#BeBetter Podcast with Michael Kurland

A Mom’s Advice on Raising a Child to Be Better with Mike’s Mom, Melody Campbell

Teaching life lessons begins at home

Melody Campbell is the mom of Branded Group CEO Michael Kurland. On this special Mother’s Day show, Michael and his mother reminisce about his childhood, sharing family memories guaranteed to make you laugh! Melody has many pearls of wisdom on how to raise a child to BeBetter and why she believes that being a Mom is a privilege.

Melody Campbell with Michael Kurland

“Never give up because if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”

—Melody Campbell

34. A Mom’s Advice on Raising a Child to Be Better with Mike’s Mom, Melody Campbell

Key Takeaways

  • Allow your children to make their own choices, however explain the consequences for those choices.
  • Support your children in all of their endeavors.
  • Involve your children in constructive activities like sports, dance, art, or theater.

“It all starts at home.”

—Melody Campbell

Podcast Transcription

Hello, I’m Michael Kurland, CEO and Co-Founder of Branded Group. Welcome to the #BeBetter Podcast. To me, our company’s mantra to “Be Better” is more than a tagline; it’s a culture that permeates our organization, propelling our team to Be Better to each other, our customers and our communities as well as to ourselves. Each week on the #BeBetter podcast, I interview leaders who authentically exemplify how they are being better in their professional and personal lives.

Today’s podcast is dedicated to Community Action Partnership of Orange County. Since 1965, they have been seeking an end to poverty by empowering people with the resources they need when they need them. Learn more about the Community Action Partnership of Orange County at capoc.org

Michael Kurland (00:02):

Alright. Welcome to another episode of the BeBetter Podcast. I’m your host, Michael Kurland today. I have the most special guest ever joining us on the BeBetter podcast. This guest is so spectacular, so special because she put up with me for 25 years of raising me into an adult and then has put up with me for the last 17 years of not living together and being my mother. So in honor of Mother’s Day, we figured we’d do something fun and bring my mother on the show. Melody Campbell. Welcome to the show. Tell the audience a little bit about yourself.

Melody Campbell (00:46):

Well, I am the mother of the legendary Michael Kurland and Meredith Kurland, who’s also legendary. Yes.

Michael Kurland (01:00):

Yes. Continue. Continue. So you’re our mother. What do you do right now?

Melody Campbell (01:04):

I’m retired. I live in a 55 plus community in Arizona where

Michael Kurland (01:10):

I gotta stop you. I gotta pause you for a second. How did they let you into the 55 plus community when you’re not 55?

Melody Campbell (01:20):

Well, that’s very kind of you, but actually I am a little older than that.

Michael Kurland (01:26):

Oh wow. You don’t look a day over 40, which would be weird because then you’d be younger than me.

Melody Campbell (01:32):

That’s true. But in this community, I play tennis and pickle ball and occasionally will join the ladies for card games and I love the life here. If it wasn’t for you and Meredith, I wouldn’t be here.

Michael Kurland (01:51):

You definitely never thought you’d be a West coast girl, right? You were born in Quantico, Virginia. You were a military brat. You moved all over the country as a child and settled down in Atlanta. I still remember when we were in Connecticut that you were like, Oh, I’m going down South. You wanted to go to Virginia so bad. You spent your years in Virginia and now you’re in Arizona and tell the audience what’s the best state you’ve ever lived in?

Melody Campbell (02:23):

What’s the best state I’ve ever lived in? Well, Arizona would have to be up there.

Michael Kurland (02:30):

That’s the answer.

Melody Campbell (02:33):

I’ve also lived in Hawaii.

Michael Kurland (02:35):

But you don’t remember that. Okay. So, we’re getting a little, we’re getting a little, having some fun today, right? This is all about having fun. Getting to know me, getting to know a little about what I was like before I became the CEO of Branded Group.

Melody Campbell (02:51):

Can I tell the audience, what you were like growing up?

Michael Kurland (02:54):

That’s the whole point of this.  It’s just like a bird’s-eye view or what do they call fly on the wall view into my younger years and you get to be as open and honest as you want. I think we’ve got some good stories for the audience, for sure. So, so let’s talk about what it was like to raise me as a child. Let’s get into this.

Melody Campbell (03:14):

Well, what it was like to raise you. Well, first of all, since I never thought I could have children. Raising you and your sister was an honor and a privilege. You were challenging and interesting because you marched to the beat of a different drummer. If I said red, you said white.

