146 – Larry Kaufman, Author & LinkedIn Expert Sheds Light On Overcoming Bullying
Our guest this week on the Special Fathers Network Dad to Dad Podcast is Larry Kaufman. Larry talks to us about an issue we haven’t discussed before, the problem of bullying. Larry grew up being bullied and coincidentally so has his son, Matt. We’ll hear their stories and how they deal with this difficult issue.
Larry is also the author of the book “The NCG Factor: A Formula for Building Life-Changing Relationships from College to Retirement.”
Larry is also a LinkedIn expert with 30,000 connections.
That’s all on this Special Fathers Network Dad to Dad podcast.
To learn more about Larry or connect with him, go to his LinkedIn profile at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/larrykaufmanlinkedinspeaker/
You can purchase The NCG Factor at: https://www.amazon.com/NCG-Factor-Life-Changing-Relationships-Retirement/dp/173306351X
Attend the May 15th SFN Dads Virtual Conference. Register for FREE at https://www.21stCenturyDads.org.
Tom Couch: Special. Thanks to horizon therapeutics for sponsoring today’s special father’s network, dad to dad podcast, working tirelessly to research, develop and bring forward medicines for people living with rare and rheumatic diseases. Discover more about horizon therapeutics mission at horizontherapeutics.com.
Also, please be sure to register for the May 15th special father’s network dads virtual conference, and meet and learn from some of the country’s most inspiring dads you can register for free. At 21st century dads.org,
Larry Kaufman: he saw me, I saw him. He came over and gave me a hug and he said, I’m sorry, what? He said, I was terrible to you in junior high.
And I want to apologize for my behavior. I actually went to high school with the same guys that were bullying you, but I parted ways from them and realized it was wrong. I’m glad that I could see you and apologize. And say im sorry,
Tom Couch: that’s our guests this week, Larry Kaufman. And Larry’s going to talk to us about an issue we haven’t discussed before.
The problem of bullying. Larry grew up being bullied and so has his son. We’ll hear their stories and how they deal with this difficult issue. That’s all on this special father’s network. Dad, dad podcast say hello to David Hirsch.
David Hirsch: Hi, and thanks for listening to the dad to dad podcast, fathers, mentoring, fathers of children with special needs presented by the special father’s network.
Tom Couch: special father’s network is a dad to dad mentoring program for fathers raising children with special needs. Through our personalized matching process, new fathers with special needs children connect with mentor fathers in a similar situation. It’s a great way for dads to support dads, to find out more, go to 21st century dads.org.
David Hirsch: your dad looking for help or would like to offer help, we’d be honored to have you join our closed Facebook. Please go to facebook.com groups and search dad to dad.
Tom Couch: And now let’s listen to this fascinating conversation between Larry Kauffman and David Hirsch.
David Hirsch: I’m thrilled to be talking today with my friend, Larry Kaufman of Mundelein, Illinois, who is a regional managing director with a financial services firm. Best-selling author of the book, the NCG factor, keynote speaker and LinkedIn lion. Larry, thank you for taking the time to do a podcast interview for the special father’s name.
Larry Kaufman: Thank you, David. I’m very excited to be here with you. My friend,
David Hirsch: you and your wife Charmaine had been married for 31 years. Now, the proud parents of two children, Nicole 16 and brother Matt who’s 20, who has struggled with issues related to bullying.
Larry Kaufman: Let’s start with some background. Where did you grow up?
Tell me something about your family. So I grew up in Desplaines. Illinois and basically met my wife. I like telling the story. So it helps with provide a little color. So I met my wife at a McDonald’s drive through, uh, in Desplaines, near the, one of the original McDonald’s. And so we met through the drive-through.
She was an assistant manager and. That is the first time I met her and we were married in Las Vegas about a year and a few months later after that, then we decided we’d never wanted to have children and we just wanted to have fun. And so it took us a little bit of time as we’re married 31 years. And you mentioned, you know, my eldest Matthew is 20, so you can do the math.
But, uh, we did concede and we had children were very happy and proud to have our children, but we did have some fun before that. But, uh, hopefully that gives you a little backdrop on me and my wife and my
David Hirsch: children. Well, thanks for sharing. I’d like to go back a little bit though. You mentioned that you grew up in Desplaines and from what I remember, you’re the oldest of three siblings.
You have a younger brother and a younger sister. And, um, I’m wondering, um, what did your dad
Larry Kaufman: do? So my dad was my inspiration to get into the sales world. Originally, my father was in insurance sales for the bulk of his career. About 40 years was an agent with Allstate. So he was my inspiration to go into sales.
