Famous Dad Poems to Inspire Your Father’s Day Card Message

dad poems
Morsa Images/Getty

We know plenty of dads that are sometimes goofballs or hard-asses, but even the burliest of dads have a soft side. (You have one, too. We’ve seen it.) Some like meaningful quotes about fathers, some like funny quips about fatherhood, and some even like poetry. Luckily, poets like their dads in return and have been writing about their fathers for centuries. And even if you skip over all the ones about less-than-awesome dads, you’re still left floating in a sea of love and hero worship. Don’t you think your pops would like to see a little bit of that love when he opens his Father’s Day card this year? Hidden under a gift card, of course.

With that in mind, we’ve rounded up these fairly famous poems about dads perfect for even the least sappy pappy.

“Those Winter Sundays” by Robert Hayden

Sundays too my father got up early

and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,

then with cracked hands that ached

from labor in the weekday weather made

banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.

When the rooms were warm, he’d call,

and slowly I would rise and dress,

fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Speaking indifferently to him,

who had driven out the cold

and polished my good shoes as well.

What did I know, what did I know

of love’s austere and lonely offices?

 

“Father’s Song” by Gregory Orr

Yesterday, against admonishment,

my daughter balanced on the couch back,

fell and cut her mouth.

Because I saw it happen I knew

she was not hurt, and yet

a child’s blood so red

it stops a father’s heart.

My daughter cried her tears;

I held some ice

against her lip.

That was the end of it.

Round and round: bow and kiss.

I try to teach her caution;

she tries to teach me risk.

 

“The Gift” by Li-Young Lee

To pull the metal splinter from my palm

my father recited a story in a low voice.

I watched his lovely face and not the blade.

Before the story ended, he’d removed

the iron sliver I thought I’d die from.

I can’t remember the tale,

but hear his voice still, a well

of dark water, a prayer.

And I recall his hands,

two measures of tenderness

he laid against my face,

the flames of discipline

he raised above my head.

Had you entered that afternoon

you would have thought you saw a man

planting something in a boy’s palm,

a silver tear, a tiny flame.

Had you followed that boy

you would have arrived here,

where I bend over my wife’s right hand.

Look how I shave her thumbnail down

so carefully she feels no pain.

Watch as I lift the splinter out.

I was seven when my father

took my hand like this,

and I did not hold that shard

between my fingers and think,

Metal that will bury me,

christen it Little Assassin,

Ore Going Deep for My Heart.

And I did not lift up my wound and cry,

Death visited here!

I did what a child does

when he’s given something to keep.

I kissed my father.

 

“Only A Dad” by Edgar Guest

Only a dad, with a tired face,

Coming home from the daily race,

Bringing little of gold or fame,

To show how well he has played the game,

But glad in his heart that his own rejoice

To see him come, and to hear his voice.

Only a dad, with a brood of four,

One of ten million men or more.

Plodding along in the daily strife,

Bearing the whips and the scorns of life,

With never a whimper of pain or hate,

For the sake of those who at home await.

Only a dad, neither rich nor proud,

Merely one of the surging crowd

Toiling, striving from day to day,

Facing whatever may come his way,

Silent, whenever the harsh condemn

And bearing it all for the love of them.

Only a dad, but he gives his all

To smooth the way for his children small,

Doing, with courage stern and grim,

The deeds that his father did for him.

This is the line that for him I pen,

Only a dad, but the best of men.

 

“Danse Russe” by William Carlos Williams

If I when my wife is sleeping

and the baby and Kathleen

are sleeping

and the sun is a flame-white disc

in silken mists

above shining trees,—

if I in my north room

dance naked, grotesquely

before my mirror

waving my shirt round my head

and singing softly to myself:

“I am lonely, lonely.

I was born to be lonely,

I am best so!”

If I admire my arms, my face,

my shoulders, flanks, buttocks

against the yellow drawn shades,—

Who shall say I am not

the happy genius of my household?

 

“Fish Fry Daughter” by Sara Ries

Holiday Inn kitchen, the day I am born:

My father is frying fish for a party of seventeen

when the call comes from the hospital. He stays

until the batter is crispy, cold salads scooped

on platters, rye bread buttered.

 

Dad never told me this story.

He told my boyfriend, one short order cook to another.

Mom doesn’t know why Dad was late

for her screams and sweat on the hospital bed.

 

Once, when she was angry with him, she told me:

When your father finally got there, the nurse had to tell

him to get upstairs, “Your wife is having that baby now.”

 

I hope that when Dad first held me,

it was with haddock-scented hands, apron

over his black pants still sprinkled with flour,

forehead oily from standing over the deep fryer,

telling the fish to hurry hurry.

23 Meaningful Quotes to Read When You’re Missing Your Own Father

miss you dad quotes
(Getty/Sumala Chidchoi/EyeEm)

“There is no expiration date on the love between a father and his child.” These words by writer and HealingBrave.com founder Jennifer Williamson ring true no matter your age. Especially so for those of us who have lost our fathers. Somehow, becoming a parent only magnifies that loss as you realize the depth of a father’s love seems to grow by leaps and bounds every day. And while meaningful quotes about fathers and fatherhood can help most of the time, sometimes you need to have that longing and absence put into words.