Michael Kurland (03:37):

Which isn’t very different from today.

Melody Campbell (03:40):

Yes, but you were also very smart in your early years and I mean that when you were 18 months old you were allowed, I was allowed to place you in a program called the Terrible Twos program, which they would only accept 24 month old children that were potty trained. At 18 months old, they accepted you because you were potty trained and you could hold your own with the other two year olds.

Michael Kurland (04:16):

Good to know. These are things I didn’t even know about myself. So audience, I was potty trained way ahead of schedule. Thank you guys. You didn’t know that. Overachiever at a young age. So, okay. So talk about you said I was challenging and interesting. So let’s talk about some of these challenges. What was it like? Oh, well we have that question later, later on down the road here. I don’t want to, I don’t want to get you off topic. So I was an overachiever. I was smart. You put me into the program. That was great. So what is your favorite memory of me from when I was young?

Melody Campbell (04:58):

There’s a bunch of them? Well, the one that stands out the most of my mind is when you and Meredith were probably about five or six years old, Grampy was out mowing the lawn and he used to take you kids down to the beach and let you drive the car around in the parking lot while you sat in his lap. Well, this particular day you guys got into Grampy’s car and Meredith is behind the wheel pretending she was driving. I was standing in the kitchen.

Michael Kurland (05:31):

Hold on. I want to pause. I want to pause you for one second. Because the audience needs a little bit of a background here. So my grandfather, we lived in this house in Connecticut and we had this long gravel driveway and it was because my Dad in retrospect, never wanted to pave the driveway because it was cheaper to have gravel. I realize that now. And you don’t notice, like to grow up on a long gravel driveway until you’ve skinned your knee, falling off your bike like 30 times. So that’s why my knees look the way they do. But anyway, so my grandfather would always park the farthest down the driveway and he would park in front of the garage that we didn’t use to park cars because that was a weird Connecticut thing, I guess. And he would let me and my sister just go out. He’d give us the keys to his car when we were like five and he would let us go out to the car and click it once for this old Buick Century or whatever it was.

Michael Kurland (06:26):

So we could have the radio on and we can pretend that we were driving and we would be unsupervised and this happened numerous occasions. Then on Saturday mornings, my grandfather would take us down to the Calf Pasture Beach. So I, and in my older years I understood why, because he wanted to get me and Meredith out of the house so that you and Dad could have like the ability to sleep in. So he would take us down to the beach and he would sit us on his lap and he would do the gas and the brake and we’d had this huge big park beach parking lot and we got to drive around. So we were infatuated with driving probably at the age of five. So now you pick up the story here, Mom.

Melody Campbell (07:12):

So Grampy’s mowing the lawn. The kids are now in this car. Meredith is behind the steering wheel. Michael’s in the passenger seat. I’m standing in the kitchen, looking out the window where I can see what’s going on and the next thing I know Meredith must have knocked the gear shift into neutral and the car rolls forward hits the center post beam of the garage, knocks it off it’s footing about a foot and Michael bails on his sister, climbs out the window, comes running across streaking across the backyard, “I didn’t do it. It wasn’t me!”

Michael Kurland (07:52):

Yes. So what I can tell you all audience that from inside the car, my sister and I obviously didn’t know that if you threw the car in gear while you had the key in the ignition, it would go into gear. And so we threw it in a neutral, not knowing what we were doing at five years old. And it was on a slight incline and the car rolled probably 20 feet. And I’ve got to say, this was a two car garage and it had a stanchion in the middle and thank God she hit that because if she didn’t, she would’ve gone right through the garage, right out the back of the garage. So this thing was from like 1920 and this was probably like 1985 and into the neighbor’s yard and down the hill and who knows when it would’ve stopped?

Michael Kurland (08:34):

Because we lived on a pretty, pretty big hill. So she hit the stanchion and it stopped the car. I remember saying Meredith, I think we’re rolling. I remember this very distinctly. I said, Meredith, I think we’re rolling. And she’s like, no, we’re fine and she’s just like turning the steering wheel left and right. And I said, no, we’re definitely rolling. And I was like, hit the brakes, hit the brakes. Meredith still has never hit five feet in her life. So my sister is still four 11. So at the time she was probably like @2’ 11 and her feet couldn’t even hit, didn’t even touch the floor. She’s just like swinging her legs off this bench seat of this 1978 Buick Century, whatever the Buick’s top of line model was. So she was like, I can’t! Of course, everything else we did while we were in the car, we buckled our seatbelts.

