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Five minutes with Dan Roche

Author GreatDad Writers
Submitted 08-05-2009

Dan Roche is an assistant professor in the Department of English at Le Moyne College, in Syracuse, New York.
His essays have appeared in the North American Review, Under the Sun, the Journal, and sportsjones.

He has written one book on parenting called : Great Expectation: A Father’s Diary
Read review of the book: http://uipress.uiowa.edu/books/2008-fall/roche.htm

He talks about his experiences:

What is the one thing you think parents should know about your work?
That it’s an essayistic memoir, by which I mean that it tells a very personal story of my experience of the time my wife was pregnant with our second child and also reflects on the nature of parenthood in general and on the inevitable intersection of life and death that anyone will encounter if he or she is in his 40s when having young kids.

What are your feelings about the role of the father in child development?
I vote for the essentialness of fathers, whose potential offerings to a child overlap with the mother’s potential offerings 95% of the time.  The other 5% is what I imagine a father or mother can offer by virtue of gender.  It’s a very important 5%.

What is the best thing dads can do in the raising of their children?
To love them without reservation while simultaneously leading them into their own authority.

What is the biggest error dads can make in raising their children?
Being know-it-alls. 

Is there one practical tip you’d suggest to dads?
Bend down to your child’s height and listen to what the kid is saying.

It’s been said that the greatest regret aging men have is that they didn’t spend more time with their kids.   How do you feel about that statement?
I think the kids who didn’t have a dad around enough would feel equally powerful regret, and maybe other things, besides.  Spend the time.  Avoid the regret all around.

Every generation worries that their kids aren’t strong enough to handle the real world.  Do you feel kids need to be “toughened up” by experiencing rough times?
Each generation, no matter how difficult the years of its youth, grows haltingly into its responsibilities, never fulfills them with anything close to perfection, and gains its deepest wisdom after it has turned the reins over to the next generation.  I try to give my kids the blessing of happy childhoods enriched by the strength and wisdom that can only be of their own arduous making.

Or conversely, do you think kids need to be smothered with love to give them storehouse of good feelings with which to deal with the inevitable challenges of life in the real world?
Smothering kids with love is not incompatible with letting them face the challenges of their young lives.  But, yes, a storehouse of love built up early will make things better for those children and for everyone they live, work, and play with forever.

Has anyone inspired you to be a better father? If yes, who?
My kids do.  Even though they are only ten and five, they have surprisingly subtle understandings of what a father should be and do.  They don’t hesitate to assume that I’ll live accordingly.