Our guest this week is Father Medard Laz of Ft. Lauderdale, FL a retired Catholic priest for the Archdioscese of Chicago, founding pastor of Holy Family Church in Inverness Illinois, the author of nine books and a serial social entrepreneur.
His achievements are many; so many in fact, that we’re presenting his conversation with David Hirsch in two parts. This week in part 2, we’ll hear about Father Laz’s not for profit ventures, his many books and more.
Father Med is the founder of many non-profits, including:
- Rainbows For All Children
- Joyful Again
- Treats For The Soul
- Hearts For Humanity
- Angels in Action –
He is also the author of nine books including:
- Love Adds A Little Chocolate (1998)
- Life After Divorce (1998)
- Coping When Your Spouse Dies (1998)
- The Gathering: Jesus And Abortion A Story For Our Time (2020)
- Spiritual Guidance for Separated & Divorced
- Six Levels Of A Happy Marriage
- Lift Up My Spirit Lord
- After Your Loved One Dies
That’s all on this Special Fathers Network Dad to Dad podcast.
Show Notes –
Email – email@example.com
Rainbows For All Children – https://rainbows.org/
Joyful Again – https://joyfulagain.org/
Treats For The Soul – https://www.treatsforthesoul.org/
Hearts For Humanity – https://heartsforhumanity.org/
Angels in Action – http://angelsinactionusa.org/
Love Adds A Little Chocolate (1998) – https://www.amazon.com/Love-Adds-Little-Chocolate-Brighten/dp/0446524247/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1547912876&sr=8-1&keywords=love+adds+a+little+chocolate
Life After Divorce (1998) – https://www.amazon.com/Life-After-Divorce-Practical-Guidance/dp/0764801910/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1547913003&sr=8-2&keywords=life+after+the+divorce+medard+laz
Coping When Your Spouse Dies (1998) – https://www.amazon.com/Coping-When-Your-Spouse-Dies/dp/0764802267/ref=sr_1_1?qid=1692142989&refinements=p_27%3AMedard+Laz&s=books&sr=1-1&text=Medard+Laz
The Gathering: Jesus And Abortion A Story For Our Time (2020) – https://www.amazon.com/GATHERING-Jesus-Abortion-Story-Time/dp/B08BDSDQ5L/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=
Spiritual Guidance for Separated & Divorced – https://www.treatsforthesoul.org/wp-content/uploads/SPIRITUAL-GUIDANCE-FOR-SEPARATED-DIVORCED.pdf
Six Levels Of A Happy Marriage – https://www.treatsforthesoul.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/SIX-LEVELS-OF-A-HAPPY-MARRAGE.pdf
Lift Up My Spirit Lord – https://www.treatsforthesoul.org/wp-content/uploads/Lift-Up-My-Spirit-Lord.pdf
After Your Loved One Dies – https://www.treatsforthesoul.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/AFTER-YOUR-LOVED-ONE-DIES.pdf
Tom Couch: [00:00:00] Special thanks to Horizon Therapeutics for sponsoring the Special Fathers 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
Medard Laz: The baby is born and it’s a spina bifida. So I walk into the room and there’s Judy nursing the baby. She holds up Catherine, her newborn. And she says, Father Laz, Catherine is so different than all of our other children. But Catherine is going to give us so much more love than all of our other children give us. Here, hold Catherine, please.
Tom Couch: That’s our guest this week, Father Medard Laz, a retired [00:01:00] Catholic priest for the Archdiocese of Chicago, founding pastor of Holy Family Church in Inverness, Illinois, the author of many books, and a serial social entrepreneur. He’s had a long, illustrious career, which is why we cut his interview into two parts. This week in part two, we’ll hear more about Father Laz’s not-for-profit ventures, his many books, and more. That’s all on this Special Fathers Network Dad to Dad Podcast. Say hello now to the host of the Dad to Dad Podcast and founder of the Special Fathers Network, 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 Fathers Network.
Tom Couch: The Special Fathers 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 [00:02:00] to 21stCenturyDads.org.
David Hirsch: And if you’re a dad looking for help or would like to offer help, we’d be honored to have you join our closed Facebook group. Please go to Facebook.com, groups, and search “dad to dad.”