Michael Kurland (09:28):

So I got a seatbelt on and Meredith was sitting there struggling to get the seatbelt off and I jumped, I like tucked and rolled, like it was Dukes of Hazzard because that was my favorite show and rolled out the car and she takes the car right into the garage and slams in. And my mom, my Grandpa come running outside and you know, I think Grandpa was outside like you said. Boom. Mom comes running out and I’m screaming, “I didn’t do it” because I always did it. I was like, “I didn’t do it. I didn’t want to get in trouble for this.”  They rip Meredith out of the car. Everything’s fine. Garage probably needs a little bit, it definitely needs work.

Melody Campbell (10:06):

Yeah, we had to repair it before we sold it.

Michael Kurland (10:09):

But my biggest fear was like, my Dad was at work or wherever he was. And I was like, Oh my God, Dad’s going to kill me because that’s what normally happened when we were bad. Mom would say, I’m going to tell your father. And usually what would happen when, when dad would come home and see, he would scream our name, Michael! Meredith! And we’d come down the stairs and we’d have to stand at attention till he disciplined us. Is this incorrect?

Melody Campbell (10:35):

You’re pretty spot on.

Michael Kurland (10:35):

He screamed our name. He came running up the stairs and we were already, we’re standing at attention in our rooms and I’ll never forget. I was standing with my hands behind my back, like stiff as a board five or six years old. He came up the stairs after screaming our names and he looked at me and he said, are you okay? I said, yeah. Then he started cracking up and I was like, am I not in trouble? He just said, I’m glad you’re okay. Then he was like, you know, I guess he was more mad at Grandpa for giving two five-year-olds keys, right? So anyway. So that’s a good memory. I like that. So, talk about phases. They want to know.  Tell the audience, did we have any superhero or dinosaur or sports phases? Did I?

Melody Campbell (11:19):

Well, you left out something here on the phases. So yes. I remember the two worst phases that you went through were the long hair phase and wanting to have your ear pierced.
Michael Kurland (11:31):
Okay. So audience, I grew up in like eighties hair band. So that’s just, again, another reference point. MTV had just come out and frigging the Guns and Roses was like my jam back in the eighties. So continue Mom.

Melody Campbell (11:48):

So since I thought you would be an attorney and you were always argumentative, I used to tell you no ear piercing because no one would take you seriously if you have your ear pierced. And did you listen? No! So when I went to a PTA meeting one night, you and your sister got together and when I came home, you were both sitting at the kitchen table with the shit-eating grin on your face and I knew immediately something had to be up.

Michael Kurland (12:23):

I believe I had a hoodie on too. The hoodie was pulled over my head.

Melody Campbell (12:29):

Meredith asks, she goes notice anything different Mom? And I looked you both over and it didn’t take me long to notice the earring and since the damage is already done, there was nothing I could do except shake my head and say, “Wait ‘til your Dad gets home. See how long it takes him to find it.”

Michael Kurland (12:48):

And so again, to give a little bit of a background on my father. So my father always told me if I wanted to wear an earring, I could, but I had to wear a dress, which also is probably not PT at all or PC at all. So I apologize in advance, but that was his mindset on things. So, he came home what maybe in the next night and he saw the earring and he told me, you want to keep it going?

Melody Campbell (13:17):

We were walking down to the Oyster Festival.

Michael Kurland (13:21):

Oh yeah, yeah, yeah and I was trying to stay away from him.

Melody Campbell (13:25):

And you were about what? 10, 12 feet ahead of us.

Michael Kurland (13:29):

I’m staying as far away from Norm as possible. Yes.

Melody Campbell (13:33):

You finally spotted him. What did he tell you?

Michael Kurland (13:36):

You want that earring? You’re going to have to wear a dress. So I took the earring out and that was the first attempt. That earring lasted maybe three days and it was a horrific ear infection as well.  Audience, I recommend don’t pierce your own ear. It was also painful.  I went through a lot just to have stupid earring.

Melody Campbell (14:00):

So, how did you guys do that? I’m curious to see how you managed to do that.

