Episode 13 - Herb Larsen - On Grit & Sacrifice

Herb Larsen (00:00):
I don't believe that people need to go to the best school in the world when I'm hiring someone. I want someone who's teachable. What we want for our children are things that we perhaps missed out on. Or you didn't wanna repeat with your own kid.

Young Han (00:24):
Hey guys, I'm young, a full-time dad and a full-time professional with the goal to become the best parent possible. The girl dad show is my journey interviewing fellow working parents aspiring to be both good at work and parenting. I'm gonna do this by gathering and sharing unfiltered perspectives for my guest. So join me as I research parenthood one interview at a time today's episode of the grilled ad show is sponsored by something I'm very passionate about coffee. Bluejean coffee brings sophisticated coffee brewing straight into your home. Delivering an elevated coffee experience all without having to make a trip to a cafe. These source their specialty beans directly from farmers all around the world and roast them in small batches. Just for your order. Are you ready to upgrade your home brewing experience? Blue Jean coffee is offering a special deal just for my listeners. Really good. Visit BlueJean coffee.com forge slash T G D S to get 10% off your first order of BlueJean coffee.

Young Han (01:34):
Hey Irv. Thank you so much for joining me today on my podcast. I really appreciate you taking the time.

Herb Larsen (01:40):
Absolutely. Oh, I've been looking forward to this and it's good to see your young smiling face.

Young Han (01:48):
You had to start with the dad joke. I love it right with the pun just right away. Yeah. It's really great to have you here. And I'd love, I'm really, really excited about introducing you to all the listeners and would love for you to start by just kind of sharing who you are and what do you do?

Herb Larsen (02:02):
Sure, sure. Well, I've just recently retired. I'm turning 66 in September and wanted to continue to enjoy life. And so I've worked as a professional in the building construction products industry as a sales engineer for over 40 years. So 43 years, 44 years, actually not I think about it. And so, so I'm currently retired just over the last couple months and enjoying life, enjoying kids, grandkids, and all the special projects I'm working on.

Young Han (02:37):
I didn't know. You retired that. Tell us a little bit about how you got into your career. What led you to being in this space and just kind of quickly walk us through your professional journey?

Herb Larsen (02:52):
Sure, absolutely. When I was graduating high school, I took a job with a company called Southwestern company and it was selling books door to door in a different part of the country. So really it, I earned my way through college knocking on doors, selling books during the summer months. Now <laugh>, as I went to to college at Idaho state university, I ended up getting an engineering degree and when I got out of school and got into engineering, I found out that bonehead engineering wasn't really for me, that I really loved the sales side, which is why I went back to tell that little story about sales management with the Southwestern company. And so I actually turned it more into a sales engineering role. So I did sales engineering for 44 years in the building construction products industry.

Young Han (03:50):
I didn't know you had an engineering degree. That's great. And I love that you figured that out about yourself. What, like what, what prompted that? What were the major differences that prompted that discovery for yourself?

Herb Larsen (04:00):
I started out thinking that I wanted to be an architect mm-hmm when I was in college and I really couldn't draw very well. And I thought that that was really a requirement. The funny part is, is that when I got out of, out of school and started working with architects on a daily basis, I realized most of them can't draw either. So here I was, instead of being an architect, I was an engineer talking to architects. And so, you know, I'm a, I'm a firm believer that God has a plan in our lives. And he was able to take that educational and experience that I had selling books even to door, to door, very tough school of hard knocks that's right. And, and converted into something that would be fulfilling for me personally. And would also be something that, you know, we'll talk a little bit later would be a real blessing for the family as well.

Young Han (04:56):
Yeah. Wow. That's awesome. Thank you for sharing about that. I don't know if this, even if you have something like this, but I'm still gonna ask it like as a newly minted retiree. Are there any big projects that you're working on?

Herb Larsen (05:07):
Right now? Oh my gosh. I am so busy. I dunno how I found, I don't know how I found time to work. Actually. I, I actually have probably too many interests and so I need to start pairing them back where there other people have just the opposite problem. They have, they define themselves by their career and then they realize that, wow, I have no other interest. And so they kick the bucket in a pretty short period of time. I'm, I'm just the opposite. I've had a, just an incredible life, incredible family. And so now I'm working on a variety of projects. I'm working, I'm a vice president of the lions club lions premier club here in San Diego. So I've been working with that. That is just a very small amount of time, but it's still important. It's giving back, giving back something

Young Han (06:05):
Great organization.

Herb Larsen (06:07):
I've also been working, actually joined at the request of my wife, the Powerway valley garden club, because I'm huge into growing succulent. We have about three quarters of an acre. And I, I mean, this place literally looks like some Gar the garden of Eden. Oh wow. This paradises side of heaven, right? Yeah.

Young Han (06:29):
My wife. Love to hear that. Yeah. She's, that's what she wants to do here. That's awesome. Yeah.

Herb Larsen (06:34):
I'll show Amy some pictures in a video and she'll say, oh my, my gosh, we're moving back to California. Yeah.

