Act 2: You're On!

Success Despite Huge Obstacles, Author Paul Lamar Hunter

June 09, 2022 Kate & Rhonda Season 2 Episode 2
Act 2: You're On!
Success Despite Huge Obstacles, Author Paul Lamar Hunter
Show Notes Transcript

Who doesn’t like a success story? Well, Paul Lamar Hunter is the embodiment of our mission you hear in the opening real of Act Two You’re On! He's a changemaker - someone committed to personal and societal growth. And he's just a very inspiring gentleman. Can you imagine facing down the odds of surviving poverty, neglect and trauma and having the wherewithal to become the first person in the history of your family ever to go to college? Could you then become a successful businessman and publish your story and have the courage and willpower and drive to inspire others to do the same?

Paul Lamar Hunter is the 19th of 21 children born to James and Louise Hunter. His childhood experience included poverty, neglect and tragedy. After the deaths of his father and brother, Paul's mother, Louise, focused her energy on the homeless shelter she founded called Love and Charity Shelter. Though this was meant to be a stabilizing influence for her family and a respite for the downtrodden, it was in fact a breeding ground of dysfunction. A determined spirit and an unshakable faith lifted Paul to earn a degree in business administration from upper Iowa University. Father to four adult children, Paul wrote his autobiography entitled, No love, No Charity: The Success of the 19th Child. The book earned attention by Ebony Magazine, and he has appeared on several television shows, including Travis Smiley, Tom Joyner, and Fox and Friends and now he's honoring the Act 2: You’re On studio.

Highlights include:

“I think that parents need to understand that they are parents, and they are not their children’s friends. I saw it in my own family, even as a father myself. You cannot say, "I like this daughter or that son better than this daughter." You can't play favorites. You must have structure. You must have discipline. You must be loving. You must be caring and you must have boundaries as parents.”

“I have to say this, that it was just great men and women that were in my life, you know. I thank God for great pastors, great women that were - you know, instrumental into developing me as a man and also telling me that they believed in me. And when you come from the inner city, there's only one direction you can go. So when I was at upper Iowa University, I knew that I represented the inner city. And I knew there was only one direction I could go. And that was up. And so I really do thank God for good mentors coming into my life.”

“And there's nothing wrong with talking to a psychologist and let them know what type of background that you come from and what you had experienced in your life. So the book was very cathartic for me, because it relieved a lot of pain and a lot of anger. And it worked.”

“I wish I would have known that the end is always better than the beginning. So I want to close with these words, and encourage young people or all people to understand that the end is always better than the beginning. That you are not pitiful. You are powerful. You are extraordinary. You are bright, you are beautiful. You are intelligent. Now, go out and manifest all of your dreams. You can change the world.”

Find more information on Paul at his website: https://www.paullamarhunter.com/
Twitter: @PaulLamarHunter
Facebook: Paul Lamar Hunter
Instagram: PAULLAMARHUNTER
TikTok: PLH19



Support the show
Rhonda: Welcome to Act 2:

You're On!. Join Us Weekly at our studio roundtable as Rhonda

Kate:

and Kate invite spectacular guests to weigh in on staying vibrant and healthy.

Rhonda:

Launch your next great app with authenticity and purpose

Kate:

Summon your courage superstar and step into the limelight. So grab a coffee

Rhonda:

or a martini

Kate:

and let's set the stage for a grand entrance. It's Act Two...

Rhonda:

You're on.

Kate:

Greetings friends and welcome I'm Kate Leavey. And I'm joined here today by my dear A2YO co host.

Rhonda:

Hi, Kate. It's me, Rhonda Garvin Conaway, and we are not alone. We are also joined by the third member of our team, our talented producer, Cathy cars. Well,

Kate:

friends, I am so honored to be speaking to our guest today, Paul Lamar Hunter. This will be a remarkable but a very hard story for us and for our listeners to experience because I know it was hard for Paul to live. When you meet Paul, in just a moment, you'll find that Paul is the embodiment of our mission you hear in the opening real: He's a change maker for sure - someone committed to personal and societal growth. And he's just a very inspiring gentleman. To our listeners: Can you imagine facing down the odds of surviving poverty, neglect and trauma and have the wherewithal to become the first person in the history of your family ever to go to college? Could you then become a successful businessman and publish your story and have the courage willpower and drive to inspire others to do the same? Well, let me tell you a little bit about our guest today. Paul Lamar Hunter was born into a large family in Racine, Wisconsin, in 1978. And when I say large, I mean huge. Paul is the 19th of 21 children born to James and Louise Hunter. His childhood experience included poverty, neglect and tragedy. After the deaths of his father and brother, Paul's mother, Louise, focused her energy on the homeless shelter she founded called Love and Charity Shelter, though this was meant to be a stabilizing influence for her family and a respite for the downtrodden. It was in fact a breeding ground of dysfunction. A determined spirit and an unshakable faith lifted Paul to earn a degree in business administration from upper Iowa University father to four adult children. Paul wrote his autobiography entitled No Love.