Michael Kurland (14:04):

You had this one. We went through your jewelry box and you had this gold, it almost looked like a thumbtack earring. That was the style. But it had a spike at the end of it. So I literally put rubbing alcohol and I sat in the mirror and I jammed this thing through my ear lobe. I was 13. I was 12 years old and I was determined. I was like, I am having an earring.

Melody Campbell (14:33):

I remember the first time I pierced my ear. First of all, I had to get drunk and then they put a piece of ice behind the ear and no, they iced the ear and then cut half a potato and put it behind the ear so when you put the earring through, it has something to go into. That was a long time ago.

Michael Kurland (14:49):

Technology in the seventies. Technology in the seventies.

Michael Kurland (15:31):

Okay, Mom. So let’s talk about superheroes and sports. Let’s go there.

Melody Campbell (15:35):

All right. So you loved He-Man, Transformer figures, Hot Wheel car collections, anything sports related. You loved the Mets and the Islanders and you could rattle off statistics at the top of your head that mind boggled me.

Michael Kurland (15:57):

You want to know why? I think it was because I studied the box scores. Because remember, we’d get the sports page and I’d fight Grandpa and Dad for it every morning, I would just study the box scores and people’s batting averages and I’d study my baseball cards because there was no computers back then.

Melody Campbell (16:11):

That’s right. But you could rattle that stuff off. And it just used to amaze me all the time and he always told us you were going to be the next Mets general manager. So I believed it.

Michael Kurland (16:24):

And then I went to school for sports management. I got out of school.

Melody Campbell (16:29):

And then your career took a detour.

Michael Kurland (16:31):

I decided to interview, I got an interview with the Mets and the only thing they would interview me for, because they don’t tell you that an internship in minor league baseball does not translate to an internship in major league baseball. So the only thing they would interview me for when I graduated college was a ticket sales. And so I went and I interviewed with this girl and she was literally the worst interview I’ve ever had from the second worst interview I’ve ever had. The first worst interview I’ve ever had. And not from my point of view from the person that interviewed me was enterprise Rent-A-Car. Oh my God, this woman, when they give you these questions like if you could you could be like the King of the society. What would you change? Or whatever these dumb questions that some idiot wrote like 30 years ago to ask.

Michael Kurland (17:18):

So she asked me all these crazy questions to trip me up. I was 22 years old. I’m like, I just want to rent cars at your stupid place down here and I heard this is a good place to work for. You serious? I didn’t get the job because I was so thrown off by her ridiculous question, but I’m getting off topic here. But the next interview was this lady, her name was Jamie. I can’t remember her last name. I was probably 23. She was probably 25. She was probably the assistant or maybe she was the head of ticket sales. I don’t know. But she so cutthroat, like, why do you want to work here? Just like eyeballed me up and down. What are you going to bring? You know, this is a hard job. I was like, I’m willing to drive from Connecticut to Queens, New York, which is 45 minutes without traffic to do this because I just want to work for the Mets. She was just awful. And I was like, I’m definitely not getting this job and I didn’t. So I got offered a couple of other jobs in baseball.

Melody Campbell (18:15):

Because you had already done an internship. You didn’t want to do another one.

Michael Kurland (18:18):

No, I got offered an internship, but I got offered a full-time job with the Richmond, I think they were called the Flying Squirrels at the time. This was even before you moved to Richmond and it was like $12 an hour and it was 80 hours a week. I was going to be a part-time groundskeeper. I’ve cut the grass with Grandpa, but I don’t think they’re going to let me hold a Coors Light, push behind, you know? Then the other one was Mobile, Alabama. I did get offered a full-time position down there as like something in the front office. I can’t remember what it was, but it was like 25 grand a year. I didn’t know anything about Mobile, Alabama. And you had this fear of me going to the deep South because I was part Jewish.

Melody Campbell (19:03):

That brings up another story. When you went to school in the South, what did you do?

Michael Kurland (19:09):

You tell the audience, this is what you’re here for. They already know me. What did I do Mom tell the audience.

Melody Campbell (19:15):

So do they know that you’re Jewish?

Michael Kurland (19:19):

Oh, they do now!

Melody Campbell (19:22):

I was a Southern Baptist. Grampy was Catholic and your Dad was Jewish. So we all lived there.