And he also struggled with being bullied. It’s been sort of in the family blood. Yeah. So,
David Hirsch: um, is your dad still
Larry Kaufman: alive? So my dad retired at 65 and passed away five years later, 70, you know, so I think we’re going out about seven years ago.
David Hirsch: So I’m sort of curious to know, um, how would you characterize your relationship with your dad?
Larry Kaufman: So we were close. We were very similar. He had a great sense of humor. I think I’m funny. He may have been funny or he could remember. A joke. You can tell jokes. I can not retain a joke to repeat a joke, but he was great at telling off color jokes. Um, you know, jokes that you, you, you have to be selective with your audience, but he could also tell clean jokes.
Uh, but our relationship was a close one. And like I said, he was, he was always winning trips. And that inspired me when I, when the sales out of college to do the same, I actually did try to work for Allstate, but they. They turned me down so I could have had a different career track, but uh, didn’t that go down that same path.
David Hirsch: Well, I’m wondering if there’s an important takeaway or two that come to mind when you think
Larry Kaufman: about your dad. I think an important takeaway is that for my father, he would joke about the bullying that he went through. Right. So he didn’t cry about it, although it was real. A challenging time. He made light of it when he would talk about it.
And so, you know, I think later on in life, right, you could try to laugh at the times that, you know, he went through that were very challenging emotionally, and I know it was, it was, it was difficult, but then he can reflect upon his life that he did very well. He was very successful. And with all he went through.
He, he did come out ahead. You know, it’s a shame that he left this earth way too soon before.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, I’m sorry to hear that. Uh, it’s sort of been a family issue. I’m sort of curious to know. Uh, didn’t you relate any of those stories? What type of bullying took place? Because this was in a different generation or two from what we’re talking about today.
Larry Kaufman: So, you know, I I’ve spoken with my son about it and my father did a little bit as well, but I would say that what I went through and what my father went through was verbal and physical. Whereas today with what my son went through for years was verbal. Really, not the physical for himself, but verbal. And then you start to incorporate social media, the internet.
And we didn’t have that when my father and I went through bullying, you know, it was very different and they creates another type of challenge. It’s different. It’s different. I can’t imagine had the internet been around when my father and I went through it. Oh, my God, that would have intensified that terrible, terrible experience that we both have.
David Hirsch: Let’s talk about, uh, this, uh, idea of bullying. Um, the podcast is, uh, raising kids with special needs. And I know that special needs is to find most broadly as things like autism and cerebral palsy and down syndrome and on meet 7,000 rare genetic disorders. But, you know, Kids families are facing a lot of different challenges.
And I know that bullying is one that is very widespread. It’s in every community. It takes place, you know, from the time kids are super young through adulthood, into the workplace and beyond, and I’d like to delve them to this in a way that’s very meaningful. So, um, I’d like to talk about each of your kids just because I know that, uh, There’s different challenges that you’ve had along the way.
And we’ll start with Nicole, who I remember was born very prematurely and my wife was very sort of tenuous the first few months of her life. And I’m wondering if you can recount the circumstances around her birth and then beyond.
Larry Kaufman: Yeah, well, I, I would say my, my wife had four 11. When we hit my son, you know, and she was 88 pounds.
Um, had a tough pregnancy with my son. And I think due to that, moved her into a high risk category to have another child. And so when we got pregnant with Nicole, um, she was at a very strict kind of watch, you know, for anything that may occur, that could be the signal of. Premature birth. And so, yeah. So my w my wife, uh, delivered Nicole at 26 weeks.
She was two pounds, two ounces, and they kept her in the NICU for almost four months. And, you know, that was challenging time because we had a son at home. Um, my wife had, you know, only had a tough pregnancy with my son, but now, uh, even more challenging one where Nicole wasn’t going to, it was not supposed to make it through the first day.
So they said the odds are pretty slim that she’s in survive. So very, very stressful and tense. And my wife was in the hospital because she got a fever and get sick and they had to keep her almost. In a very awkward, uncomfortable position for, you know, a couple of weeks so they can induce some drugs and different therapies to help my daughter escalate.
Uh, you know, her growth a little bit, her development a little bit before they had to have her deliver the baby. So anyway, uh, you know, she was delivered 26 weeks. It was a very challenging time and people probably don’t realize this, but as a preemie baby, uh, you know, you’ve got three shifts with the nurses.
Everyone’s gonna treat your kid differently. So we would be calling throughout the night to talk to the different nurses. And, uh, actually some nurses will identify a preemie to be one they want to stay with. And there’s a nurse that did sell. We’re still friends with today. I mean, we are friends and we see her, um, and just a wonderful woman that, uh, if she didn’t do that with my daughter, I’m not sure my daughter would have come out as well.
