FATHERS & FATHERHOOD: Greatest Quotes on Fathers & Fatherhood

FATHERS & FATHERHOOD:

Greatest Quotes on Fathers & Fatherhood

compiled by Michael Josephson

Revised March 29, 2016


We are glad you visited us and found these selected quotes on fathers. The Josephson Institute is a nonprofit organization devoted to increasing the ethical quality of individual and personal decision making.  I hope you’ll browse our other entries and subscribe to our ‘What Will Matter’ blog at www.WhatWillMatter.com (it’s free) and/or our ‘What Will Matter’ Facebook Page. I think you will find lots of things you like.

MJ Fathers Day 4

Father's Day 5

About Being a Father

  1. “No word makes me happier than the word “Daddy” uttered by one of my children.”
    • Michael Josephson
  2. “We never know the love of a parent until we become parents ourselves.”
    • Henry Ward Beecher
  3. “Being a father is the most important role I will ever play and if I don’t do this well, no other thing I do really matters.”
    • Michael Josephson
  4. “Being a father is the most important role I will ever play and if I don’t do this well, no other thing I do really matters.”
    • Michael Josephson
  5. “By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he’s wrong.”
    • Charles Wadsworth
  6. “It is a wise father that knows his own child.”
    • William Shakespeare (It’s also a rare father).
  7. “Fifth Commandment: Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land, which the Lord thy God giveth thee.”
    • Exodus 20:12
  8. “One of the greatest tragedies of life is that fathers and sons can love each other deeply without ever getting to know each other. Get to know each other.”
    • Michael Josephson
  9. “I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.”
    • Sigmund Freud
  10. “One of the greatest things about daughters is how they adored you when they were little; how they rushed into your arms with electric delight and demanded that you watch everything they do and listen to everything they say.  Those memories will help you through less joyous times when their adoration is replaced by embarrassment or annoyance and they don’t want you to see what they are doing or hear what they are saying. And yet, you will adore your daughter every day of her life, hoping to be valued again, but realizing how fortunate you were even if you only get what you already got.”
    • Michael Josephson
  11. “It’s a great joy but no test of love or commitment to take your son to a ball game. You really prove your credentials as a good dad when you are willing to take your daughter shopping – more than once.”
    • Michael Josephson
  12. “It is much easier to become a father than to be one.”
    • Kent Nerburn
  13. “One father is more than a hundred Schoolmasters.”
    • George Herbert, 1640
  14. “There are three stages of a man’s life:  He believes in Santa Claus, he doesn’t believe in Santa Claus, he is Santa Claus.”
    • Unknown
  15. “I have found the very best way to advise your children is to find out what they want to do and advise them to do it.”
    • President Harry Truman
  16. “The words that a father speaks to his children in the privacy of home are not heard by the world, but, as in whispering—galleries, they are clearly heard at the end and by posterity.”
    • Jean Paul Richter
  17. “Creating a child takes no love or skill; being a parent requires lots of both.”
    • Michael Josephson