Michael Kurland (19:28):

Grandpa was Catholic, but he was really Jewish, but he didn’t tell anyone. We didn’t find out. So side story, my grandfather who lived with us, his whole life told us he was Roman Catholic his whole life and he wasn’t really my Grandpa. He was my Dad’s really good friend and he became our godfather. So everyone thought he was Roman Catholic and helped raise me and my sister. When he dies, we find out he was Jewish his whole life and that he converted to Catholicism so that he wouldn’t be persecuted. So anyway, that was a great story. That was a big surprise for everyone now after he passed. So, okay. I’m Jewish. Dad’s Jewish.

Melody Campbell (20:04):

So I raised the children as Jewish and it comes time for you to go away to college. Well, you got this scholarship at Lynchburg. I could send you to a private school in Virginia for what I could send you to public school in Connecticut.

Michael Kurland (20:24):

Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! The reason I went to Lynchburg College is because you were friends with Bob Duff and he worked in your real estate office and he’s now a Congressman in Connecticut or something or used to be, and he went to Lynchburg and you came home one day because you wanted to move to Virginia. I had already applied to all the schools. I was all done doing all my applications for college and you came up and were like, you’re gonna apply to one more school and audience, you got to understand one thing about My mom is like, it was not an option to go to go to college or not. Like I was going to college. I had to. I had no options. So I remember one day coming home, as she said earlier, she said it was red, I said it was white. I came home and said, Mom, I don’t want to go to college Mom. It was just because I just wanted to tell her what I wanted to do. I was probably 18 at the time. She was like, cool. Then you can move out and get a job at 18 and you don’t have no roof over your head and you can figure it out the hard way.

Melody Campbell (21:20):

I was like, okay. Maybe college isn’t a bad idea.

Michael Kurland (21:24):

So anyway, Mom comes home one day because she was very excited that I was getting accepted into these colleges. I applied to Wingate University, James Madison, and Georgia Southern. I got into Wingate and Georgia Southern. I didn’t get into James Madison. I got wait-listed. You messed up James Madison, just going to say.  My mom comes home and she’s got this pamphlet and she had printed it out at work. She’s like, I want you to apply to this school. I’m like, what school is it? She’s like Lynchburg College. I’m like Lynchburg. That sounds racist. And she’s like, “Eh, it’s fine and it’s a good school. Bob Duff went there.” That’s his name? Right? Bob Duff. Bob Duff went there and he said, it was like it was in Playboy’s top 10 party schools back in the eighties and I was like, okay, I’m applying right now. So she knew what she was doing. So she got me to apply and any way, continue to telling the story. So the reason that college is so expensive is your fault, not mine.

Melody Campbell (22:21):

So anyway Lynchburg is in the deep South, in the Bible Belt, mind you and the first semester that Michael is down at college, he goes out and what does he do? He gets his Hebrew name tattooed on his shoulder and then he comes home and he’s all proud about it. And I find out, I said, Oh my God, that’s like waving a red flag at a bull. You don’t do that because “I am who I am. And I’m proud of it.” And I must say, I am very proud of you for your beliefs.

Michael Kurland (23:00):

Well, I mean, it’s not like I’m a really big at practicing right now, but yes, I mean, I am who I am. So, if you like me, cool, if you don’t like me, that’s also cool. We don’t have to be friends. So I’ve always marched to the tune of my own drummer. I actually went with Chris Albert. This is a funny story. The one with Christopher Albert, who was one of my oldest friends and we turned 18. He turned 18 in May of 1997. I was already 18 for two months. We had said, okay, you’re 18. Let’s go down to Dermaflix was the Norwalk tattoo shop that everyone got their tattoos out of such a great idea.

Michael Kurland (23:38):

You saved up all your like part-time work money and we went in on a Saturday afternoon and I knew what I wanted. I had written my human name, put this on my left shoulder. It’ll be cool. So we put that on there. It wasn’t cool. It was, you know, I’ve since added, it’s still there, but there’s a lot more there now, which it makes it look cooler. It’s not the focal point. Chris walks in at 18 and if I would march to the tune of my own drummer, Chris is out there even more and Chris walks in and he says, I’m going to go big.

Michael Kurland (24:10):

I said, what do you mean you’re going to go big? He’s like, I’m gonna get some crazy, awesome. I was like, what’s crazy and awesome dude. He starts flipping through the book and he finds this like cow skull, this humongous cow skull with like feathers. It’s like this old Indian tribal looking cow skull with like feathers hanging off the horn. I mean it was cool looking. He’s like, I got to get that. The tattoo is just like, the artist was like, “Dude, you’re going to get that for your first tattoo?” He was like, “I’ll give you 50% off if you get that right now.” And he’s like, yeah! So I go first, right? I get this tattoo done and it takes like 30 seconds and it doesn’t hurt because it’s on your shoulder, which is like literally the easiest place to get a tattoo.