Young Han (06:40):
Well we gotta just visit in general. I don't think I've seen you since, like, I don't know. It's been probably over a decade, but yeah. We'll get into that in a minute. Yeah. Cause you're definitely a special guest. You're, you're very, very special TV and a very special and unique guest, so yeah. But so that's awesome. So you're just keeping yourself busy with a lot of these passion projects, hobby projects that have turned into like your now your day to day. It's

Herb Larsen (07:01):
Fantastic. I mean, I could go on with lots of other ones. I mean, golfing, playing music, playing guitar. I'm working on these old 1930s and 1940s radios that nice. It's just so, so there's all sorts of things that I'm working on and I'm not bored.

Young Han (07:19):
Retirement sounds great. I gotta get, I gotta get there. That sounds awesome. so let's get into it actually. Cuz I'm like super excited to talk to you about this and the moment you said, yeah, let's set something up. I was like, this is great. I'm like, what do I call you? Because I think I need to share with the listeners and, I'll kind of be able to curtain why I'm so excited about talking to you. You're the father of my best friend growing up. And so it's just a really funny thing to be doing this interview on you about being a dad, because in some ways you were my second dad, it, it, a lot of ways. It all T through high school and through our formative years, you were a there for me. And it's kind of fun to like talk to you now as a, as a father, myself and, and, and as an adult, because you were a big part of my, my childhood. And so with that, I'd love for you to start sharing with us and the listeners here about your kids. Cause I know you have quite a few kids and I'd love for everyone to know that. And then we can kind of unpack that.

Herb Larsen (08:20):
Sure. Well, and I'm gonna go back one step further that you didn't ask about. I came from a very large family, so there, there were 11 kids in our family and I was the fourth oldest. I like the, I was like the oldest of the second group. <Laugh>, it's what I would call it. I was number four and I was named after my father. So I just fast forward that into our own family. So I was not afraid of being around. Children obviously grew up with dozens, a dozen of 'em almost. And so we have three boys. Sean, who you mentioned is he's 41. He's my oldest son born in 1980. That's my buddy. He was, he was born in Los Angeles or excuse me, he was born in Portland. I have to keep track of my kids. Our second son, Sage Sage was born in Los Angeles. Hmm. And this is gonna get into other questions about why we're moving around so much. And then, then our youngest, Seth, who's now a doctor and I'll go into some of the background with these kids. He's he was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. And so he just turned 30. We just had a surprise birthday party for 'em two weeks ago. That's great. So those are, you know, three boys, my wife Carolyn she's she's Japanese American. And I bring that up because our, our boys are Hoppa, which is half and half that's right. Half, Asian, half Caucasian.

Young Han (09:53):
yeah. Yeah. So my kids it's, it's pretty fun actually. Yeah. I can't believe Seth is 30 that's

Herb Larsen (10:00):
I couldn't either. In fact, two weeks ago, I, I, I was looking up his social security number, cause I said no, no, no, no, no. He wasn't born in 91. He was born in 93. No, no, no, no, wait, wait, wait, wait. Something's wrong here.

Young Han (10:15):
Like the fondest memory is I have of sat this, us playing music and he would come in just like in his undies, you know, like just like half naked with this little toy guitar and just insist on just clanging on this piece of plastic, as loud as he was just like the cutest kid in the world and just had so much confidence in exuberance. Like had no like context of like anything. He just would be like, no, I'm, I'm playing with you guys. I'm hanging out with the boys. And like, he just like to think he's 30 years old is amazing. Yeah.

Herb Larsen (10:49):
Oh, and he's still jamming it up. Oh he's is he, he's an incredible musician.

Young Han (10:53):
Well, three of 'em are and didn't all three of 'em end up playing music, right? Yeah. That's a, that's a really interesting fact. Yeah. Cause it's probably because you, you brought them up in music. I mean, you're very, I remember your music room, you had some beautiful guitars up and, and I remember you made it a really big part of your family life. And so I'm, I'm assuming that that had a, a big impact on, on the boys and them playing music.

Herb Larsen (11:15):
It did it did I, I have what is known as gas guitar acquisition syndrome. Of course. I, of course I have gas too, but that's not subject entirely, but the, I I've always had a collection of musical instruments. You know, my wife, Carolyn, she played piano growing up. And so we had a, an upright Kauai piano, but we started just accumulating different instruments. I mean, while I'm a guitar player, you know, I have, I'm afraid to even say this, but 17 guitars. Oh wow. You know, mandolins, ukuleles, electric, acoustic guitars, and so forth. So the kids were exposed to those sorts of things and, and it became just part of our alive is making sure that they were exposed to, well, let's just say primarily rock and roll and cause that's what I was raised in. Yeah. But, but Carolyn grew up with country Western music and we've learned to tolerate that over, over time.

Young Han (12:33):
Well, she was country on the piano though. That sound of piano.

Herb Larsen (12:37):
She was all, all classical on the piano. So she played, she did not play by ear. She played by

Young Han (12:44):
She's classically trained. Yeah. Yes. Makes sense. I love it. I actually don't know if I've ever heard her play. That's really interesting. Cause there was always a piano in your house. I just never realized that was for her. That's awesome. None of the of boys picked it up. I don't think Sean ever played it either.

