“30 For 30″ Father’s Day Campaign 2015: Interview 19 – Peter Rock, 47, USA

Welcome to The Pixel Project’s “30 For 30″ Father’s Day Campaign 2015! In honour of Father’s Day, we created this campaign:

  • To acknowledge the vital role Dads play in families, cultures and communities worldwide.
  • To showcase good men from different walks of life who are fabulous positive non-violent male role models.

Through this campaign, we will be publishing a short interview with a different Dad on each day of the month of June.

This campaign is also part of a programme of initiatives held throughout 2015 in support of the Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign that is in benefit of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and The Pixel Project. Donate at just US$1 per pixel to reveal the mystery Celebrity Male Role Models and help raise US$1 million for the cause while raising awareness about the important role men and boys play in ending violence against women in their communities worldwide. Donations begin at just US$10 and you can donate via the Pixel Reveal website here or the Pixel Reveal Razoo donation page here.

Our nineteenth “30 For 30″ 2015 Dad is Peter Rock from the USA.

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The Dad Bio

Peter Rock was born and raised in Salt Lake City, and now he lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife and two fierce young daughters, Ida (8) and Miki (6).  The author of six novels, most recently The Shelter Cycle and My Abandonment, and a story collection, The Unsettling, he has several works forthcoming, including the novel Klickitat and his novel-within-photographs, Spells.  He is also a professor, teaching fiction and non-fiction writing in the English Department at Reed College.

1. What is the best thing about being a dad?

Watching the girls learn (e.g. How to read… and getting lost in books – amazing!). Also watching them wonder, hearing their questions—the way they apprehend the world, without the clutter of too much opinion and experience is an inspiration.

There are so many best things:  another one is just how bewildering and impossible it is, how I am always a little out of my depth, trying to figure out what is the right thing to do with them, to tell them—this relentless challenge is at once terrifying and vivifying.

And I just like the simple, instinctual way they reach out to hold my hand when we’re walking together.  Like that is a natural thing to do.

2. A dad is usually the first male role model in a person’s life and fathers do have a significant impact on their sons’ attitude towards women and girls. How has your father influenced the way you see and treat women and girls?

My father has always been devoted to my mother—sometimes embarrassingly so—and in that way served as an example of how to be in a long-term relationship.  He also coached soccer throughout my childhood, perhaps most notably for my sisters’ teams, and his advocacy for and interest in women’s sports was something I learned from.  Simply watching how his expectations of my sisters—in sports, academics, life—were no different than those he held for me and my brother:  that informed me.

Also, he was and is a huge proponent of daydreaming.

3. Communities and activists worldwide are starting to recognise that violence against women is not a “women’s issue” but a human rights issue and that men play a role in stopping the violence. How do you think fathers and other male role models can help get young men and boys to take an interest in and step up to help prevent and stop violence against women?

I think this is a matter of being an example, but also being quick to question situations that are violent or tinged with violence or sexism.  This goes for situations out in the world, but also in terms of storytelling (as a person who writes and teacher of writing, I have many opportunities to raise these questions).

For me, it’s also a matter of demonstrating that being a person involves respecting all genders and identities, listening to them, to try not to be defensive or insecure.  I’m also married to a doctor who works long hours, so I tend to do the majority of the cooking and much childcare. So I believe that fluidity in “traditional gender roles” has also been an important learning experience for me, and a way in which I can advocate for similarities as opposed to differences.