Michael Kurland (24:56):

He goes second. I hang out with him and his takes literally four hours. It was on his spine, from shoulder blade to shoulder blade, halfway down his spine. This kid had a high tolerance for pain. I remember the artist was shoving tongue depressors in his mouth so he wouldn’t bite his hand anymore because he was biting through his fist because he was in so much pain. And I’m laughing because I’m like, you’re an idiot bro. But anyway. Okay. So let’s get back on task here. We’ve got all these good stories. So what was the biggest challenge of raising me and Meredith?

Melody Campbell (25:33):

Keeping you from fighting and killing one another. I mean there’s only 17 months between the two of you.

Michael Kurland (25:40):

Irish twins. Irish twins. We’re not Irish at all but Irish twins.

Melody Campbell (25:44):

Meredith always adored you when she was little. But because you had become ill before she was born, you were still coming out of a phase where you didn’t want anybody else around but Mom. But anyway, she used to tag along after you and you want to keep pushing her away and I kept telling you that you guys needed to be nice to one another, because one day you’re going to be each other’s best friend.

Michael Kurland (26:27):

You did. You did say that.

Melody Campbell (26:30):

Ta dah! Sometimes moms do know what they’re talking about. As you grew older, you guys figured if you joined forces, you could probably get away with a lot more things, which was true.

Michael Kurland (26:37):

Oh yeah, yeah. Once we got older, I mean, I got away with everything Meredith. I just broke you guys in for Meredith. She was easy though. I mean, Meredith never really wanted to do anything. She was very mellow. I was a wild child and I think that’s still true today.  I’m the one that you’re the most worried about. But Meredith has gotten a little bit, she’s done a few things that I’m like, okay Mer, like getting her motorcycle license. I was like, all right.  So tell this story though. I don’t know if you have it, like later on down here, but let’s talk about me as a younger child. I was a handful, correct?

Melody Campbell (27:24):

Yes, you were. Especially when you were teaming up with any of your friends and I remember one time you and John threw eggs.

Michael Kurland (27:34):

Oh, we don’t want to tell that story. We don’t want to tell this story. This is destruction of property. Okay, fine. Tell the story. Tell the story.

Melody Campbell (27:44):

All I remember is I was in the kitchen and the doorbell rang and I go to the front door and there was this lady there or young girl telling me, do you know what your kids have done? What your boys have done? I said, I only have one. What are you talking about? She goes, they threw eggs at my car, which surprised me because I didn’t think you were out of the house. I thought you were still upstairs.

Michael Kurland (28:09):

Oh, so audience, I was very smart. Like my Mom said. Sometimes too smart. This was one of those instances. I thought I was too smart. I thought, first of all, it was a good idea to throw eggs at cars. I was 12. So lady out there whose car I hit, I’m very sorry. We thought, because it was dark outside, we could walk to the edge of our lawn, which was right up against the street and no one would see us if we dressed in darker clothes. The streetlights are very bright. So we hit this lady’s car and that was not my finest moment. But I actually was hoping, you’d tell the story of when I was a kid. When I was a kid, I was very, I don’t think I was bad.

Michael Kurland (28:54):

You guys just couldn’t get me to listen. And you guys, you specifically, you, because Dad wasn’t around as much. He would be working a lot. So you would threaten me. You had like three levels now in retrospect. First was like grounding. That didn’t really work. Then it was the yardstick and the belt. So I just want you guys to know, my Mom was okay with torture and punishment. I’m just kidding. But she definitely hit me with a yard stick and the belt and to her defense, I deserved it probably 90% of those times because I was a mouthy little kid. So then you would give me a whack with the belt or the yard stick when I got out of hand. But then when you went like nuclear on me and it was like the end. What was, what was your threat?

Melody Campbell (29:46):

Guess? Is that you’re going to say is when I took you to either to the Norwalk library and made you pick out your own military school or took you to the East Norwalk train station, packed your bag and told you, find a town to go to.