Herb Larsen (12:57):
Sean didn't but Seth is really, he's just a gifted and talented musician. He can play, you know, piano, violin, mandolin, ukulele guitars, drums. Wow. He's really he's. I would, I would have to say that he's probably the most naturally talented musician in the family. Wow. And I don't say that easily, but he's I mean he and his band, they recorded two CDs by the time he was 17 years old. Wow. So anyway, he's he's yes. He plays piano and you probably didn't hear Carolyn play because I don't remember when I last heard Carolyn play. Got it. She doesn't play very often.

Young Han (13:45):
Yeah. We'll have to make that happen. That's gonna be a request when I come visit you guys or you guys are over here. Yeah. I didn't realize that Seth was such a musician. That's really, really great. And you played all those in that's awesome. I'll have to go check out his, check out his stuff. So let's get into, let's get into your childhood if you don't mind, like sure. What was your childhood like? And what was that like growing up? I know you mentioned a little bit about being part of a big family, but I didn't realize how big that was. And so would love to, would love to unpack that a little bit.

Herb Larsen (14:15):
It was an awesome childhood, you know, you think of in this day and age, people are saying, gee, I can't afford to have children. Mm-Hmm yeah. I can only afford to have one or two

Young Han (14:29):
Whatever. Yeah. Very common. Yep.

Herb Larsen (14:32):
I never heard that from my parents. And obviously they, they lived that mm-hmm so, you know, they raised 11 children and we have a 12th, which is my oldest sister's daughter. So she was like the 12 and she became a single, so basically like we were middle class, you know, we never, we never went without food or clothes. And so all we knew is just growing up with a large family mm-hmm and learning to tease one another. If we wanted to fight, my mom would give us boxing gloves and say, go settle it in the backyard. Oh wow. And it was like, okay. Or go pay, go play mumble peg with some knives, you know oh. And, and only call me if you get cut and we have to take you to the hospital. So growing up with large family, certainly one of the, the biggest things that I learned is that if there is something that I wanted in life that I had to work for, it wasn't going to be given to me.

Herb Larsen (15:47):
Mm. And that's, that's very important in this whole discussion because that is really a core, it has positive and negative sides I might add. But the positive side is that, you know, when I was probably nine years old, eight, nine years old, I was doing odd jobs. And when I was 10 and maybe 11 had a paper route yeah. I was just doing odd, odd jobs, babysitting and so forth. So, so you learned that if there was something that you had as a goal, a financial goal in this particular case, and it could be something simple. Like I want a, I want a box of animal crackers. Yeah. Well, it wasn't gonna be given to me mm-hmm so I had to earn the, the 10 cents or 20 cents or 50 cents, whatever it was to be able to get that. So, so that was an important lesson and really allowed me to put those things into action, you know, as an adult saving money, saving money for things that were important and realizing that, that it wasn't, I was gonna sit and kick back and everything was gonna be given to me.

Young Han (17:04):
So you alluded to something there and I'd love for you to share what that means when you said, you know, it's IM it's good and negative. And I'm assuming that has a lot to do with the generational differences as well, too, because I'd say that just even being a next generation parent, it's not as prevalent those concepts that you just talked about.

Herb Larsen (17:22):
That's correct. And part of the reason I believe is that even with our own family, with the three boys, there's a natural tendency to, to want to spoil them. That's right. And to give them everything that for perhaps you didn't have as a child yourself, my mom and dad were both kids in the depression. And I remember my dad telling me the story of how he had the same pair of socks for four years and his mother would keep darning the holes in those socks. We never heard of when I was growing up. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> now the interesting side to that is that he had two drawers full of socks because he found that he didn't want to end up without socks. That's a silly kind of story. Yeah. But it really points out that when we're growing up, what we want for our children are things that we perhaps missed out on, or you didn't wanna repeat with your own kids. So I found that with our own lives, is it our kids have been totally blessed. They've been given pretty much everything they want, but they were also taught the value of work ethic and how to make sure that they got a college education, because that was going to be important, you know, growing up.

Young Han (18:48):
Yeah. And so how, how do you think you did that? I mean, cause that's a delicate balance, right? Like teaching them work ethic isn't but also still giving them what they want. Like, do you have, do you have some things that you, some tactics that you employed or is it just more generically? Like you're just headed in that direction.

Herb Larsen (19:03):
I beat them soundly, you know, at least once a week. So that, that's a, that's, that's a, it's a great question because some of it probably happened naturally. I always say naturally, but it wasn't natural, it was part of what had been drilled into my head, you know, growing up, you know, take care of your siblings, love your siblings and make sure, you know, like for instance, I got a drop back. When I went to college, my parents didn't pay a penny for my college education. Mm-Hmm moving forward. We made a deal with our, our boys is that we would pay for their undergraduate degree. Hmm. But if they wanted to go further, like my youngest son, Seth is now a doctor mm-hmm. If he wanted to go further, then he had to pay for that additional education mm-hmm. So they were already the beneficiaries of, because I knew that the value of a college education was going to be something that was gonna be essential for them, you know, growing up.