Tom Couch: So now let’s hear part two of this conversation where Father Medard Laz is telling David Hirsch about the five charitable organizations that he created and led. Here, David’s asking Father Laz about the fourth organization, Hearts for Humanity.
David Hirsch: So we’ve talked about Rainbows For All Children, Joyful Again!, Treats for the Soul. The fourth is Hearts for Humanity. So the mission of Hearts for Humanity is to “create a safe and nurturing environment for children of war turning their desire to defeat injustice into strong leadership and ability to help others.” So what’s the backstory on Hearts for Humanity and how did that come into existence?
Medard Laz: Well 20 years ago, [00:03:00] I had prostate cancer and at Northwestern Memorial in Chicago I had my prostate removed and I was concerned that I wasn’t gonna make it. The MRI said that it had spread to my spine. So I figured you know, my days are pretty limited on this planet. God works in strange ways. When I had my prostate removed all the cancer was taken out with it. I haven’t had any radiation, any chemo, anything in 20 years. So I went back to Florida, here in Fort Lauderdale where I now live, from Chicago. And I said, I got to give back.
And so one woman, just that first Sunday, said we have this group called Just Faith where people get together in a small group to talk about reaching out to the poor around the world and that. And 20 years ago I went down to the Dominican Republic. And that too was a totally life changing experience. We drove along the, you can’t even call them roads, they’re paths with huge potholes and the like. [00:04:00] And probably went through about 25 or 30 little villages of maybe 80, 100, 120 people who were Haitian, living in the Dominican Republic, cutting down sugarcane from six o’clock in the morning till, eight, nine o’clock at night, making maybe 50 cents a day. The children, most of them didn’t have any clothes on, distended bellies because of malnutrition. These are all Haitians who have gone to the DR to find a better life and they basically are slaves.
And I just had, in the course of a few hours, hundreds and hundreds of people, from the youngest to the oldest, staring into my face from an inch or two away, and there was no hope. No hope at all on their faces. And so as a result of that, I just… it was life changing in the sense of I can deal with anything. I’ve had people die in my arms. I can handle just about everything, but I cannot [00:05:00] handle any number of people as a group or community without hope. There’s no place on this earth for people without hope.
So I got involved with Food for the Poor and so with some friends, the Sikalskis and others, a lot of the people in the neighborhoods around where you live in the Chicagoland area there, David, we built a school every year for the last 16 years or a hospital addition in Haiti.
From the first time I stepped off the plane in Haiti, again, with my entrepreneurial spirit, how do you begin to solve this? Where do you start? Well, education, education, education. And that is why I started Hearts for Humanity, to provide digital learning for kids, try to get them laptops and generators, and then train teachers so that the kids could really learn. Our laptops move around to the safer towns. So a year ago with all the [00:06:00] turmoil in Haiti, we had to move out of Port au Prince. It’s just way too dangerous with the gangs.
But where there’s a will, there’s a way. And we’re going into schools, we’re going into churches, community centers, and these kids never thought that they’d see or touch a laptop. And here they’re learning to type, they’re learning to do coding and things like that. And we just can’t get enough laptops, new ones or used ones that are working well. And now with the Starlink, we can get perfect internet, high speed for $150 a month.
And I can’t tell you how much joy this brings to me in a country as difficult as Haiti. More people died in Haiti, more citizens died in Haiti this year than died in Ukraine because of the gang warfares and things like that. From where I’m sitting here, I get on the plane at seven o’clock in the morning. I get off the plane at 8:30. It’s an hour and a half away by plane. It’s like I went into Mars. It’s a totally different world in [00:07:00] terms of what the folks have. But again, my calling, this is what I’m called to do. This is what makes me tick, that entrepreneur that responds to, how can I make people’s lives better? And my religious. Behind it all is the good Lord showing me the way, opening doors, guiding me to get involved with these grief situations. You’ve got to have a strong and deep faith to get you by and then to reach out to others. That this is not just social work. This is a committed, say, Christian response.
