah. I'm sure he used something in LA, but every, every dad saw your billboard. Uh, what, what would you populate the billboard

Speaker 3: With? Love your family,

Speaker 2: Love your family. And I'll call this our last question, uh, in, if this recording lasted 10 generations, your great, great, great, great, great grandchildren would hear it. What might be something you'd like them to hear?

Speaker 3: Well, what I would like [00:44:30] to get out of it is they need the love, their children. They need to be involved in their lives. They need to listen to them and need, I need to help them when they want the help. That's awesome. Well, is there anything else that no, I had a great time. Thank you so much for taking the time with my pleasure. My pleasure. That's awesome.


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