Herb Larsen (20:15):
So, so it's an example of something that maybe you take for granted and you think, I don't want my kids not to be able to go to college, so I'll pay for it. Oh, by paying for it, then it kind of made them lazy butts. No, it didn't make them lazy butts. They were always appreciative of that. And it gave them the ability to really focus on their studies instead of having to work full-time during the school year or in the summers, you know? Well, they did work during the summers, but so they could earn their own income.

Young Han (20:50):
Sage also went to more schooling didn't he, he also did some extra stuff. Right. I think Sean, he did

Herb Larsen (20:57):
The only one. Yeah. We were living in St. Louis at the time when Sage and Seth were going through high school and Sage was very focused. He said, I am going to be a biomedical engineer. Hmm. There was no, I'm gonna go to college. And I like sciences. So I'm gonna go on that. No. Yeah. I am gonna go to be a biomedical engineer and I want to go to Purdue. Hmm. Oh, we'll produce outta state. So we're gonna end up paying three times as much for Purdue. But if you went to Misso, which is a Missouri school. Yeah. And you could go and we would pay in-state tuition and I'll never forget how say age with tears in his eyes, dad, you don't have understand, this is what I want to do. I I'm going to go to Purdue. And ultimately he went to Purdue.

Herb Larsen (21:55):
So he went, he took a five year program for biomedical engineering and completed it in four years. Wow. So I could say he saved us a year of college education. And when he got outta school, he made the same decision that I did. And that was, I've had enough of school I want to get on with life mm-hmm <affirmative> and he, he intentionally, like myself said, I don't want any additional education as far as schooling. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> I want the, I want the school of hard knocks or, you know, the school of, you know, just exposing myself to the actual career I've chosen.

Young Han (22:34):
Yeah. That's awesome. That's really great. And why, why did you, why do you have such a focus on college? I mean, as I start to think about my kids growing up and they're really young, right. So I still have like many, many years, and until I have to worry about it, but I like see here and I'm like starting to save for it. Right. Like starting to put money aside for a college fund mm-hmm <affirmative> and I just like really start to think about like the importance of it and the value of it. And I'm not entirely sure if I'm like completely sold on the same value that we had for college, maybe even 10 or 15 years ago. And what are your thoughts on that as like, you know, their, your kids are starting to have kids, right. Your grandfather now. Right. And so like, absolutely. What are your thoughts on that?

Herb Larsen (23:13):
They're mixed. They're very mixed because I went to a school that really no one would hurt. Would've heard of mm-hmm Idaho state, university mm-hmm and they certainly weren't known as an Ivy league school for engineering degrees. So what I had learned through my own experience is that it really doesn't matter what school you go to, but what does matter? What does matter is your commitment to gaining an education, not just getting grades, beginning an education and a, in a field that you're interested in so that it will allow you to have additional knowledge and make decisions as you get older. Mm. So over the many, many years of upper management, as I would recruit and higher of people, I didn't really care whether I went to school. In fact, sometimes it was, if someone was came coming from Stanford mm-hmm and I had the Stanford grad compared to one from Idaho state university.

Herb Larsen (24:17):
Yeah. I may, I may choose the one from Idaho state university because it was a, they made it through, you know, obviously you're looking at other elements of their, of their background in education. So tying it back to your question, I don't believe that people need to go to the best school in the world. Hmm. And spend an inordinate amount of money because that degree I, whether it's from, you know, Notre Dame or, you know, Stanford, or, you know, well, let's, let's get closer to home, California, San Jose state. That's right. Okay. That's right. You go to, you go to a state school. Yeah, I know. And is that good? Is that bad? Did it make any difference in the choices? Were you turned down from a job because of the school you went to and you don't have to answer that, but you can too, if you want.

Young Han (25:16):
Yeah. I'm sure. I'm sure it's had an impact in the beginning, in the earlier part of my career. And then as you start to like, and I mean, it, didn't never really influenced, influenced it to the point where I would've known. Right. Cause I never would've known if that actually she impacted it, but I will say is I've gotten, you know, more successful and kind of Rosen risen in the ranks and was able to be the hiring manager and play that role. I've noticed that it, it mattered to me very little. And I don't know if that's because I came from San Jose state or it's because it didn't matter. But at the end of the day, like there's certain things that you, you can teach people how, how to do, and there's certain things that you want them to already have and the things that you want them to already have, typically aren't things that they're taught in school. and so, yeah, there's like a ramp up period. So if someone like had the education or the certification shirt, it's much easier to get them ramped up, but none of it even mattered to me at the end, if they're just a pain in the to work with. And so like, there's just certain components that I would start looking for that would make it more efficient and then it was worth the other way around. I don't know. So I I'm, I'm kind of, I'm discombobulate, I'm, I'm ma I'm making simple, a very, very complicated prospect, but yeah, it's really interesting to hear you talk about it, having gone through the generations of school and work, right. Because it's a, a completely different world. It's a completely different world. I feel like. And I, and I'm making a lot more generalizations, but I feel like in your generation, it was very, very big to get the kids to school, to get the kids, kids to school and college. I mean, I, I don't, I think it was pretty, pretty much the norm, right? Like that was how you're gonna make value. And that's how you're gonna get a valuable career and create security for yourself. And so many of us, like in our generation, didn't really get to get that same sort of like absolute value from it. And a lot of us are still dealing with this college tuition and, and loan and, and, you know, so I'm not saying it's good or bad, it's just really, it's just really interesting to be able to talk to you about it because you know, like, I, I don't know. , it's just an opportunity to talk to someone that's gone through this. Right.

