Larry A. Drum, MD

Dr. Drum is the father of three sons. He is the CEO of Memorial Sports and Internal Medicine, the medical director and team physician for Long Beach State, and a three-time Summer Olympic Physician in 2000, 2004, and 2008.

How many children do you have, and what are their ages? Three boys, ages 23, 22, and 17

What was the biggest challenge you faced while your wife was pregnant and/or as a dad, and how did you overcome it? Raising a son with autism was a real challenge. You never overcome these kinds of challenges. Life is dynamic and continuous. You meet challenges halfway and look for opportunities to teach, guide, and mentor. Look at what a child can do, and don’t focus on what they can not. Laugh along the way, cry often, and remember that dads can be best friends, too.

What’s the most surprising lesson that being a dad has taught you? That when a special needs child comes into a family, all of the offspring have special needs. As a father, you must give balance when raising a family. A special needs child may be the squeaky wheel, but you must pay attention to the others, as well. When you check in with the others, don’t just assume they are okay just because they say so, but make sure with pointed questions about school friends and sports.

What’s the one bit of advice about fatherhood you wish someone had given you much earlier? Don’t feel like you have to fix everything. I learned the hard way that I was keeping my family from growing up because I was the problem-solver, mechanic, and cab driver. Now we problem-solve independently …. becoming fishermen.

What’s the one thing about being a new dad that shouldn’t be missed? How to make a diaper when you don’t have one!

What’s the most underrated thing about fatherhood? Fathers can be nurturing, as well.

Why are fathers important? Fathers tend to look at the big picture. They see life through a telescope rather than a microscope. They are more apt to be macro-managers rather than micro-managers. Therefore, little problems rarely alter the path of parenting. Fathers tend to overcome problems without persistent dwelling or worrying about the outcome. They can shift gears to other topics and people without persistent baggage that weighs them down from previous conflicts.

Career, marriage, kids … how does a guy stay sane? Focus on happiness … for you and those you love. If you are not happy at work, home with your spouse, or with friends, then it’s time to take a snapshot of your life and ask yourself why. The resolve can be from within if your attitude is the cause.

Profile by Wyatt Myers

Dr. Drum’s Q&A:

What should we do if we think our child has autism?