David Hirsch: What I’m picking up, if I can paraphrase what you’ve said, is that you had this life changing experience traveling to the DR, seeing all these Haitians and these abominable circumstances, these families, people of all different ages. And it’s not like you saw that and it just touched you, but you were motivated to do something about it. And the something has become a not-for-profit organization in the name of Hearts for Humanity, which serves the community, some of the poorest people in [00:08:00] the Western Hemisphere there in the DR as well as in Haiti. And maybe you were inspired a little bit by Food for the Poor, building these schools, these daycare centers, churches. And it wasn’t like, oh, I did it once or twice, but you’ve been committed year after year, right? And it’s just become part of who you are and inspiring others. You’re planting these seeds, right? Every time somebody learns about, hears about your story, for some people, it’ll just touch them. Maybe for others, they’ll talk about it. For others, they might make a donation or ask how to get involved as a volunteer.
And the extreme example would be that somebody, perhaps a retired couple, packs it all in and says, hey, this is what I want to dedicate the rest of my life to, is following in the footsteps or the lead that you’ve created. Anyway, I’m very inspired by the work that you’ve been doing. And I know I’ve been a perennial supporter in a very small way for that work [00:09:00] in Haiti. But at a certain level, you’re doing God’s work here on earth, trying to change the circumstances and put some hope in the lives of people that, in many cases, would be hopeless.
Medard Laz: Well, we pray “thy kingdom come.” We pray that in Our Father how many times, but just more than the words. We got to do it. We got to put it into action.
David Hirsch: Another way of phrasing it would be that some people talk about things and some people do things about it, right? And you’re obviously in the later category. The fifth of the five not-for-profits that I’d like to focus on is something called Angels in Action.
Medard Laz: So the woman that was in the SUV that day that I had the life changing experience, she was in the back seat, Marisol Cuevas. In terms of the charitable work with the poor, before I then started Hearts for Humanity, she and I almost immediately wanted to deal with the situation in the Dominican Republic. And so she works with a group of [00:10:00] Carmelite nuns and we basically are providing education. For $30 a month, kids can get a private education, get some nutrition, get a health check every year kind of a thing. And then many of our dollars have been going to college education. So doctors, engineers, psychologists, they never would have gotten those college degrees.
I was with a family recently, $80,000 a year. They get through Northwestern in Chicago or Notre Dame or Harvard and places like that. It totals about $80,000 a year. We’re putting kids through some really good education, say in the DR, the Dominican Republic, for $800 a semester, $1,600. We had one girl became a doctor. One of the people lives not too far from yourself, David. He supported her all the way through medical school and she’s a heck of a doctor [00:11:00] down there.
One of our first college students is a psychologist as such and comes from 16 kids in her family. And the whole story of her family, the girl’s pregnant, her sisters and that are pregnant when they’re 17, 18, certainly by the age of 21 with a husband who works when he wants to or doesn’t work or leaves them. And so every day she’s just thankful that she was able to get an education and to be a psychologist down in the DR. So Angels in Action, we’ve been going like almost 20 years now with that.
David Hirsch: Yeah, thanks for sharing. Just amazing. And if I understood what you said, for as little as $1,600 a year or the equivalent of $6,400 for four years of education, people are being college educated and going on to be very impactful in their own communities.
Medard Laz: We’re putting kids through college and they’re getting good, responsible jobs for Central America, paying jobs for down [00:12:00] there.
David Hirsch: Yeah, I love it. Thank you for sharing. Let’s spend a few minutes just talking briefly about each of your books. There are nine of them. And I’m gonna call an audible and just say we’re gonna do a lightning round. And what I mean by that is that I’ll mention the title of the book, and you mention just two or three sentences about the book. And we’ll rifle through these to just give our listeners a flavor of the breadth of the work that you’ve put into these books. So in no particular order, the first title is Love Adds a Little Chocolate.
Medard Laz: Okay, so I put that together as like my own version of the Chicken Soup books. And so I say, hey, I got stories. I can tell a few and I can find a few. So I put that together and it’s a delightful book. Certainly my bestseller, probably close to 150,000 copies of that.
David Hirsch: That’s awesome. The second title is Life After Divorce.