Herb Larsen (27:13):
There's another component of it too. And that is, that is maturity level. Yeah. You know, when you, when you look at getting out of high school and say, wow, I'm prepared for the, you know, the big, bad world. No, you're not. I mean, I knew a number of people that didn't go to college and went into the workforce and primarily as blue collar workers and some of those jobs disappeared. And because they were not mature enough to get that education at a time where it would've been a natural evolution of a natural step going through that process, it made it extremely difficult to say, I'm gonna go back and get my college degree at a later time. Cuz it might have, might have had a family involved and say, I've gotta wait for my kids to grow up. It could be, you know, a, a real desire to get education in an area that was important. So yeah, I think maturity ends up being a, a component of that too. And so even as we see our children getting married at older ages where we got married, when we were just outta college, it's part of a generational issue, but it's also, I think a sign of maturity. So I feel that college education allows you more time to not only mature, but to make those changes during college of saying, huh, I started out in one area, but I ended up with something else.

Young Han (28:47):
That's right. Cuz I mean, even in college there was a period where I, I switched my major at least three times. I think it was even five, but that's a really good point. I just had this conversation with Amy last night about Lily, cuz we get to send her to school. She's four. And so she's turning five and she's gonna get to go out to like real school <laugh> and they gave us the option of either pushing her forward or pushing her back because of her birth. And so we had this like great conversation around the benefits of being the oldest in your class or the youngest. And one of the, the things that we brought up was this whole concept of having more time to like process and mature. And that's a really, really interesting thing that you just said because now you're pie it beyond kindergarten. You're actually talking about the, a effects of that even through adulthood. Absolutely. And I have to agree with you because now that I think about it, I'm like, I don't actually even know if I really figured out what, what I wanted to do until like five years ago, like to be quite Frank and I I'm sure I'll even change that even in my forties. Right. And so it's really, it's a really, really good point.

Herb Larsen (29:50):
I know. And I, even though I had changed degrees or changed studies, you know, over my college years and I got out as an engineer, I did what I called bonehead engineering for the first year and realized this is not me. You know, I don't wanna be stuck behind a desk. I wanna work with people. So that evolved into, you know, different areas. So it, it is absolutely true is that when you're graduating and it goes back to this issue of where you to school, when I'm hiring someone, I want someone who's teachable. Mm. I mean, I don't care if they went to Idaho state San Jose state or Stanford, as I mentioned, because I want them to be teachable because many of the things that they're gonna need to know, they're gonna learn on the job as opposed to a career like a pharmacist or maybe even a biomedical engineer in the case of sages situation, there are very specific skills and talents that you're not gonna learn that on the job, but even a pharmacist is gonna learn a lot of things on the job that there's no way that they could have been taught in, in

Young Han (31:01):
Call that's wild. Cause even something like that, you would think that they would need so many specific trainings and certifications to get. Right. And so that's a really interesting point. I love it. I have to, I have to ask you a little bit of a hard hitting question fully knowing that Sean May watch this, but how do you think he's doing as a dad?

Herb Larsen (31:19):
I think Sean is doing well as a dad now. Yeah. Sean being the oldest being your age. Well, you're still a young youngster. When, when they got married, they had one child or actually Monty had a child, Isaac who was eight years old, old mm-hmm and then when they got married three years later, then they had Madden that's. Right. So, so he was still fairly young as yeah. You know, but at the same token, he wasn't like, we were, we were 25 when, when we had Sean. Yeah. So, so he had that opportunity to be more mature, but both of them were working full time. That's right. Cause they had their own salon and in working full-time it changes the paradigm entirely compared to what we had when we rate children.

Young Han (32:27):
You mean, you mean having one parent at home, right? Like the, yes. The ability to, yeah, that's right. Yeah.

Herb Larsen (32:32):
We Carolyn and I have been married for 43 years. Nice. 40 43 years. Congratulations. And I had to think about that for a moment. Yeah. We had this very specific discussion when we were living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. No, no, no. I take that back. We were, yeah, I guess we were in Pittsburgh and that was, should we both work? Oh, we can't afford to raise our children if we don't both work. Mm. We went to this church in, in Pittsburgh that they were having this study. It was a weekend study for adults on how you can, cannot afford to go to work and raise your family, that it would actually cost you more to work full time than it would to stay at home and raise your children. Now, that sounded very bizarre. Yeah. As we went through this class, we were able to financially that not only would our kids be better off if Carolyn stayed at home and, and raised them, but that we would be better off financially than if we were both working full time. Now that was a fascinating study. And we made the decision to have Carolyn stay home and raise our kids for her career. So she would forego her professional career ideals in favor of being a full-time mom. And I would work full-time and be the sole breadwinner, but not the sole worker. Obviously a mother works very hard raising children is I saw with my mother raising 11 children growing up full-time job. That's right. Whether you have one child or 11 children.