  18. “Sherman made the terrible discovery that men make about their fathers sooner or later… that the man before him was not an aging father but a boy, a boy much like himself, a boy who grew up and had a child of his own and, as best he could, out of a sense of duty and, perhaps love, adopted a role called Being a Father so that his child would have something mythical and infinitely important: a Protector, who would keep a lid on all the chaotic and catastrophic possibilities of life.”
    • Tom Wolfe
  19. “Father! — to God himself we cannot give a holier name.”
    • William Wordsworth
  20. “Sometimes the poorest man leaves his children the richest inheritance.”
    • Ruth E. Renkel
  21. “I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.”
    • Umberto Ec
  22. “The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.”
    • Theodore Hesburgh
  23. “Blessed indeed is the man who hears many gentle voices call him father!”
    • Lydia M. Child, Philothea 1836
  24. “There’s something like a line of gold thread running through a man’s words when he talks to his daughter, and gradually over the years it gets to be long enough for you to pick up in your hands and weave into a cloth that feels like love itself.”
    • John Gregory Brown
  25. “Your father, Jo. He never loses patience―never doubts or complains―but always hopes, and works and waits so cheerfully that one is ashamed to do otherwise before him.”
    • Louisa May Alcott, Little Women
  26. “To her, the name of father was another name for love.”
    • Fanny Fern, Fresh Leaves
  27. “A man never stands as tall as when he kneels to help a child.”
    • Knights of Pythagoras
  28. “The father who does not teach his son his duties is equally guilty with the son who neglects them.”
    • Confucius
  29. “My son, a perfect little boy of five years and three months, had ended his earthly life. You can never sympathize with me; you can never know how much of me such a young child can take away. A few weeks ago I accounted myself a very rich man, and now the poorest of all.”
    • Ralph Waldo Emerson, on the death of his son
  30. “The heart of a father is the masterpiece of nature.”
    • Antoine-François, Abbé Prévost d’Exiles
  31. “The father of a daughter is nothing but a high—class hostage. A father turns a stony face to his sons, berates them, shakes his antlers, paws the ground, snorts, runs them off into the underbrush, but when his daughter puts her arm over his shoulder and says, “Daddy, I need to ask you something,” he is a pat of butter in a hot frying pan.”
    • Garrison Keillor
  32. “I love my father as the stars — he’s a bright shining example and a happy twinkling in my heart.”
    • Terri Guillemet
  33. “Dad, your guiding hand on my shoulder will remain with me forever.”
    • Unknown
  34. “My daddy, he was somewhere between God and John Wayne.”
    • Hank Williams, Jr.
  35. “Sherman made the terrible discovery that men make about their fathers sooner or later… that the man before him was not an aging father but a boy, a boy much like himself, a boy who grew up and had a child of his own and, as best he could, out of a sense of duty and, perhaps love, adopted a role called Being a Father so that his child would have something mythical and infinitely important: a Protector, who would keep a lid on all the chaotic and catastrophic possibilities of life.”
    • Tom Wolfe, The Bonfire of the Vanities
  36. “You will find that if you really try to be a father, your child will meet you halfway.”
    • Unknown
  37. The father is always a Republican toward his son, and his mother’s always a Democrat.”
    • Robert Frost
  38. “Why are men reluctant to become fathers? They aren’t through being children.”
    • Cindy Garner
  39. “Being a great father is like shaving. No matter how good you shaved today, you have to do it again tomorrow.”
    • Reed Markham