Medard Laz: Yeah, so from all the work that I did with divorce I think, what am I hearing from people [00:13:00] on these weekends? What is it? What are some of the things that they need to get into and deal with? I think that one could even be found on my website, TreatsForTheSoul.org, the whole book. These are like 64 pages.
David Hirsch: So what you’re saying is that you can find some of these titles as a PDF that can be downloaded or just read online.
Medard Laz: Yes, at TreatsForTheSoul.org.
David Hirsch: So the third title is Coping When Your Spouse Dies.
Medard Laz: Again with the Joyful Again!, taking those 28 lives and compressing them into four characters and the like, what are some of the things from the weekends that we’ve done with Joyful Again! that have benefited people?
David Hirsch: So the fourth is The Gathering: Jesus and Abortion, A Story For Our Time.
Medard Laz: Three years ago I came out with that, my first novel. I had it sitting in my drawer. I’d done it years ago. After I broke my femur and I’m lying in that hospital I said to myself what am I waiting for? I self published it on Amazon. And I think that [00:14:00] it’s a fascinating story. What if Jesus came back today and put himself right in the middle of the abortion situation in our country? What would he do? How would he react? For this man who ate with sinners, who turned to the good thief on the cross, and he says, this day thou shalt be with me in paradise, and on. So would Jesus come on condemnatory, or what would he do to bring the two sides together? I got a Baptist minister friend down in Oklahoma, and he says The Gathering is the best book on abortion that I’ve ever read. It’s interesting. People have read it, loved it, got them thinking in terms of how would Jesus handle abortion if he walked into our world today.
David Hirsch: Yeah thanks for sharing. Obviously a rather controversial topic, like you were suggesting, and very creative that you would pen the story of The Gathering: Jesus and Abortion, A Story For Our Time. So the fifth of the books, again, in no particular order, is Spiritual [00:15:00] Guidance for Separated and Divorced.
Medard Laz: Each of those little oh, I forget how many stories that I would have, so this would be like a mini Chicken Soup. There’s a little story, and then I reflect on the story.
David Hirsch: Excellent. The next title, the sixth title, is Six Levels of a Happy Marriage.
Medard Laz: Yeah. So Six Levels of a Happy Marriage, that came out of my Marriage Encounter experience. And I bet if you totaled all the sales over about maybe 35 years, I bet that that little baby is sold well over 300,000 copies. Again, it’s the fruit of of my Marriage Encounter experience, when I plunged into Marriage Encounter with the couples and that, and in terms of what they were saying to me. What does it take? Okay, so you start with that physical level and you work through all the other levels and get down to the intimacy level and the friendship level. What constitutes that, and how do you get there? [00:16:00]
David Hirsch: Thanks for sharing. So the seventh is Lift Up My Spirit, Lord!
Medard Laz: That’s the very first book that I wrote, oh gosh, 45 or so years ago, way back when. And so these are reflections. I took on the mind of I was an older person, my age today, and so somebody in their 70s, 80s or 90s, how they’re seeing the world differently. There’s a person in the hospital and they see a crack in the wall. And so they start reflecting on that crack. They’re almost like little poems, nurses and things like that.
And I remember, I think I got one book review and it was very flattering at the time because I was all of about 32 years old. And the book reviewer said gee you can really tell the wisdom and the age of the author. [both chuckle] And there was a summer a good 45 years ago. It was after my first assignment in [00:17:00] Chicagoland and people were inviting me to go out to play golf and this, that, the other. And I was turning down invitations left and right because I wanted to get this Lift Up My Spirit, Lord! done. And I worked and worked and worked and I sent it off to a whole number of publishers and got a couple of pink slips and didn’t hear from the others. And I said I guess my career in book publishing is ended; nobody’s buying into what I have to say.
