The surface doesn’t always reflect what is really deep underneath. Truth: we don’t know what experiences someone brings to the table when we meet them. Nothing more real can be said about Larry Hagner’s story than that. To meet Larry, one would not know, first hand, his tumultuous childhood.
Raised by a single mom, Larry’s father left the picture when he was nine months old. After this, Larry recalls his adopted father entering his life at the age of 4, hence the name Hagner, as a good person who drank a lot. This same scenario would continue with the other men Larry would know as significant male figures as a child. Struggling internally with the fact that he did not really know his biological father, Larry finally had the chance at the age of 12. Unfortunately, this exchange did not have the positive result Larry had hoped for.
Hitting rock bottom at the young age of twelve
Larry’s experience meeting his biological father sent him into a tail-spin: he failed 8th grade (straight F’s-that’s hard to do!) and continued to gain weight. In another life scenario that could have gone completely wrong, Larry had the fortitude to turn it around. This time, one of his mom’s husbands, a former bodybuilder, businessman and abusive alcoholic, asked him if “he was sick and tired of being a fat ***” (sorry, it’s a family show). With that, Larry started working out early in the mornings and eating better. Losing weight and becoming more fit in high school, Larry’s self-esteem sky-rocketed. This confidence echoed and continued into college. Again, Larry took the positive he could find in a truly negative situation.
Behind every great man, there is a wonderful, amazing, strong women shaking their head and laughing
After meeting his beautiful wife, Jessica, at college (you’ve got to listen to the podcast for this story-it’s a riot), Larry ventured on to begin a family of his own. Only, it terrified him. Larry was so afraid that because of his own tumultuous experiences with father figures, that he had no clue how to be a father himself. He entered his first foray into fatherhood with trepidation: he became distant from his new son. After a heart-to-heart with Jess, Larry knew things had to change. He had to learn to get past his past. (Of course, three kids later, he’s got this dad thing down!)
The creation of the Good Dad Project came from hitting the bottom
It was this, as well as one final incident in which he lost his temper with his then 3-year-old son, that The Good Dad Project was born. Larry wanted a way to connect with other dads who felt the struggle between being a good man and being a great dad. This project spread like wildfire; delivering listeners and readers from all walks of life a place to share their struggles and their triumphs. Lesson: our experiences do not have to define us. We choose what we want to keep from our past and what we wish to discard.
Some questions we ask:
When he hears the word successful, who’s the first person that comes to mind and why?
What does success mean to him? How has that answer changed over the years?
What experiences led Larry to where he is today?
Who was Larry’s role model and why?
Does Larry see his tumultuous childhood as a positive or a negative?
How do teach your children lessons you’ve learned without having them experience the trauma and negativity?
What are the top three things Larry has learned through the Good Dad Project?
If Larry could have dinner with someone who inspired him, past or present, who would it be and why?
What you’ll learn in this episode:
Larry’s childhood, dealing with his parents’ divorce, and the relationship with his stepfather.
Having toxic father figures throughout his life.
Finally meeting his biological father and discussing their current relationship.
“My life definitely isn’t sunshine and rainbows when it comes to being a father, I still learn.”
Larry talks about his relationship with his grandfather and why he was a role model.
“The only person who can change my mentality is me.”
Experiencing anxiety and depression because of sleep depravation.
The importance of letting your children fail forward, and communicating with them about that.
“Be the man we want to be by leading others that way.”
“Ask for help and dig into a tribe.”
The Good Dad Project: http://gooddadproject.com/
The Good Dad Project Alliance: gooddadproject.com/alliance
The Good Dad Project Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheGoodDadProject/
The Good Dad Project Podcast: http://gooddadproject.com/podcast
Eric Davis: http://gooddadproject.com/tag/eric-davis/
Chris Sajnog: http://gooddadproject.com/chris-sajnog/
Frankie Edgar: http://gooddadproject.com/frankie-edgar/
Charlie the Spaniard: http://gooddadproject.com/tag/the-spaniard/
Larry Yatch: http://gooddadproject.com/tag/larry-yatch/
Aaron Walker on Sweet Adversity: http://www.nickdinardo.com/aaron_walker2/