Young Han (34:32):
That's amazing. Yeah. It's like really interesting because like you, you're a dad of dads, you know, you're, you're only your grandfather, but it's like, you know, you're, you're basically like, I guess the, the question I have really is like how much of like your parenting skills and experience that you've learned, you know, and you've collected over the last like 40 years, I guess, of mm-hmm 41 years now of being a parent. How much of that are you imparting on, on your sons? Like how much, how much advice they ask you for and, or are the problems similar? Are the problems different? I'd love to just like poke into that a little bit.

Herb Larsen (35:08):
That's that's an awesome question. Young, because first and foremost, I would have to say that their mother has probably been a much more significant influence because she was with them 24 7. Yeah. I was working as a, you know, upper management professional traveling around the world. That's right. And so I was not physically there as often as my wife, Carolyn was mm-hmm so there was a natural tendency. Not that they would, would be mama's boys, but that they, they have a close relationship with their mother mm-hmm that is envious. Now coming back to the question, she's not the father figure mm-hmm, she's the mother figure, I'm the father figure. And so the question was, you know, how would I, how would I look at what I contributed to their lives and how is that going? You know, moving into adulthood and for advice, certainly I have talks with my sons all the time, particularly when it comes to financial related issues, even more so than girlfriend issues yeah. Or wife issues. We're always having discussions or, Hey, I'm thinking about getting this car or this good to are or whatever. And what do you think? And you know, what's what's been your experience now, part of the problem is, is that we have the internet mm-hmm we have Google mm-hmm <affirmative> we have eBay, we have all these things where, I mean, you can say, you know, I don't need to ask my parents anything, guys. I can learn everything through the internet. Yeah. But, but certainly there is a a very strong element of being a father, being a mother and being able to have your kids ask those questions. So I would have to say there was a period of time young, where I was set that my boys were closer to their mother. Hmm. Because I was away more frequently.

Herb Larsen (37:29):
And when I say upset, not, you know, like, oh my gosh, you know, my kids are, my kids are gonna disown me. Yeah. At the same token, when I look at my, and I say, what is it that, that I contributed mm-hmm to those boys, it would be numerous things. I mean, it could be issues of, you know, faith could be issues of music. Mm-Hmm, it could be the desire to get a college and, and do the best with your life. It could be the issue of don't be afraid to take challenges and move to different parts of the country and get away from your family. You'll be stronger because of that. These are all things that that I'm part of to them. And maybe not as much directly as my wife did, cuz she was with them 24/7. But certainly they, they saw me lead by example.

Herb Larsen (38:33):
Yeah and some of those things were kind of a natural direction, other things. And, and some of them were, gee, this is the way our generation grew up. We, we go to col high school, we go to college, we get married, we have 1.7, children and get a car with, or get a house with two car. Yeah. Those were very, very common themes. And now the newer generations have maybe different themes. And that is now let's not get married until we're 30. Yeah. Now let's wait until we're 35. Oh let's not have children. Yeah. Wow. I mean, sorry. I, I, but I had, I had several people working for me when I was in San Francisco and 70% of them did not have children and chose not to have children. Oh yeah. It's

Young Han (39:31):
Very common.

Herb Larsen (39:32):
And that was bizarre to me growing up with a family of 11 kids and having three kids on my own, I go like, seriously, what are you gonna do when you retire? Or when you are older and look back and say, what did you produce? Well, I was an engineer. Oh, wait, you define yourself by your job. No, I mean, those people are gonna have lonely lives, you know, goals. Anyway, that's my opinion.

Young Han (40:00):
Well, it also goes back to the, the, one of the questions that I like to ask every parent, which is like, how do you qualify success? And it sounds like you're kind of like teetering on answering that by yourself. So maybe I'll just come out and ask it. How do you, how do you qualify success in parenting and being, being a dad?

Herb Larsen (40:15):
Wow. I love the questions because they're, they're not intuitive, but, but you have to really dig into them to, to search your soul. Yeah.

Young Han (40:26):
There are definitely things that you're not gonna sit there and think about all the time for sure. But I've been like trying to like wrestle with this idea of like, what is the best parent for me, right. Like how could I be the best parent that I can be? And in order to do that, you have to start the exercise of qualifying it.

Herb Larsen (40:40):
And, and obviously as you're growing up, you don't know how to be, I mean, a person who's a, a father, a mother for the first time. They've never been there before. Yeah. So, so what makes them qualify? Wow. They got pregnant. Oh, it takes two to tango, right? Yeah. So when that's why I searched this question in my, in my own mind and say for me, it was leading by example, it was loving them unconditionally. It was providing a safe environment, not only for them, but a safe environment for their friends. Our home was always a safe Haven, very important because when I see people growing up and they're coming over and they're from divorced households or single parents, or someone died in the family or whatever, and to be able to come to a place and be safe is, is very, very crucial to allow them to be themselves and have a sense of humor about it.