So she’s wonderful today. Yeah. Well,
David Hirsch: it’s a great to hear that Nicola started out rather early and quite small and that, uh, you know, she not only survived, but she sounds like she’s thriving. And, uh, you didn’t mention the nurse by name, but those, uh, people that come into our lives are thought of as angel.
Right. You know, they’re just there at the right time at the right place. And they serve a very important role, even if it’s a temporary role, like you thought it was for a number of months. And, uh, you know, they do make a difference, a measurable difference
Larry Kaufman: completely. She is a savior and an angel. And, um, she is someone that we love.
David Hirsch: Talk about that. Um, from what I remember in our prior conversations, he’s sort of a super shy kid from the very beginning. And I’m wondering, how has his situation transpired? And at what age did you notice that maybe there was an issue or some issues going on?
Larry Kaufman: You know what I think, you know, we got them at a young age into T-ball.
He played baseball throughout, you know, his younger years, all the way through freshman year of high school. And so I think when you start to see the kids get into sports, kids could be just, you know, terrible to each other. And you start to see the interaction with. Your child, if they’re in a sport and they don’t do something, right.
And then you see other kids because they’ve developed friendships, they’ve been together and may make a comments. You start to see some of that.
David Hirsch: So, uh, you talk a little bit about your own situation in, uh, relating to Matt. And I’m wondering, uh, if you experienced any issues related to anxiety or depression or suicide for that matter.
Larry Kaufman: Our bowling was different, right? Because mine was very physical, a lot of fights, physical fights, a lot of taunting and teasing and so very painful. Uh, my parents were involved. They were aware. Yeah. I don’t know if that was good or bad, you know, at the time were the parents intervene, you know, sometimes a bull.
Their parents are bullies too, or one of them. Right. And so sometimes that apple doesn’t fall far from the trees. So as parents intervene with the child that was bullying you and their parents have bully, it may not be impactful. And so I would say for myself, because there was also physical bullying, It was pretty traumatic.
And I would say I was definitely depressed, had trouble making friends and was not a very happy child. So for me, it was very troubling and there was definitely no thoughts about getting me some therapy, seeing a doctor. I think it was just my parents intervening was the best that they knew. But I don’t know if that was the solution.
Um, I think mine led me to be more depressed and frankly, you know, suicidal thoughts. And, uh, so I, I had a hard time. I had a hard time and I couldn’t really confide about how I was feeling. So that made it more difficult.
David Hirsch: Well, the good news, if I can say it this way. It’s unfortunate that Matt is in the circumstance or is that some of the experiences, but it’s very fortunate that you can relate to gone through, and that it gives you a perspective that another parent might not have.
Right? If you didn’t experience bullying yourself, you might not have the empathy or compassion for your son that you do. So I think that’s a plus. And I’m wondering, having said that, um, If you’ve been able to help him navigate some of the challenges or if it’s still, it’s
Larry Kaufman: still a challenge, you know, he is, he has come a long way.
So he’s in a better place today than he’s ever been at 20. Um, but I will say there were some dark times, some very tough times. And just because I’ve been through it, yes, it did help to, you know, to be able to say, No, I understand how you feel that doesn’t help when you haven’t been there. But Hey, look, I’ve been there.
I know what you’re going through. Not only the verbal I’ve had the physical, I relate. I feel it felt some of the things that you probably feel, and that helped us to converse about it. It didn’t mean that we could fix it. It’s a very tough thing to fix. And not every child wants the help that they probably needs.
And I think what parents can do is frankly, go to therapy themselves so that we understand how to cope, how to react. And so I would say we did it wrong. I wish we could go back in time with things that we learned versus the way that we reacted or, or just, you know, thinking we can go in and intervene or make it better.
And you know, when he was in baseball and we’d see the kids taunting him and we’ve talked to the coach, well, some of those coaches were bullies when they were growing up. So their empathy seemed like it was there, but they didn’t. Because they were bullies who have been com coaches. And so that makes it even more difficult.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Will you touch on an important concept? You’ve made reference to it twice that the parents. Of those that are bullying typically are contributing to their child, son or daughter’s, um, behavior. And, uh, they don’t see the error or what harm is it doing? Right. That’s just the way it is right there. Just sort of a old school, if I can say that.
