Paul Lamar Hunter is the 19th of 21 children born to James and Louise Hunter. In 2012, he became the 1st in his family to graduate from college, earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Upper Iowa University. He also became the 1st author in his family with his book No Love, No Charity: The Success of the 19th Child. His book was recently adapted into a screenplay.
As I interviewed Paul for this Father’s Day story, I wondered how a man who grew up in the inner city of Racine, Wisconsin beat the odds and experienced the success of having his story profiled in newspaper and magazine publications across the world. When I interviewed him, I found that he has a positive story that will encourage the hearts of men who grew up in the inner city under problematic circumstances.
Q: What kind of relationship did you have with your father?
I only had 8 years with my father before he was killed in a car crash that devastated my siblings and me. My family already had broken hearts and spirits, grieving the death of my brother, Thomas, who died in a fire a year earlier. My dad worked 2 jobs to provide for his children, but still found time for us. I will always remember him giving us hugs and kissing on our cheeks.
Q: It is very clear that being a father is an extremely important role in your life. What attributes do you feel are critical to being a successful father and what advice would you give to fathers?
I am the father of 4 children and I am their biggest fan who will always cheer for them. When my children were younger, I would constantly build them up with positive words and would say that they are champions in my eyes. No other success can compensate for not being present in your children’s lives. You must be a positive influence, encourage them, and instill values of confidence, integrity, and a strong work ethic.
I believe that men are builders of their families, especially in the inner city community, because of the extreme needs. You are your children’s Father, not their friend. Too many parents today want to become their children’s friend and it hurts the relationship. Fathers, your children have friends. They are looking for love, time, guidance, structure, discipline and someone to listen to them and give them positive feedback because it can help them throughout their lives.
Q: As the first to graduate from college in your family, it is clear education is important to you. In fact, you call yourself a diplomat of education. What does that mean?
A Diplomat of Education is someone who actively promotes education. In the Hunter family, my father was an advocate of education and strongly believed we should challenge our minds. Men should promote education in the home and in the community. Whenever people of color see other people of color succeed, it gives them the hope and courage to set meaningful goals, as well.
As a father, I think it’s important to read with your kids and help cultivate an educational plan. Too many young people in the inner city believe it is okay not to pursue an education but it’s not. Read and you will achieve success in the world!
Q: You didn’t head to college after graduating from high school. It was something you did later in life as a father. How did that decision impact your family?
No one in my family had considered college before that. I overcame the odds to become the 1st of 20 siblings and 63 grandchildren to graduate from college. It showed my children that with faith and determination, one can overcome poverty, neglect, and personal tragedies to better their lives. It taught them to dream for something that had previously been considered unattainable.
Q: I understand that you are available for motivational speaking engagements? How does one contact you and where can we find your book?
Yes, I am available for speaking engagements and would love to visit organizations to share my story of beating the odds in the inner city. My book can be purchased at Barnes and Noble.com and Amazon.com. Please visit my website at www.paullamarhunter.com.