Herb Larsen (41:52):
So pass those things on. And, and it is just like a guitar. I mean, I mean, I'm playing guitar and all of a sudden I have two of my three boys say, I wanna play guitar too. Yeah. Sage wanted to be a drummer. So he was like animal on the drums, you know, he was like, so anyway, I'm sorry, I'm wandering a little bit it from the question, but it is a difficult question to answer because I don't think that there's any tried or true way that you can prepare for it outside of looking at your own experiences as a son, as a daughter, as a brother and say, am I going to repeat that? Or am I going to allow? And, and is that something I wanna pass along to my children or do I want to intentionally go in a different direction to, to avoid that? And even that being said young, is that gonna guarantee that they're not gonna get thrown in jail and that they're not gonna get on drugs and so forth? No, but there are a lot of things that have a significant impact on reducing that potential for being in the gutter, so to speak.

Young Han (43:10):
Wow. I think you did a great job answering that question. I, I think that for what it's worth growing up up, I always felt great coming over. I felt like you guys had a very, very welcoming environment, personality, even the words that you guys used, everything was just really, really great. I always felt very, very welcome and very, very safe and to be myself and to talk to you guys openly. And it was, it was really, really great childhood for whatever it's worth.

Herb Larsen (43:35):
Thank, thank you. Well, that's right. I feel like

Young Han (43:37):
Dad's, there were enough accolades and accomplishments and high fives. So that's my virtual high five to you for doing

Herb Larsen (43:42):
No, you were, you were the fourth musketeer, you know, so

Young Han (43:48):
I do wanna switch gears a little bit and ask you about business. Cause I know you've you've definitely done a lot of great things as a, as an executive. And, and I also just am curious. So given the fact that you, you took a stab at answering the question of success on parenting, how do you, how do you define success in business?

Herb Larsen (44:06):
I think that's actually less difficult for me to answer. Yeah, because you have these certain roles that, or that you roles you try on and faces that you try on, you can't put the face of a dad on and have it be fake. where in the business world. Oh yeah. Yeah. You can, you, you can play a part and totally, totally insulate others from what your personal life is. Yeah. I've seen it happen over and over again. So defining success for me in, in business was really about taking risks, risk, and reward. And I'm gonna give you a couple examples of that. Mm-Hmm through my professional career, I had colleagues that stayed in the same city, the same location, the same house, maybe moved up once, you know, to a different house. And in the meanwhile, my wife and I, we moved 12 times over 42 years, 43 years. Yeah. Now why did we do that? Well, it's interesting cuz the ones that stayed in their location were saying, gosh, at herb, he gets all the breaks. He gets all the, his opportunities to, to advance, you know, in his career and take these new opportunities. And there was a flip side and that was, wow. Look at old, Billy, you know, he's been living in the same area and he's had a chance to be able to put roots down deep and, and he's been, he he's been able to be, become a, a real estate, a slum Lord property holder because he's in the same place and can watch those properties and so forth. Gee, I'm kind of envy that. Well there's not one that's right. And one that's wrong. Yeah. But for me, the definition of success for my professional life was risk and reward. Taking those risks, moving my family, taking opportunities to stretch me to the limit, took me overseas, took me in foreign countries and languages and people I'd never known or knew anything about. And it made a are children stronger because of that. Hmm. Because they had opportunities to live in other areas to be able to make new friends, to be able to live in different environments and realize everything is possible. Hmm. Home is not one particular location I grew up in PO Idaho. So PO Idaho is my home. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> no PO Idaho is where I grew up. Yeah. But it's not my home. My home is wherever I put my heart and wherever my family is and wherever, you know, we, we put our resources and our time and talents to <affirmative>.

Young Han (47:18):
I love that. That was a great answer. That was very, very awesome. Thank you for sharing. All right. So this is the part of the show where I'm just gonna fire off this. It's I call my rapid fire questions. I have now five. I had four, but now you get the special fifth question. Part of this new thing that I'm doing. So I I'm gonna move into those questions right now. And they're just like quick, quick questions that I like to ask every single guest, the first one being, what advice do you have for other parents? And soon to be parents,

Herb Larsen (47:47):
My advice would be, don't worry. It'll all work out. God does not make mistakes. God has a plan for everyone, but it's on God's timetable. It's not on our timetable. So have faith have faith in God, but also have faith that this is gonna work out the way it's intended to work out, whether you like it or not. Hmm. But be an active participant. You have to be an active participant. Not only in fatherhood and motherhood, you know, in raising your family, you cannot be an absentee parent. And it's funny, I say that because you know, sometimes I was gone for two or three weeks at a time traveling overseas, but they were taken care of. Yeah. So, so make sure that yes, you keep your children safe, healthy, and safe and happy, but be an active participant and believe that it's gonna turn out. Okay. Everything's gonna be right.

