Steve Doocy: A Fresh Look at Fatherhood
By Tim Branson
The 700 Club
As co-host for Fox News Channel’s, Fox and Friends, Steve Doocy is known for his wit and humor. At home, he’s not much different. With two kids in college and one at home, he loves to have fun with his kids – but he can get carried away at times!
The 700 Club’s Tim Branson sat down with Steve to talk about his new book, Tales from the Dad Side, and his 21 years as a father.
Tim Branson: Why did you write this book?
Steve Doocy: I think I wanted to write that book just to show that, you know, Dads are out there - we don’t know exactly what we’re doing. We’re doing our best and we love our kids. There aren’t so many books for guys. And, it’s not like we get a lot of advice from our dads, “Just hold him still, he’ll stop crying.” And, ad lib – what I learned early [is] that while guys like to have plans, you should plan to ad lib. There’s a lot of ad libbing in the dad department.
With a boy and two girls, Steve has done plenty of ad-libbing. But he always had good intentions, even if it didn’t turn out quite the way he planned. Take, for example, the tree house he built for his son, Peter.
Steve: Right after I completed it, I called my wife Kathy out and said, “Come take a look at this.” She looked at it and she goes, “That is too tall.” And I looked at it - and she’s right, it’s too high. It’s dangerously high. And suddenly, when she said that, the kids were like, “Well, Daddy, if we fall we’re going to be living in an iron lung machine in the living room the rest of our lives.” So, in total, I would say my son Peter, who I built that for, has spent eight minutes in it, his entire life.
Then there’s the time his daughters, Mary and Sally, asked him to take them for a manicure, and Steve got more than he bargained for.
Steve: Initially, I thought once again I was just a roadie, and take ‘em to the nail salon and I would go and read a two-year-old Martha Stewart magazine. And they said, “Dad, aren’t you going to get something?” (Pouts like his girls) They talked me into something called the Mani-pedi, which is the manicure - which is the fingernails and the pedicure - which is your feet. First of all, it was torture. I hated it. But, at the end, my daughter Mary said, “Dad, this was really great to take the time to do this with me,” because I didn’t really want to do it.
Steve explained that afterward, they went to his gym where Steve ran into a friend in the locker room.
Steve: He goes, “You know, that was really great. I saw you and your daughter out there. You know, all my kids have gone away.” And I looked over and he was staring at my feet, and he said, “Hey Steve, how come your toes are so shiny?” Oh, the things we do for our kids.
Tim: At least it was clear [polish].
Steve: It was.
Tim: Hopefully it was clear.
Steve: Who said it was clear?
Tim: What was the one thing you wanted to give to your kids that perhaps you didn’t have growing up?
Steve: When my dad was a traveling salesman we moved, I think, seven times before I was 14. There was no real home. Of course, it was wherever my mom and dad were and the house we were living in. But, I thought it was important, when I became a father, and Kathy agreed, that we would live in one place. When we would move in this house, we said, “This is the place we want to raise our kids.” This is where my kids ran down the stairs. This is home and I wanted them to always know where home was.
Steve also talks about his own dad in the book. He never made much money or rubbed elbows with celebrities, but his example shaped Steve’s role as a father.
Steve: Dad showed me how to do everything; showed me how to do plumbing and electricity, and shingle a roof and fix a carburetor - funniest guy I ever met in my whole life. He’s a great role model because he never really put on airs; he just wanted the best for his kids. And, of his many traits, I’ve picked up many of them; but that’s the one that stuck the most is - you know, you just want the best for your kids.
Steve often relies on humor to navigate the twists and turns of fatherhood. But, when his third child, Sally, was just a baby, she needed eye surgery. That’s when Steve turned to God.
Steve: I tell you something, there is nothing quite as terrifying as handing your one-year-old over to a scrub nurse who’s going to take her into an operating room. She was my third child – but I never prayed like I prayed for her with the other two because they never faced anything like that. About an hour later, she came out and she was fine. But, my wife and I, it was the hardest thing we’d ever gone through. But, sometimes you’ve got to put your faith in the Man, “I’m going to be out here, please be in there with her.”
Tim: Did that moment affect the way you approached parenting?
Steve: That particular moment I had was unlike any other moment I had had as a parent. When you’re a parent and you’re praying for your child – that’s as close to your soul as you can get; because you really mean it, because it’s about your kids.
Steve and his wife Kathy will soon be empty nesters. But, they both realize that their children will always carry with them the memories and laughter of home.
Tim: Every child has a thumbprint, if you will, of their father on their lives. What impression do you want your children to have from you?
Steve: I’m hoping my kids take life seriously, but don’t take themselves too seriously. There’s a lot of important stuff they can do with their lives, but at the same time you’ve got to have a laugh. My dad’s advice to me always was, “You need to work hard; and at the end of the day you’ve got to feel like you did a good job.” And so, I do work hard and at the end of the day, I want to feel like I did a good job. But it’s not just with my job; it’s with my family. And if you do that, you don’t have any trouble falling asleep. And believe me, I fall asleep early.
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