Michael Kurland (30:02):

I don’t remember the train one. I was very young at that point. So I must’ve driven you crazy. So my mom, when she figured out that the one thing to make me listen was threaten me with military school because I did not want to go to military school. My grandfather and my Dad were both in the military. They both said I lacked discipline. Bunch of crap and that I needed some discipline in my life and that I would benefit from military school and that was like, I don’t want to go to military school. I started crying and that they figured it out. Okay. We got him now. So my Mom, whenever I’d act really, really bad would tell me, I’m going to ship you off to military school if you don’t knock it off.

Michael Kurland (30:48):

And, it wasn’t at the drop of a hat. I’d had to push her pretty hard and I pushed her hard and I don’t know, I must’ve been six or seven and this woman, so cruel took seven-year-old Michael down to the Norwalk Public Library found the military school section. Pulled out and this was 1986, pulled out this big, big, book. It was like an encyclopedia of every military school in America, slammed it on the floor, told me to sit cross legged and said we’re not leaving till you pick your school. So pick your school. I’m crying my eyes out in the middle of the floor of the library. People are walking by like, what’s wrong with this kid? My Mom’s sitting at the table and I think finally getting some peace and quiet and just reading a book and she’d come over every like five or 10 minutes and be like, did you pick a school yet?

Michael Kurland (31:36):

Pick a school? We’re not leaving till you pick a school, so pick a school. I’m doing one of those like really bad, sad cries, like drooling and like sobbing out of your nose.  So she finally after an hour or so of that said Oh, are you gonna be good on a promise? I’ll be good. Are you going to be good? Okay, we’re going to go home. But if you mess up again, we’re coming back. That was good for probably three days. But anyway, so that was the biggest challenge. So that was one of our funny, funny stories. So let’s talk about what, as a parent, what are some lessons that you learned that will be helpful for other parents?

Melody Campbell (32:12):

Well, I think it all starts at home and I think if you teach them life lessons by example, it makes more sense. I think that if you give your children a foundation such as a religion then once you’re old enough to make your own decisions about what you believe, what your beliefs are, that helps the child and allow your children choices explain the consequences for those choices, allow your children to stub their toe and fall and get back up and try again, support you in all your endeavors. You never know where it’s going to lead you and to keep you active in some activity, whether it be sports, dancing, art, theater, whatever, it keeps you out of trouble and allows you to independence and an imagination and never give up because if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. And you and Meredith are both products of all of that.

Michael Kurland (33:19):

Definitely. I will say you definitely allowed us to make our own choices. You definitely allowed us to be a little bit out there. You were a little over-protective at certain points in our life, I think.

Melody Campbell (33:33):

Well that’s because I never thought I could have kids and you were my world, were my everything.

Michael Kurland (33:39):

I know. But I finally broke in and got you to get over the fear. He’s going to be fine. He might break his arm, but he’ll be fine.

Melody Campbell (33:50):

Did you not break your arm when you fell out of, was that you that fell out of the closet, the Jewish center on Meredith’s birthday party?

Michael Kurland (33:59):

Yup. That was me jumping out of the seven foot closet landing on my wrist and breaking it, jumping off a bannister, breaking my wrist, like just doing stupid, like daredevil things in my younger years that that were so dumb. But that’s how I broke my wrist those two times jumping off a high place.

Melody Campbell (34:19):

Then you wonder why I got upset when you jumped off the bridge when you first went to California. Oh my God! Are you nuts?

Michael Kurland (34:27):

Yeah. So when I first got out here, there’s a bridge that everyone goes bridge jumping off of into the water. I’ll send her a picture. She didn’t like that. She also didn’t like that on my 40th. I jumped out of a plane, but she survived that one as well. So let’s talk about some of your favorite memories. I think we got through some of these already, but let’s talk about a few of these.

Melody Campbell (34:52):

Well the first favorite memory would be the day you were born and I got to hold you for the first time in my arms, taking you to the beach at the North Jewish Community Center. Do you remember? You wouldn’t remember it because you were too little. But we were down there skipping rocks. I was seven and a half months pregnant with Meredith at the beach and we went down there and we were picking up rocks and just skipping them across the water. I don’t know how you managed to pick up this huge rock, but you hurled it. I was just saying, don’t throw and the next thing I know, it caught me upside the head. I went down on my knees saw stars and I’m thinking, holy shit, no one knows where we are. We’re here by ourselves. I can’t pass out. I’ve got us keep this together.