No Charity:

The Success of the 19th Child, the book earned attention by Ebony Magazine, and he has appeared on several television shows, including Travis smiley, Tom Joyner, and Fox and Friends and now he's honoring the act to your own studio. Welcome, Paul.

Paul Lamar Hunter:

I am excited and delighted to be on your show, because I know that m.y story will inspire, motivate, entertain people all around the world.

Kate:

Oh, absolutely. So let's dive right into your book. As I said, it's not an easy story. It's a remarkable story. But it's a hard story for you to have lived but hard, I suspect for your family to have digested when you publish it and for your mother to have read. Why write this book? What inspired you?

Paul Lamar Hunter:

I think what really inspired me to write the book is because I know in my heart at that particular time, there were other children, other people that were in the inner-city, or what you might call the hood, or the ghetto, but it was a lot of people in their inner-city that had some great story. And I wanted to share my bad parts of growing up in a family of 20 siblings and the good parts about being raised in a family of 20 siblings. So, my book, No Love.

No Charity:

The Success of the 19th Child, is a remedy book. It will really change parents to say: You know what, I have to change my paradigm. I have to change those old beliefs and, and adapt new beliefs into my parenting style. So the book, it's, it's been adapted into a screenplay at this particular time. We are closing in on the movie deal with some amazing people that I negotiating with him and having fun, having a conversation and just sharing my personal story of success inside my book and a lot of movie producers that read my book, can't believe that I'm still alive to tell the story today.

Rhonda:

Okay, I already have five questions. But let me let me jump into the first one. I think the word ADAPT is super powerful, especially in the context in which you just used it. So I wonder - What should parents be doing? Well, how do

we make a change. Act 2:

You're on? We have this platform to say okay, it's time for us to create change, be in a state of change, welcome change. What is it that would be be the difference for folks, what would you say to people

Paul Lamar Hunter:

I think that parents need to understand that, that they are parents, and they are not their children, friends. I saw it in my own family, even as a father myself. You cannot say, "I like this daughter or that son better than this daughter." You can't play favorites. You must have structure. You must have discipline. You must be loving. You must be caring and you must have boundaries as parents.

Rhonda:

With that in mind, you had your own experience. You were the 19th. What? What made your experience particularly distinguishable being number 19th of your clan,

Paul Lamar Hunter:

I have to say this that when I was born, I just knew that I was very different from my other siblings. I've never got involved with drugs or alcohol. I learned from my older siblings what to do and what not to do. And so at a young age, I knew that, that I was going to write a book, I knew that I was going to do something that people will say he couldn't do it. But now they say, "Wow, he did do it." I knew that I was going to change people's lives because my family lineage says that I could not graduate from college because my mom never graduated college. My family lineage also indicated that I couldn't graduate college because no one on my dad's side, graduated college. So I looked at history of the Hunter family. And I said, why I cannot become the first? So, I became the first to graduate and graduate from college Upper Iowa University with a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration, business administration. And let me say this, yes, it's a little different than the 19th child. Because there are certain things that you don't do that your siblings do. I'm a very optimistic person. And I believe that if you surround yourself with great women and men, you can become productive in life.

Rhonda:

Those are distinguishing qualities. And I'm right there with you with the positive thinking that's definitely shining through as you share your experience.

Kate:

I'm just caught up thinking about what it must have been like to have 20 siblings, like, I can't imagine knowing all their names. I would have been like, "Hey, you, Hey, little cousin." But that's like, that's a big, beautiful family. And I'm sure that you opened the gates then for a lot of kids to, you know, follow in your footsteps to go on to college. And that's it's amazing to be the trailblazer.

Paul Lamar Hunter:

Well, you got to understand also is that I laid the foundation, that's the most important thing. I laid the foundation. I thank God for my mother, I thank God for my father. They weren't perfect parents, but they were the perfect parents to raise us. You know, even though we experienced the bad times, and the good times, but the good times always outweighed the bad times. I laid the foundation, not only for my family, but people all around the world. Now I have nieces and nephews and cousins and relatives and friends that have read my book, and they got inspired. They get motivated, and they went back to college and graduated and they have their degrees. I always say this, that the end is always better than the beginning.