So here it is a couple of days after Labor Day and our secretary says, you got a call from New York. John Kirbin’s on the phone. I don’t know any John Kirbin. So I was going over to school, we had a teacher’s meeting, first day of school starting, and I come back and I call this fellow, and I said, I’d like to speak to John Kirbin. He said, that’s me. I said, you called me. He said, yeah, I’m John Kirbin. He said, I work for the worst book publishing company in America. I said, what? [David laughing] He said, I’m John Kirbin, I’m the editor and publisher of the worst book company in America. [00:18:00] I said, explain please. He said you sent us a manuscript about a year and a half ago, didn’t you? And I said, yes. He said, you never heard from us, did you? No. He said it was Labor Day weekend, last weekend. So I grabbed an armful of stuff to read on the train. And somehow your manuscript was underneath all these other manuscripts, and there I am reading it on the train, going home for Labor Day weekend. He says, wow, your book is great! He said, I’m sending you a check for $1,000 and we’ll be publishing you in about three months. I fell off the chair, and I hit my head on the wall, David. I thought my career was over, and here it had not just begun.
David Hirsch: Yeah, thanks for sharing. I love the backstory. The eighth book is After Your Loved One Dies.
Medard Laz: Again, I think they’re little short stories like a Chicken Soup book. I just [00:19:00] tell a little story and then reflect on it. Not just the story, but then a reflection in that spiritual growth environment.
David Hirsch: Excellent. And the last book, the ninth, is Making Parish Meetings Work.
Medard Laz: Yeah I think anybody who’s been involved with a church and is going to meetings on a parish council or finance committee or whatever it is, women’s groups, men’s groups and the like, I find those often enough to be very frustrating. Yeah, I tried to say, how do you make a parish meeting work? What are some of the rules that I see violated week in and week out, month in and month out? And so it tries to really highlight that, hey, if you don’t have enough on the agenda that has some meat to it, and there’s only going to… Cancel the doggone meeting! Don’t meet! People are frustrated, they showed up and you don’t have a real agenda that’s got some teeth in it. And of course, it’s a whole new world today with Zoom that so many meetings are not physically in person. A lot of parish meetings are online. But I still think that some of the principles in [00:20:00] that book will hold true in terms of online.
Tom Couch: We’ll be back with more of the conversation on the Special Fathers Network Dad to Dad podcast in just a few moments. But first, this quick message. Please help 21st Century Dads gather research on families raising children with special needs by having them complete the Special Fathers Network Early Intervention Parents Survey. A link to the survey can be found in the show notes. As a token of our appreciation, each person, mom or dad, who completes the survey will receive a Great Dad Coin. Thank you. Now, back to the conversation.
David Hirsch: We’ve talked about the not-for-profit organizations, we’ve talked about your books, and I think one of the more consequential things that you’ve done, tangible things that you’ve done here in the northwest suburbs, is to be the founding pastor at Holy Family Church in Inverness. And I’m wondering briefly, what’s the backstory on that?
Medard Laz: When I was in the city of Chicago, one of the Religious Ed [00:21:00] people their daughter was dating a young man who was involved with Sun City, which became Willow Creek, a church. And Willow Creek has become one of the largest interdenominational churches in the country, in Barrington, Illinois. And over the course of, say, 40 years ago, lots and lots of people from the northern suburbs and all over Chicagoland were going to Willow Creek. And of course many, many of those had been baptized as Catholics. And when I did a presentation to the priest personnel board in Chicago, one of the things that I stressed was that I had an awful lot of knowledge about Willow Creek through our religious head director in the parish. And that if they were looking for a parish that was willing to experiment, not just same old, same old kind of things on Sunday – that we do a skit, the music would be upbeat and the like. And when I made that presentation, lo and behold I was the founding [00:22:00] pastor then of Holy Family.
And I think it is a parish that’s quite different. The Sunday liturgy mass is very alive. We used to, way back when 40 years ago, we were doing audio visuals during the mass. We’d have little skits before the homily would start. A mother would be on one end of the altar and she’d be on the phone, and her daughter would be on the other end. This is long before cell phones, let alone smartphones. And the two of them would get into it, and really get into a situation. And then I’d come out and I’d really reflect on that.
I remember we had two men in the parish. One of them looked like Gorbachev, and the other one looked like Reagan. They were spitting images, really. And so when Reagan and Gorbachev were going through their detente and things like that, we had the two of them come out and go through some things. It was really interesting. Again, as Willow Creek does, to really center on what people are going [00:23:00] through, that the Mass is relevant, that it’s applicable, it’s not same old, same old.