Michael Kurland (35:40):

I probably do remember that memory and thanks for telling the audience that one. I was like, I don’t know, one years old and I do remember, I do vaguely remember that. That’s probably my earliest memory because I remember you were upset and I was like, Oh Whoa, what happened? What did I do?

Melody Campbell (36:02):

The other memories include watching you play your sports, baseball for you and softball for Meredith. The other one was our vacation to Gatlinburg with Grampy climbing Clingmans Dome. Then you also threw a cigarettes out the window and then the car stalled out at the mountain because there’s not enough air in the mountains to keep it going.

Michael Kurland (36:22):

So, my parents had always had an Oldsmobile. My father was very loyal to Oldsmobile and if you guys don’t know what that is. It’s a defunct car company and they weren’t cool. I mean maybe in the sixties they were cool, but in the eighties they were like the least cool car you could own. So we always had an Oldsmobile station wagon and he always had an Oldsmobile sedan and we took Mom’s Oldsmobile station wagon that literally was a lemon. It broke down so many times that they actually traded it in for you under the lemon law, back in the eighties and gave you a new Oldsmobile with Beaver paneling. If you don’t know what Beaver paneling is, look it up. It’s awful. My Mom was so proud. I got this maroon station wagon with Beaver paneling with the seats that face out the back.

Michael Kurland (37:12):

That was cool in the eighties, I guess. So, we’re driving up this mountain in the Smoky Mountains and we get up to the top and we go hike up to the top and it’s a foggy day. You can’t see anything. Then we started driving down and literally it’s like on the side of a cliff and the car stalls and Mom pulls over to the side of the road on the side of the cliff with the car literally on the side of a cliff and I’m freaking out when they get out. And they’re checking the car, seeing what the deal is. Then I’m screaming like, Mom, Mom, I want to get out and you’re like “No, you can’t get out. We’re on the side of a cliff.” So anyway that was not a fun memory, but the rest of that trip was great though.

Melody Campbell (37:54):

Then there was watching you teach your Canadian friends how to play real baseball and your graduations from high school and college or holiday times. Then the trip to Hawaii, the sunrise service on top of Haleakala Mount and the car ride on the road to Hana. Those stand out as wonderful memories and each time that we’re together with you and Alex and Harvey and Meredith and Murphy. It’s Kodak moments.

Michael Kurland (38:25):

Well, yes, Haleakala was great. I actually just saw those pictures the other day. Audience, if you ever get a chance to go to Maui, you do the sunrise at Haleakala, and then you do the bike ride down and you drive up at like three in the morning and you get above the clouds and the sun arises above and they do the morning sunrise prayer and the sunrise is above and the clouds dissipate. And then you get on a bike and you ride down this mountain into town and it’s definitely a memory. That was great. Mom. I was happy that you were able to do that with us too because it’s not hard, but it was definitely like a big commitment.

Melody Campbell (39:04):

It was a, a beautiful family memory that will last a lifetime.

Michael Kurland (39:15):

Well, Mom, I got to say this has been great. I had a lot of fun. I hope you have too. I hope the audience doesn’t think any less of me from my childhood. I was definitely a little crazy kid.
Melody Campbell (39:30):
You made me sound like an ogre.
Michael Kurland (39:33):
No, I don’t think so. I think you just had to deal with me, but I hope everyone had a little fun with this. Moms out there listening, Happy Mother’s Day and Mom, Happy Mother’s Day to you. It’s a little early that we’re recording this so your card will be getting there in time and don’t worry, I’ve also sent you a gift.

Melody Campbell (39:52):

You don’t need to send me a gift just being with you is gift enough.

Michael Kurland (39:57):

I sent you the same thing I sent. I sent send flowers and a card. So you’re getting flowers. Mom, just like I do every year. So thanks for being the best Mom ever and putting up with me. I love you

Melody Campbell (40:12):

I love you too.

Michael Kurland (40:13):

All right, audience until next time.

I’d like to take a minute to thank you, our valued listeners. My intention is for this podcast to inspire you, in some way, to be better.  Change starts from within and radiates outward. Therefore, start with being better to yourself and only then will you recognize how to be better others and your community. Thank you for joining us today! If you want to learn more about Branded Group and our facility management services, then visit us at www.branded-group.com. From our website you can follow us on social media. Also, always feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn. Until next time, Be Better.

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