Kate:

Spoken like an optimist for sure. To take you back into the story a little bit. Your brother dies in 1976 Your father died in 1977. You're eight at the time. Can you share with us how your family survived that loss and what life was like after that?

Paul Lamar Hunter:

I tell you what - those back to back adversities really shut the Hunter family to the core, if it weren't for our faith, if it weren't from the for the people in the community. And I'm talking about activist people in the churches, pastors, evangelicals, good Christian men and women coming over to the Hunter family house. I wouldn't be here today. I just wouldn't be here today. And I thank God for bringing those people into the Hunter family life because what they did was they added prayer to our life. And not only prayer, but good friendship. And they helped develop a lot of my siblings and also helped develop me as a person,

Kate:

The power of community. And now I want to jump forward a little bit you were saying that your story is been turned into a screenplay because is the most amazing story like Hollywood could couldn't actually write it because it could only be true. The story is so intense. Did you adapt it to a screenplay? Or was it adapted for you? What's, what's the process

Paul Lamar Hunter:

The process was this - when, when I graduated college, I knew that this book was going to change people's lives. And I knew that I had to collaborate with other people to get the screen play done. So we were able to get the screenplay done. And that was in 2012. And so years went on, years went on, and I'm still trying to pitch it and pitch it and pitch it. But the pandemic habit, and when the pandemic happened, doors began to open up for me now, Hollywood, New York City, they had to sit back and a lot of those movie producers and directors had to sit at home. And then they had an opportunity to come up. And they became very creative about submitting screenplays. So what I did, I submitted it, and they loved it right away, they loved it right away. So I received an email within a month. And they said, we are going to write the marketing page pitch for other producers and see if they would like to come on board. And so like I said, we are in the final stages of finishing up things. And I'm looking forward to 2022. Because I know that it's going to be a great movie. And it's going to be exciting. And it's going to be truthful and it's going to impact people lives all around the world.

Rhonda:

It's so interesting, as you share your story, I feel like you have such a sense of self. And you, yourself said that you've had this since you were young, that you knew there was something different about you. And then this vision to go on to college, it could have been really easy for you not to incorporate that into your world. It wasn't something that had been part of your family, but you relied on an optimism you relied on the community coming forward. And those people How did you keep who you were in the midst of pain in the midst of mourning in the midst of grief in the midst of hardship? How do you hold on to you

Paul Lamar Hunter:

I have to say this, that it was just great men and women that was in my life, you know, I thank God for past pastors, great women that was - you know, instrumental into developing me as a man and also telling me that they believed in me. And when you come from the inner city, there's only one direction you can go. So when I was at upper Iowa University, I knew that I represented the inner city. And I knew there was only one direction I could go. And that was that was up. And so I really do thank God for good mentors coming into my life. And I was able to talk with counselors with psychologists. And I thank God to this day for Vivica A Fox, Dr. Field as well. They were very instrumental in and making sure that I get the help that I needed as a person. And there's nothing wrong with talking to a psychologist and let them know what type of background that you come from and what you had experienced in your life. So the book was very cathartic for me, because it relieved a lot of pain and a lot of anger. And it worked. But what it did, it brought the best out of me. And so there was things that I thought I couldn't do. But I ended up doing it.

Rhonda:

Love that.

Kate:

So many good things in there.

Rhonda:

When you do this thing that you think you're doing it for one reason, then it ends up affording you an opportunity to heal, and learn and find a pathway forward. That's pretty remarkable.

Kate:

So you there's a book about your mom and her humanitarian work. And when you started to write your book, did you consider yourself a writer? Or did you just have this compulsion? Like, I have got to write my version of this story.

Paul Lamar Hunter:

I just wanted to write my version of the story. Like I stated that my mom was not perfect, but she was the perfect person that God created to birth 21 children so if you ever do the math, you will discover that my mom stayed pregnant for 15 years and nine months. So she won more championships than Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal. You know, she won more Super Bowls. She won more Super Bowls. Then, Tom Brady, Joe Montana. You know, I consider her a winner. So she wasn't perfect, but she was a winner.

Rhonda:

I hear that. I know what I love also that you're talking about, you're talking about resources, right? The resources we have and people in our community going to professionals if that's what is going to be something that helps you access healing, or better understanding of yourself or what you want to do in the future. Let's talk about this other thing, money.