About Dad

  1. “I decided in my life that I would do nothing that did not reflect positively on my father’s life.”
    • Sidney Poitier
  2. “Lately all my friends are worried that are turning into their fathers. I’m worried I’m not.”
    • Dan Zevin
  3. “My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.”
    • Jim Valvano
  4. “I am not ashamed to say that no man I ever met was my father’s equal, and I never loved any other man as much.”
    • Hedy Lamarr
  5. “To be the father of growing daughters is to understand something of what Yeats evokes with his imperishable phrase ‘terrible beauty.’ Nothing can make one so happily exhilarated or so frightened: it’s a solid lesson in the limitations of self to realize that your heart is running around inside someone else’s body. It also makes me quite astonishingly calm at the thought of death: I know whom I would die to protect.”
    • Christopher Hitchens
  1. “I always wondered why God was supposed to be a father,” she whispers. “Fathers always want you to measure up to something. Mothers are the ones who love you unconditionally.”
    • Jodi Picoult
  1. “The view from atop your shoulders was the best I’ve ever had. I see more, know more and can do more because of you dad. I am who I am because of you dad.”
    • Unknown
  2. “I talk and talk and talk, and I haven’t taught people in 50 years what my father taught by example in one week.”
    • Mario Cuomo
  3. “Mom and Dad were married 64 years. And if you wondered what their secret was, you could have asked the local florist — because every day Dad gave Mom a rose, which he put on her bedside table. That’s how she found out what happened on the day my father died — she went looking for him because that morning, there was no rose.”
    • Mitt Romney
  4. “He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.”
    • Clarence Budington Kelland
  5. “Dad, you’re someone to look up to no matter how tall I’ve grown.”
    • Unknown
  6. “Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away.”
    • Dinah Craik
  7. “Dad, your guiding hand on my shoulder will remain with me forever.”
    • Unknown
  8. “It’s only when you grow up, and step back from him, or leave him for your own career and your own home—it’s only then that you can measure his greatness and fully appreciate it. Pride reinforces love.”
    • Margaret Truman
  9. “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.”
    • Mark Twain
  10. “I just wish I could understand my father.”
    • Michael Jackson
  11. “My mother protected me from the world and my father threatened me with it. “
    • Quentin Crisp
  12. “My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say, “You’re tearing up the grass.”  “We’re not raising grass,” Dad would reply.  “We’re raising boys.”
    • Harmon Killebrew
  13. “Old as she was, she sometime still missed her daddy. “
    • Gloria Naylor
  14. “It doesn’t matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was. “
    • Anne Sexton
  15. “I watched a small man with thick calluses on both hands work fifteen and sixteen hours a day. I saw him once literally bleed from the bottoms of his feet, a man who came here uneducated, alone, unable to speak the language, who taught me all I needed to know about faith and hard work by the simple eloquence of his example.”
    • Mario Cuomo
  16. “Father!
    My father knows the proper way / The nation should be run; / He tells us children every day / Just what should now be done.
    He knows the way to fix the trusts,/ He has a simple plan;/ But if the furnace needs repairs, /We have to hire a man.
    My father, in a day or two / Could land big thieves in jail; / There’s nothing that he cannot do,/ He knows no word like “fail.”
    “Our confidence” he would restore, / Of that there is no doubt; / But if there is a chair to mend,/ We have to send it out.
    All public questions that arise,/ He settles on the spot; / He waits not till the tumult dies, /But grabs it while it’s hot.
    In matters of finance he can / Tell Congress what to do; / But, O, he finds it hard to meet / His bills as they fall due.
    All wars he’d very quickly end, / As fast as I can write it; / But when a neighbor starts a fuss, / ‘Tis mother has to fight it.
    In conversation father can / Do many wondrous things; / He’s built upon a wiser plan / Than presidents or kings.
    He knows the ins and outs of each / And every deep transaction; / We look to him for theories, /
    But look to ma for action”
  • Edgar A. Guest

Father’s Day

  1. “Your father doesn’t need another Father’s Day tie, wallet, or sweater. If you want to give him a gift he will treasure forever, buy a nice picture frame. Inside it put a handwritten note telling him he did a good job with specific memories of how he’s enriched your life. Then tell him how much you love him. “
    • Michael Josephson
  2. “I was so lucky to have you as a dad; I can’t wait to have my kids have you as a grand dad.”
    • Unknown
  3. The greatest gift I ever had came from God; I call him Dad!”
    • Unknown

The Three Best Father’s Day Presents I Ever Got:  

  1. (1) “Happy Father’s Day to the best father I know. You are so loving, caring and strong. I know you are always on my side and my biggest supporter. I love you, Daddy.”
    • Samara Josephson, June 17, 2012.
  1. (2) “Happy Father’s Day to the best one I could ask for. Thank you for your unwavering support, for teaching me everything I know, and for loving me unconditionally. I love you more than you’ll ever know.
    • Carissa Josephson, June 17, 2012
  1. (3) “You’re the greatest man I know. Thank you for always being there for me and guiding me. You’re the closest thing to a superhero. You know your dad’s awesome when you’d love him even if he wasn’t your dad. Lucky enough for me, he is my dad. Coolest dad I could ask for. I love you, Michael Josephson. Looking forward to many, many, many more years of annoying you.”
    • Your favorite daughter, Mataya Josephson, June 17, 2012.

— Michael Josephson

 

 

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