Fox News’ Chris Wallace on Talking Trash With His Kids and His Proudest Moment as a Dad
"With bringing up kids, it's not what you say. It's what you do."
Chris Wallace has been one of the most iconic journalists of the last half-century, working tirelessly as a White House Correspondent, moderator of Meet the Press, and news anchor for the Sunday night edition of NBC Nightly News. And for the past 15 years, Wallace has been the host of Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.
But while most of the country knows Wallace as a journalist, to a select few, he’s simply known as dad. Wallace is a father to six, some of whom have kids of their own. To find out his thoughts on fatherhood, we presented him with the Fatherly Questionaire. In it, he discusses his proudest moment as a father, his lack of culinary skills, and his affinity for talking trash with his kids during mini golf games.
What is your name?
How old are your children?
They range in age from 43 to 28.
What are their names?
From oldest to youngest: Peter, Megan, Catherine, Andrew, Sarah, and Remick.
Do you have any cute nicknames for your children?
I’m sure over the years I have called them all kinds of things but for the most part, I stick to their names.
What do they call you?
Most of them call me dad but Megan, my oldest daughter, calls me Bom Bom because that is what her kids call me.
How often do you see your kids?
Well, it depends. One of them lives in Washington so I see him at least once a week. Three of them live in New York so I probably see them around once a month. One is in Atlanta and I probably see her a little less than once a month. And finally, one in Mexico City, who I see three to four times a year.
Describe yourself as a father in three words.
Attentive. Caring. Constructively-critical.
Describe your father in three words.
Caring. Difficult. Constructive.
What are your strengths as a father?
I would say I’m present in their lives. I know what’s going on and I care what’s going on with each of them. We talk a lot and, frankly, I don’t think there are a lot of secrets in any of our lives. I offer my advice and I accept when they ignore me.
What are your weaknesses as a father?
If there’s something that bothers me, I will mention it, even when I know I probably shouldn’t.
What is your favorite activity to do with your children?
Hard to pick just one. I love talking with them and telling stories with them. With my sons, I love talking trash when we’re playing games, like mini golf.
What has been the moment you’ve been most proud of as a parent, and why?
It’s not really a moment, I think I’m most proud of the fact that, despite some ups and downs, my kids are all grown up and seem to be happy, healthy adults with good relationships, both professionally and personally. And the two that have children seem to be wonderful parents and I claim a small scoop of responsibility for that.
What heirloom did your father give to you, if any?
I do have an heirloom from my dad in my house in Washington. I have the desk he had in his bedroom and I get great pleasure walking past it every once in a while and putting my hand on the on the desktop and feeling a connection to him.
What heirloom do you want to leave to your children, if any?
I have all kinds of things I want to leave to them. My stepfather, Bill Leonard, was an important figure in my life and he was a journalist. And when he did a radio show, he used to get his more distinguished guests to sign a guest book and I have carried on that tradition during my career.
So now I have, I think, four big books filled nice notes and autographs from some of the people that I’ve interviewed over the years, from presidents to world leaders to sports stars to celebrities. And you know I think about leaving those to my kids.
I also have an autographed Michael Jordan jersey from the time I played basketball with him, which one kid has already claimed.
Describe the “dad special” for dinner.
I say to my wife, “Honey, what’s for dinner?” I’m not much of a cook. Sometimes for holidays or during the weekend, I will make scrambled eggs and sausages but, generally, I leave the cooking to my wife.
Are you religious, and are you raising your children in that tradition?
I believe in God. I don’t know that I subscribe to a particular faith but all six of my kids were brought up in the Catholic tradition. Some have continued to practice and some have not.
What is a mistake you made growing up that you want to ensure your children don’t repeat?
I used to get anxious about a lot of things. I could work myself into quite a snit before I had to take a test and I very much did not want my kids to follow that pattern. But I couldn’t just tell them that, I had to show them through my behavior. With bringing up kids, it’s not what you say, it’s what you do. They don’t pay attention to your words, they pay attention to your actions.
How do you make sure your children know that you love them?
I tell them and I show them through my actions.