Right. You know, it’s just the way kids are. It’s just the way, you know, certain relationships, you know, you know, um, you need to sort of toughen up or just, you know, Pull up your pants, if you will. Right. And they are sort of, uh, Um, I don’t want to say Neanderthals, but you know, it’s sort of like a old school way of thinking about it and everybody’s wired a little bit differently.
And especially if you’re in a coaching situation, it’s one thing. If you’re in a parenting situation, Hey, you know, these are your kids. You can raise them the way you want to raise on this to some extent, but if you’re in a coaching or a leadership position, right, it becomes a much more important, uh, thing to address because.
You know, now you’re impacting other people’s kids. Now you’re impacting other groups of people, right. Particularly in the work environment. And I’m wondering from your own experience, um, what you witnessed, you know, how this transfers from being a family issue, like we’ve been talking about to being a workplace issue.
Larry Kaufman: Well, you know, when I was in public accounting, I, I witnessed it with a, a woman who I worked with, uh, who was another area. And I was kind of a mentor to her, um, you know, on many levels, but I knew she was in a tough situation where she was being bullied at the workplace and it was sort of this, you know, Guys’ world, this men’s world where she practiced.
And this goes on with men, with women, we see the harassment, we see all the things that go on. Sometimes that harassment is, is being bullied and it happens in the workplace. It’s it’s happens in college. It happens really everywhere. And just because, like I said, it already, you know, the, the parents who are still bullies that were bullies when they were young kids, some of those bullies continue to be bullies in the workplace.
I will say I, I did have someone that did bully me in school. And I was in a meeting, a business meeting with a person who had this last name that’s kind of unusual. And they said, do you have a, do you have any relationship to a guy with this name? He said, yeah, that’s my younger brother. So my God, no, I went to school with him.
I went to junior high and then I left before the same high school we had attended together. See, I haven’t seen him for years. Be great to reconnect. Well, you know, I, I was curious, my thought process was okay, you know, I’ve been working out now, I’ve overcome, you know, cause the bullying. So I’m going to beat him up.
That’s my plan. So we’ll get together and we may have met up at a restaurant and you know, he saw me, I saw him, he came over and gave me a hug. Oh my God. And he said, I’m sorry. So what he said, I was terrible to you in junior high, and I want to apologize for my behavior. Um, I actually went to high school with the same guys that were bullying you, but I parted ways from that.
And realized it was wrong. And I just, I’m glad that I could see you and apologize and Sam, sorry. So that was, that was better than a fight and beating him up and that worked out much better. And I think that was, that was a good thing. It was a good outcome and a surprising outcome.
David Hirsch: And one of the things I wanted to talk about, I want to switch gears and I want to talk about your book, the NC G factor, a formula for building life-changing relationships from college to retirement, which came out in July of 2019. I’m wondering what’s the backstory. What motivated you to write this book?
What was your
Larry Kaufman: objective? Well, I will say. I get great satisfaction by helping other people. And just like talking about that you learn lessons in life. Right? I, I wish I would have done that differently with my son and I, I wish I can go back to the time of college and do things differently in everything I did in college.
Right. Uh, the good, the bad and the ugly, but I, I think I would do it differently if we can go back in time. And so you have these lessons learned and about building relationships and about being giving and philanthropic and doing things differently and putting others before yourself and we’re selfish and not saying all are, but many of us definitely going back in time.
Yeah. I was about myself and I think if we could teach our kids early on. To think about others before themselves to think about being a giver of your knowledge and to put people together because they sh they belong together good and business, or they have common interests, put two kids together that were bullied that can help each other, whatever it is to think differently throughout our life from college, all the way to return.
David Hirsch: I just wanted to make sure that, uh, our listeners understood what the title of the book was, the NCG factor and the Anna’s for networking, the CS for connecting. And the G is forgiving. Is there something else that we should know about
Larry Kaufman: the book? Well, I think the book is really just all about other people and it’s about paying it forward.
And I think for me, that book is just something that could go from generation to generation. And you think about it. I have parents were getting it for their children that are going to college or in college. And so it’s great that I could see that interaction with the parents and their children. Just get them.
And so I, I think, you know, the most important thing is that it is a book, not, not just about networking. It’s about having the opportunity to rewrite your legacy from the start of college, through any point in your lifetime. And I’m having people saying that they wish they had a years ago, but many that are, you know, mid-career late career or like, Hey, I’m changing this.
I’m doing that. You’ve made me rethink the way that I’m living my life. And it’s so powerful. I spoke with a CEO today. Who’s, he’s, he’s reading the book and he said, it’s really changed his perspective. And, and then the, see the college kids go. I never thought about doing things this way. And so I’m just thrilled to have an impact on people’s lives.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, thank you for putting my book together. So I’m thinking about advice and I’m wondering if there’s another important takeaway or two that you might want to share with a listener about raising a child in this case who is being bullied or you suspect is being bullied.