Young Han (48:55):
If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before becoming a parent, what would you tell yourself?

Herb Larsen (49:01):
Never limit yourself to the number of children.

Young Han (49:04):
Hmm. You would've had more.

Herb Larsen (49:07):
No, no. You know, it's funny because Sean was an only child out for eight years and we didn't plan on having other children. So I, I, I say that because it ties into my own childhood is that I came from having 10 other siblings and you know, family to raise 11 kids. I mean, it could have been 15 or, and six. So don't, don't limit yourself to a number don't limit yourself and say, I can only afford to have X number of children or I can afford to have none. Oh. Because of the cost of college education. Hmm. So, so that's what looking in retrospect is that don't limit yourself on the number of children or don't limit yourself by whatever you think the financial resources are that are required.

Young Han (50:00):
Yeah. I feel like you're talking to me right now, personally. So that's a really, interesting thing to say. Cause that's kinda like what we're going through right now, calculating the cost of it. It's really funny. Yeah. What is the most surprising thing that you learned about yourself? Becoming a parent?

Herb Larsen (50:18):
Wow. I think the most surprising thing I learned is how selfish I can be at times, and some of that, again, I attribute back to my growing up with 11 kids. If you went out and got a BA box of animal crackers, and if you went home and said, Hey, anyone want an animal cracker? There's no more animal crackers laugh. Yeah. Yeah. So in some respects we learn to be a little bit stingy or selfish. Now the interesting part of that is that I think that both Carolyn and I are very generous, you know, and, and giving. But, but I, it, it made me realize how selfish of a person I am, that I want my own time, my own space. And I needed to give more of my time more of my efforts and talents and diatribes to my children. Hmm. So, so that's where that selfish thing comes in is gee, it's not all about you. It's not all about me. It's about my kids because I mean, they're the most important thing they're they are mini MES.

Young Han (51:40):
I love that. Wow. So that's a, that's a really cool lesson learned. I mean, sounds like they really like helped you really figure yourself out and figure out how you wanna grow yourself. That's awesome. That was not what I was expecting when I asked that question. That's great. all right. Let's go to the next two here. So what is your all time favorite business book?

Herb Larsen (52:00):
I would think probably how to meet friends and influence people. Oh yeah. That's a good one. And the, the interesting part about that is reading it when I was 17 or 18 years old, cuz I was working for this company, selling books door to door. And prior to that time, it's funny. I was actually very much an introvert and very shy. Mm. But in this process of knocking on doors and, and I know it ties back to the books, I will get back to it, reading books like that, that were how to win friends and influence people. And it sounds like such a simple title, but it is, it is really a, a definition of where my life has been at.

Young Han (52:52):
And then finally, what's what do you do for fun when you're not being a parent and you're not growing, oh, I guess you're retired now. So I guess there's, we kind of talked about that, but yeah. I'd love to know what your hobbies are

Herb Larsen (53:05):
Prior to, and I have to say that prior to retiring, when you're working full time, sometimes you don't think you have enough time for anything. So, so my interests then, and my interests now were actually quite different. I always felt that music would be one of these things that would be like, oh, I'm gonna play music every day till I die. Yeah. And here I got 17 guitars and I haven't picked one up for three weeks. Wow. And it's like, what's going on there? Well, I've got other things that are actually more interesting when I was working full time, playing golf, playing music was probably, you know, and obviously, you know, when the kids were at home playing with the kids, Hey, those are the things I did. But now going into retirement, I have so many other interests. I, I make wine. I, I make red wine. I, you know, I I'm a gardener. I mean, these are things that, that I didn't have time to do before I'm working on old radios. Yes. I'm still golfing. Yes. I'm still playing music, but I don't define my life by those things that I thought were so incredibly important that I'd never give up on them.

Young Han (54:21):
All right. Well, thank you so much for taking this time to talk to me. I had a ton of fine getting to know you better and in just this new capacity and way. And I, I, I really, really appreciate you taking the time to hang out with me today.

Herb Larsen (54:33):
Well, young, I appreciate as the fourth musketeer, you've been part of our lives and I have followed your career with great interest. And, and I thank you for what you do on social media and posting photos of you and the girls and Amy, because it has allowed me to have a touchstone to, to be able to see what you're doing. And I'm very proud of what you've done. Not only with your career, going from the Starbucks of the worlds and, and fill up to you know, what you're doing now, but you have become the man that I knew you had always become.

Young Han (55:17):
Wow. Thank you so much for saying that. I have to call you Mr. Larson, just to thank you for that one. I know you told me to not do that, but yeah. Thank you so much for saying that. That means a lot to me. I really, really appreciate it. Yeah.

Herb Larsen (55:32):
That is important to me too.

Young Han (55:34):
Well, thank you, sir. I I'll, I'll let you get outta here, but again, I appreciate you taking the time and we'll talk soon. Okay. Thanks for tuning

Young Han (55:40):
In to another episode of the girl dad show, we really hope you enjoyed that interview. And as always, please take a moment to review, rate and subscribe. We'll see you next time. Okay.

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