Act 2:

You're On! You have gone through many acts in your life to arrive at this one moment, and I'm thinking about our audience and hardships, people have experienced themselves. We have these resources in the people that we love, in our educational opportunities. But there's the reality of the world we live in, right - that we have to pay for things. And you admittedly came from a place where financially your resources were limited. Tell us how you filled in that gap. And what that looks like, help us to understand your story. So maybe could help some of our listeners out there,

Paul Lamar Hunter:

Well, a lot of my resources that are used came from the community, nonprofit organizations, there are some great nonprofit organizations out there, you can also call 211, from your cell phone or your home phone, and then you'll be able to speak with arepresentative of 211. And they can guide to where you can go and get the free resources that are that are available in the community. And so people need to take advantage of that you can't be afraid, if you are hurting, you have pain, one day, you might take it out on somebody else. Call 211 and say, "Hey, I need some help." Even if you are suicidal, you can still call 211. You can call 211 for food for four, "hey, I need rental assistant, you need to take advantage of the resources that are available in your community.

Kate:

And thank you for modeling that. And there's often a stigma about seeking therapy or help or ever saying: I'm suffering, that is not weakness, that's actually strength. Because it actually implies that you want to get better, but there's no way to manage what you went through on your own. You weren't alone. But you were also in a family that was struggling and suffering. And it does take people outside of the family to come in and to be the resource. And I think it's really brave to share that vulnerability. Your whole book is brave, that is really important. We're living through a time oh my gosh, it's challenging on so many levels. But there are huge mental health issues right now. And there's no shame - there's only strength that will come from facing me things. But sometimes it's just so hard, you cannot possibly face it on your own. So thank you for - thank you for modeling that. And that's important work. And you've got an amazing life story. But you've also got an amazing mission to get other people inspired to tell your story that might give other people an opportunity to say, "I need to write down what I'm going through." You were saying that the writing of this book was cathartic. The reading of this book can be cathartic for people. And it just takes a tremendous strength of character and personal faith. But I'm not surprised that you got a quick email back. I don't think that ever happens in a month's time. People respond to that like, alright, this is incredible. We know good things are coming. We can't wait. We'll check back in with you too to hear how it is all going. But we're at this point in our conversation where we ask for a golden nugget. And it sometimes seems impossible. Like could there be more wisdom that you could offer but if there's something that you can offer to our listeners, from your life experience or something that you wish you'd known when you were coming up, if you could offer that to our folks.

Paul Lamar Hunter:

I wish I would have known that the end is always better than the beginning. So I want to close with with with these words, and encourage young people or all people to understand that the end is always better than the beginning. That you are not pitiful. You are powerful. You are extraordinary. You are bright, you are beautiful. You are intelligent. Now go out and manifest all of your dreams. You can change the world.

Kate:

Beautiful and boy...

Rhonda:

I raise my mug to that

Kate:

Absolutely.But you know what occurs to me your title, no love, no charity, the success of the 19th child. But your title is better than it's like it's the hope of the success of the 19th child. That's That's a great story. Can't wait to see it on the big screen.

Rhonda:

And I don't think the story is over. So our podcast almost is I am regrettably the one to say we're coming to a close, but your story is not over. Tell us what what's coming next, Paul?

Paul Lamar Hunter:

Well, what's coming next is that I will be making appearances on the Nick Cannon show in the next couple of months. Kelly Clarkson so and then I'm going back on the road because I love to go to the Boys and Girls Club and share my personal story of success.

Rhonda:

Well, that's the best part. I think I've heard I want to see the movie. I want all of it. But the fact that you'll have face to face in person time with those young people, that's everything.

Kate:

Yeah. Thank you, Paul, for joining us for today, but also for the good stuff you're doing for the world. We're grateful for the conversation and the incredible wisdom that you have shared. So thank you so much for making time for us.

Paul Lamar Hunter:

Hey, thank you for having me on. I really appreciate it.

Rhonda:

Special thanks, of course, to our talented and skilled production partner, Cathy Carswell behind the scenes. You can learn more about Paul at his website, Paullamarhunter.com.

Kate:

Absolutely. And so it's left to me to say go forth. Be brave like Paul - live well and do good because it's act two,

Rhonda:

you're on.

Kate:

Act Two you're on was brought to you by act 2 Share our stage. You can find us at eight two y o.com and also on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Rhonda:

Please download listen and subscribe. Wherever you find your podcast. You can support us using Patreon or buy us a coffee .

Kate:

I do like coffee.

Rhonda:

No no, you don't need any more caffeine gate. Bias a coffee is a platform that folks can use to support entrepreneurs and artists like us

Kate:

so we can keep providing resources for the doers and dreamers to find connection, purpose and the skills needed to create a sustainable, fulfilling life to better serve the world. And also so we can buy more coffee.

Rhonda:

Oh Kate, thanks for listening everyone.