Larry Kaufman: So as I, as I alluded to earlier, I think it’s, it’s good to talk to your children to look for any of those warning signs, you know, and I, I would say, and see if you can find something that would interest them.
Don’t force them to things that may put them in that situation where they may be bullied. Right. You know, was baseball the best pathway. He was not asking. We’re saying, Hey, I think you should play baseball. Right. So can you find a passion or interest since we got to guide the kids, but things that may give them competence, make them feel better about themselves.
It’s okay. To ask a professional for how to talk to your children. And don’t assume everything’s all right. And don’t blame yourself. Cause we’re not perfect people and we’re going to make mistakes. So accept that. But I think we need to talk more with our children, but we need to listen even more than we talk.
David Hirsch: Good advice. Um, I know that there’s this concept of ratio, right? We have. One mouth and weirs, and we should be communicating in that ratio two to one, listening to talking and, and one of the, um, special father’s network, dad to dad, um, zoom calls that we did, one of the guys, a pediatrician emphasize the point that if you take up the letters that make up the word.
Listening. It spells the word silent. And, uh, sometimes it’s hard. Like certainly when you’re in the heat of battle just to listen. Right. We’ll be silent, but it’s a point well-made. So I’m sort of curious to know why is it that you’ve agreed to be one of the dads who is a mentor father as part of the special
Larry Kaufman: father’s network?
I think I agreed because again, I think it’s just part of my philosophy to help others. I, I, I love it. I love your mission. I love what you do. David David, you give so much of yourself. You don’t think of yourself. You think of, of other people. And I know we first met, I was just taken aback because you’re so humble.
And so I think if we can all adapt that we’ll be better people. And so I think we need to all think about. Others before ourselves. And I think being a mentor is just that. And I love helping other people. I sleep better at night and I feel good and I don’t expect in return. And I think if we do, then we shouldn’t be out there as mentors.
And I don’t think we can call ourselves true givers. Well, we’re
David Hirsch: thrilled to have you as part of the network. Thank you. I’m wondering if there’s anything else you’d like to say
Larry Kaufman: before we wrap. Thank you for the platform, David, thank you for all that you do for everyone else. And I’m just glad to be a part of your world and to have the relationship that we continue to foster.
David Hirsch: Thank you. If someone wants to learn more about your work. Hiring you as a consultant or a speaker about your book, the MTG factor, a formula for building life-changing relationships from college to retirement, or simply contact you. What’s the best way to do that?
Larry Kaufman: Well, I think if you look on my LinkedIn profile, you could find me.
I have my context section has a website for me and other information because I left it open to everyone. And is probably the best way. And then you can find the book on Amazon, the mcg factor.
David Hirsch: Excellent. We’ll be sure to include that in the show notes, as well as other resources about bullying. So parents will have that easy at hand.
Larry, thank you for taking the time and many insights as reminder. Larry is just one of the dads who is part of this special father’s network, a mentoring program for fathers raising a child with special needs. If you’d like to be a mentor father. Are seeking advice from a mentor father with a similar situation, your own, please go to 21st century dads.org.
Thank you for listening to the latest episode of the special fathers network, dad to dad podcast. I hope you enjoyed listening to the episode as much as I did, as you probably know, the 21st century dads foundation is a 5 0 1 C3 not-for-profit organization, which means we need your help to keep our content free.
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Tom Couch: And thank you for listening to the dad to dad podcast presented by the special fathers network. The special father’s network is a dad to dad mentoring program for fathers raising children with special needs through our personalized matching process.
New fathers with special needs children connect with mentor fathers in a similar situation. It’s a great way for fathers to support fathers, go to 21st century dads dot.
David Hirsch: And if you’re a dad looking for help or we’d like to offer help, we would be honored to have you join our closed Facebook group.
Please go to facebook.com groups and search dad to dad. Also, please be sure to register for the special father’s network, biweekly zoom calls held on the first and third Tuesdays of every month. Lastly, we’re always looking to share interesting stories. If you’d like to share your story or know of a compelling.
Please send an email toDavid@twentyfirstcenturydads.org.
Tom Couch: Dad to dad podcast was produced by couch audio for the special fathers network. Thanks again to horizon therapeutics who believe that science and compassion must work together to transform lives. That’s why they work tirelessly to research, develop and bring forward medicines for people living with rare and rheumatic diseases.
Discover more about horizon therapeutics at horizontherapeutics.com.