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The Best Quotes on Fatherhood



Fathers tend to be taken for granted.

We invariably make more of a fuss over Mom on Mother’s Day than Dad on Father’s Day, for one.

Dads are like a steady but less sentimentalized institution — the sun in our familial sky that warms and gives life but isn’t much thought about unless he goes missing.

Yet this belies the enormous impact fathers truly have on their children; while a dad’s nurturing may often take the form of playful roughhousing and silly jokes, his influence is quite serious and significant: the presence of a loving father greatly increases a child’s chances of success, confidence and resilience, physical and mental well-being, and yes, quite naturally, their sense of humor.

One of the manifestations of the way we take fathers for granted is that there exist many more quotes about Mom than dear old Dad (and even fewer about fathers and daughters). To make more accessible those great pearls of wisdom that do exist, we searched high and low for the very best, and created this ultimate treasury of quotes about fatherhood. These short quotations provide great prompts for reflection; typically, we’re so busy plowing ahead that we don’t pause to look up and get a “birds-eye” perspective on things — taking the time to ponder what our own dads meant to us, and the way we’re shaping, and should be savoring, our kids right now.


Quotes About Fatherhood


“You don’t raise heroes, you raise sons. And if you treat them like sons, they’ll turn out to be heroes, even if it’s just in your own eyes.” –Walter M. Schirra, Sr.


“Some dads liken the impending birth of a child to the beginning of a great journey.” –Marcus Jacob Goldman


“One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters.” –George Herbert


“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


“The best way of training the young is to train yourself at the same time; not to admonish them, but to be seen never doing that of which you would admonish them.” –Plato


“The nature of impending fatherhood is that you are doing something that you’re unqualified to do, and then you become qualified while doing it.” –John Green


“One of the greatest things a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” –Howard W. Hunter


“To a father growing old nothing is dearer than a daughter.” –Euripides


“If there is any immortality to be had among us human beings, it is certainly only in the love that we leave behind. Fathers like mine don’t ever die.” –Leo Buscaglia


“That is the thankless position of the father in the family—the provider for all, and the enemy of all.” –J. August Strindberg


“Every father should remember one day his son will follow his example, not his advice.” –Charles Kettering


“Son, there are times a man has to do things he doesn’t like to, in order to protect his family.” –Ralph Moody

“A boy needs a father to show him how to be in the world. He needs to be given swagger, taught how to read a map so that he can recognize the roads that lead to life and the paths that lead to death, how to know what love requires, and where to find steel in the heart when life makes demands on us that are greater than we think we can endure.” –Ian Morgan Cron


“Parenthood remains the single greatest preserve of the amateur.” –Alvin Toffler


“My father didn’t tell me how to live. He lived and let me watch him do it.” –Clarence Budington Kelland


“When you’re a dad, there’s no one above you. If I don’t do something that has to be done, who is going to do it?” –Jonathan Safran Foer, Here I Am


“‘Why do men like me want sons?’ he wondered. ‘It must be because they hope in their poor beaten souls that these new men, who are their blood, will do the things they were not strong enough nor wise enough nor brave enough to do. It is rather like another chance at life; like a new bag of coins at a table of luck after your fortune is gone.’” –John Steinbeck, Cup of Gold: A Life of Sir Henry Morgan, Buccaneer, with Occasional Reference to History


“If the past cannot teach the present, and the father cannot teach the son, then history need not have bothered to go on, and the world has wasted a great deal of time.” –Russell Hoban


“There are many kinds of success in life worth having. It is exceedingly interesting and attractive to be a successful business man, or railway man, or farmer, or a successful lawyer or doctor; or a writer, or a President, or a ranchman, or the colonel of a fighting regiment, or to kill grizzly bears and lions. But for unflagging interest and enjoyment, a household of children, if things go reasonably well, certainly makes all other forms of success and achievement lose their importance by comparison.” –Theodore Roosevelt


“Father!—To God Himself we cannot give a holier name.” –William Wordsworth


“We think our Fathers Fools, so wise we grow; Our wiser Sons, no doubt, will think us so.” –Alexander Pope


“His values embraced family, reveled in the social mingling of the kitchen, and above all, welcomed the loving disorder of children.” –John Cole


“Children are a poor man’s riches.” –English proverb