Glenn Beck on His Kids, Fatherhood, and His Difficult Relationship With His Dad
"It doesn't matter if I'm dating, or married, or raising kids, I'm clueless with girls. In any relationship, I'm clueless."
Whether on TV, the radio, or, thanks to The Blaze, the internet, Glenn Beck has been a ubiquitous figure for over a decade. He is, depending on one’s perspective, a conservative reactionary or an inveterate truth teller. But he definitely is a shrewd operator and entrepreneur. After leaving Fox News in 2011, Beck founded his own news and entertainment network, which quickly grew into a media juggernaut and has now become an incubator for conservative personalities like Tomi Lahren and one-sided policy discussions optimized for virality.
Fascinatingly — and a bit unexpectedly — as Beck has branched out and grown his brand, he has also become more introspective. Has he changed his mind on abortion or gun control? He has not. But he has, in a sense, changed his mind about Glenn Beck.
What Beck is publically reconsidering is the effect of polarization and political demonization of both liberals and conservatives, which he now acknowledges has created serious problems for America. To that end, he has started making some muted calls for unity, which is exactly the thing no one associated him with a few years ago. Is he doing this for his kids? To leave them a better country? In part, yes. He’s got four of them and a father with whom he had a trying relationship and he’s attempting to do better. He happens to be doing that under a massive spotlight of his own construction.
Beck took the Fatherly Questionnaire from his home base in Houston.
What is your name?
What is your occupation?
What is your age?
How old are your children?
They are 11, 13, 25, and almost 30.
What are their names?
The youngest is Cheyenne Grace. Ray William is my son at 13. Hannah Rose is my second oldest. Mary Kate is my oldest.
Are they named after anyone in particular?
Only Mary Kate. Mary Kate was my mother’s name. She passed away when I was about 15 years old.
Do you have any cute nicknames for your children?
Not that I’m going to share. I torture them enough.
What do they call you?
My oldest still calls me “daddy.” The rest call me “dad.”
How often do you see them?
Every day. My oldest works for a charity that I started right here in my studio complex. My son-in-law works here. My kids either live with me or they live right next door. We have dinner together. We’re with each other and the grand-babies.
Describe yourself as a father in three words.
Fun, loving, and present — or stable.
Describe your father in three words.
Workaholic, distant, and confusing. He passed away just a couple of years ago. We were estranged at the time. I had a very complex relationship with my dad. Some of it has been solved, some of it hasn’t. This is going to sound horrible, but we weren’t even allowed to have a funeral for my dad because of the family situation.
My father grew up in a family of abuse. His mother was abused by his dad. He swore that he would never abuse his kids. He didn’t. He married an abuser. When I was 16 we were arguing, and I said, ‘I’m never going to be like you.’ With tears in his eyes, he said, ‘Son, that is the best thing that you’ve ever said to me.’ That made me even madder. When I said, that he was distant. He was kind of like Spock. He was very logical and, in some ways, cold.
What are your strengths as a father?
I am good at diffusing, believe it or not. And fusing. I am, at this point, not afraid of being who I am with my kids. I’m not afraid of, ‘Oh, I’m dad. I’ve got to do this because that’s what dads do.’ I’m just who I am.
What are your weaknesses as a father?
It doesn’t matter if I’m dating, or married, or raising kids, I’m clueless with girls. In any relationship, I’m clueless. I can’t tell you how many times I have said something, the kids would walk out, and she just look at me like, ‘What the hell were you thinking?’ I’m like, ‘What? Is that bad? You don’t say it?’
Also, I’m a workaholic.
What is your favorite activity to do with your children? That is, your special father and kid thing?
Reading with my kids. Just talking with my kids. Something simple like playing cards, which is a way to just talk to them. I really enjoy just hanging out with them.
What heirloom did your father give to you if any?
Nothing physical. An inquisitive mind. My father never called God, ‘God.’ And I thought for a long time he was an atheist. But he wasn’t. He had a profound belief in God, but he never used the same kind of language that everybody else did. When I was older, he said, ‘If we’re going to have this conversation, let’s call Him or it ‘First Cause.’ God means too many different things to too many people. If you believe in the Big Bang, great. What caused that? What was the spark that lit that? What was first?” And so he really gave me a sense of questioning and a sense of looking at things differently.
What heirlooms do you want to leave to your children, if anything?
I just want them to remember the safety of the family, the stability, the love.
Describe the “Dad Special” for dinner.
It’s McGriddles. The greatest day in my life was the day that they made McGriddles after 10:30 in the morning.