And I think, yes, we’re a liturgy, and yes, we keep all the parts of the Mass intact, but we try to do some wonderful things with them, especially where we can in terms of themes, in terms of music, in terms of audio visual. And Religious Ed for the kids is very much upbeat and uplifting sort of a thing.
The academy there at Holy Family is one of the finest in the country. It wins all kinds of awards year in and year out, and people have been very, very, supportive. It’s often ranked amongst the top parishes in the country in terms of ability to, not only to attract people, but to have people see their faith and see Christianity in a whole different light.
And in terms of the ministry to the divorced, to the widowed, to gays, separated, divorced, umemployed and on and [00:24:00] on. Would you believe we’ve had an unemployed group that’s met on Saturday morning, almost every Saturday for 40 years? And it’s got a support group for widows, support group for the divorced and the like. And then the small Christian communities that Willow Creek and many successful Christian parishes around the world have.
David Hirsch: I’m totally inspired by the breadth of work that you’ve done. And I think it’s one of the things that has attracted me to the work that you’ve done in our 20-year relationship is that if… One of my ways of thinking about this is if all you knew about Father Medard Laz was that he’s a Catholic priest, then you really don’t know Father Medard Laz because there’s so much more to the story. And I want to just thank you for going into the detail that you have about your own background, about the not-for-profit organizations that you’ve had such an influence over,[00:25:00] the writings. And then I think one of your most consequential accomplishments was creating this Holy Family Church in Inverness.
And I’m thinking about advice now, and I’m wondering, what advice can you offer parents, and particularly parents who are raising children with special health care needs or disability?
Medard Laz: What comes to mind, David, is Suzy Yale and I, oh, close to 40 years ago, we took a group of teenagers. There was a conference for teens and the like out in Denver. And so we took the train out. [chuckling] Never do that again. We were pulled over how many times to let other trains go through or things like that. It took an ungodly amount of hours to get out there to Denver with a whole group of teenagers who had been involved with our weekends for kids and single parent homes.
And one of the speakers [00:26:00] said something that really touched me and has really stayed with me all these years. He was a speaker who had spent his adult life going around to high schools and junior high schools and talking to kids. He’d give presentations to kids in the gym, two, three, four, 500 kids assemblies. And so he was just making one unbelievable point after another. But what I remember most of all is when he said that one thing that he started doing, and he’d been doing for years, is that he would pass out just a little piece of paper and a pencil, and he’d say to the kids if there was one question that you could ask your mom or dad, what would that one question be?
And so then he’d collect all of these, and a little bit later he’d read them before an upcoming talk that he gave to that assembly. And he’d try and focus on some of those questions that the kids had written. But he said that the two main [00:27:00] questions that he got more than any other of the questions was, question number one, Mom and Dad, do you really love me? And then the second most asked question that was not far behind was, Mom and Dad, did you really want to have me?
And wow, I’ve reflected on that. I think so many parents, so many of us adults just assume that our kids are busy, they’re going to school, they’re on their smartphones, that they feel loved. That there’s no doubt in their mind that they are loved. And the second question, did you really want to have me? Do your kids really know? Not because, yes, obviously to tell them, but do they really know by the behavior? Here we are, the end of summer, beginning of September or whatever. We had this [00:28:00] fabulous vacation, huh? The family did, all five of us. We did this, we did that, we went here, we went to Disney World. We had this fabulous vacation. I think with a lot of parents, a lot of us adults, we say, what do you mean? I think that, David, might be one that we really need to investigate. Just because we go down to Disney World and spend two, three, four thousand dollars, there’s more to it. I think we really need to look at our lives and see what is it that we need to do behaviorally and with our attitudes, in terms of our kids grieving when they hit that pillow every night? They feel like they are a loved child.
One of the families that did shake me when I was telling my early stories, the Kiefs. I remember, again, this is almost 50 years ago. It was a large family. There were about, oh, I think 10 brothers and sisters who are now all adults. And as I was going around after one of the [00:29:00] baptisms and one of the Kiefs said to me, brothers and sisters of about I think 12 in the family. And they said, if you went up to any one of us and you said, who does mom and dad love the most? He said, I know without batting an eyelash, every one of them would say me. [David laughing] With 12 kids, mom or dad found that five minutes going to a baseball game or out to ice cream, that five minutes alone with that child in the car, that child got out of the car knowing that they were loved. Not just disciplined, but was loved and really wanted as a human being. That to me is the goal of family living in terms of kids.
David Hirsch: Yeah, thanks for sharing. Two very provocative questions, directed at mom and dad. Do you really love me? And did you really want me? And I think with the work that we [00:30:00] do, primarily with dads, families raising children with special needs, that has to go through the minds of their children, particularly the children who are the atypical ones and maybe comparing themselves to their typical siblings. Do my parents love me the same as they love the other kids, my siblings? And knowing everything that you know now about the challenges that you’ve encountered as that young person with a disability, did my parents really want me? Thank you for sharing.
Medard Laz: You got time for one more story?
David Hirsch: Sure.
Medard Laz: Okay. I remember in my first assignment, one of the families that we had was just, again, a spectacular family. There was about I think five kids. They were gonna have another child. They were all looking forward to this new baby. The baby is born and it’s a spina bifida. And so this was a total surprise. No amniocentesis or anything had given them a [00:31:00] clue. So I remember going to the hospital that day. Judy was the mother’s name. And I’m saying to myself, oh boy, I’m so close to this family. I love all those little ones that they got. The mom and dad are so special to me. What am I going to say when I walk into that room? So I walk into the room, and just not knowing where this is going to go. And there’s Judy. And she’s been nursing the baby and the baby’s in a blanket. And she sees me coming in and she just lights up like a Christmas tree, Judy’s face. And she holds up Catherine, her newborn. And she says, Father Laz, Catherine is so different than all of our other children. But Catherine is going to give us so much more love than all of our other children give us. [00:32:00] Here, hold Catherine, please. Again, that just blew me away in the sense of Catherine is so different than all of our other children, but she’s so special because she’s gonna give us so much more love than all of our other children.
David Hirsch: Very powerful. Thank you so much for sharing. It brings tears to my eyes as you recount that story in the hospital. It’s palpable. If somebody wants to learn more about your work, your books, or to contact you, what’s the best way to do that?
Medard Laz: I’m not shy with giving out my email address. I love to be inundated. It’s my full name: MedardLaz@aol.com. You’re certainly welcome to go to my website: TreatsForTheSoul.org but I [00:33:00] don’t really check that Google address too often. So go to my regular website, MedardLaz@aol.com.
David Hirsch: Okay. I’ll be sure to include the email address, links to each of the not-for-profits, links to each of the books, the ones that are available online as well as the ones that are free from a PDF version as well. Med, thank you for the time and many insights. As a reminder, Med is just one of the individuals who’s an advocate for the Special Fathers Network, a mentoring program for fathers raising a child with special needs. If you’d like to be a mentor father or are seeking advice from a mentor father with a similar situation to your own, please go to 21stCenturyDads.org.
Thank you for listening to the latest episode of the Special Fathers Network Dad to Dad Podcast. I hope you enjoyed the conversation as much as I did. As you probably know, the 21st Century Dads Foundation is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization, which means we need your help to keep our content free to all concerned. Would you please [00:34:00] consider making a tax-deductible contribution? I would really appreciate your support. Med, thanks again.
Medard Laz: Thank you, David. It’s been a pleasure.
Tom Couch: And thank you for listening to the Special Fathers Network Dad to Dad Podcast. The Special Fathers 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 match up with mentor fathers in a similar situation. It’s a great way for dads to support other dads. To find out more, go to 21stCenturyDads.org.
David Hirsch: And if you’re a dad looking for help or would 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.” Lastly, we’re always looking to share interesting stories. If you’d like to share your story or know of a compelling story, please send an email to David@21stCenturyDads.org.
Tom Couch: The Special Fathers Network Dad [00:35:00] to Dad Podcast was produced by me, Tom Couch.
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.