With that in mind, we’ve gone ahead and rounded up the most poignant quotes about missing your own father.

“My dad was my best friend and greatest role model. He was an amazing dad, coach, mentor, soldier, husband and friend.” – Tiger Woods

“I think about me and my dad taking a road trip from Phoenix to Nashville when I was 19. He’s no longer here with me, but I still drive that same 1994 Chevy truck. I never have bought a new car.” – Dierks Bentley

“The loss of my father was the most traumatic event in my life – I can’t forget the pain.” – Frank Lowy

“It is not flesh and blood but the heart which makes us fathers and sons.” – Johann Friedrich Von Schiller

“Say not in grief ‘he is no more’ but in thankfulness that he was.” – Hebrew Proverb

“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could ever give another person. He believed in me.” – Jim Valvano

“This is the price you pay for having a great father. You get the wonder, the joy, the tender moments – and you get the tears at the end, too.” – Harlan Coben

“My appreciation for my father’s greatness cannot be measured.” – Jennifer Williamson

“No matter how old we are, we still need our dads, and wonder how we’ll get by without them.” – Jennifer Williamson

“A father’s love is forever imprinted on his child’s heart.” – Jennifer Williamson

“Dad is and always will be my living, breathing superhero.” – Bindi Irwin

“Deeply, I know this, that love triumphs over death. My father continues to be loved, and therefore he remains by my side.” – Jennifer Williamson

“You will always be in my heart… because in there you’re still alive.” – Jamie Cirello

“When I was little I bragged about my firefighting father: my father would go to heaven, because if he went to hell he would put out all the fires.” – Jodi Picoult

“Everything I do in my life I do to make my mum and dad proud. I want to carry on in my dad’s footsteps and make sure that his legacy lives on forever.” – Bindi Irwin

“The loss of my father will always sting. But now, everything that I do is in honor of him and celebrates his life.” – Adrienne C. Moore

“There is no expiration date on the love between a father and his child.” – Jennifer Williamson

“To her, the name of father was another name for love.” – Fanny Fern

“My Father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.” – Clarence Budington Kelland

“Dad, wherever you are, you are gone but you will never be forgotten.” – Conrad Hall

“No matter where I am, your spirit will be beside me. For I know that no matter what, you will always be with me.” – Tram-Tiara T. Von Reichenbach

“If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart. I’ll stay there forever.” – Winnie the Pooh

“May each tear and each fond memory be a note of love rising to meet you.” – Jennifer Williamson

60+ Father’s Day Quotes Approved by Onion Chopping Ninjas

Father's Day Quotes
(Getty/Westend61)

The bond between a father and his child is like no other. It’s tender and loving, fierce and steady, and unique in every way. And while Mother’s Day may get a lot of the limelight each spring, Father’s Day shouldn’t be any less poignant.

Whether you’re looking for a touching or hilarious quote or a saying for a Father’s Day card, the perfect Instagram caption, or if you just want to be all up in your feelings and think of your own relationships on this day, we’ve gone ahead and rounded up the most meaningful quotes about fathers and fatherhood from literary giants and pop culture icons alike.

And as palate cleanser, follow these up with some iconic dad jokes to bring on the cringe. Happy Father’s Day!

father's day quotes
Fox

1. “When my father didn’t have my hand, he had my back.” — Linda Poindexter

2. “A man’s daughter is his heart. Just with feet, walking out in the world.” — Mat Johnson

3. “I’ve said it before, but it’s absolutely true: My mother gave me my drive, but my father gave me my dreams. Thanks to him, I could see a future.” — Liza Minnelli

4. “It is admirable for a man to take his son fishing, but there is a special place in heaven for the father who takes his daughter shopping.” — John Sinor

5. “Anyone can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad, and that’s why I call you dad, because you are so special to me. You taught me the game and you taught me how to play it right.” — Wade Boggs

6. “Old as she was, she still missed her Daddy sometimes.” — Gloria Naylor

7. “If you ever want to torture my dad, tie him up and right in front of him, refold a map incorrectly.” — Cathy Ladman

8. “An almost perfect relationship with his father was the earthly root of all his wisdom.” — C.S. Lewis

9. “No one in this world can love a girl more than her father.” — Michael Ratnadeepak

10. “A father carries pictures where his money used to be.” — Steve Martin

11. “When I come home, my daughter will run to the door and give me a big hug, and everything that’s happened that day just melts away.” — Hugh Jackman

12. “A father is neither an anchor to hold us back nor a sail to take us there, but a guiding light whose love shows us the way.” — Unknown

13. “It’s only when you grow up and step back from him — or leave him for your own home — it’s only then that you can measure his greatness and fully appreciate it.” — Margaret Truman

14. “It was my father who taught me to value myself.” — Dawn French

15. “He adopted a role called Being a Father so that his child would have something mythical and infinitely important: a Protector.” — Tom Wolfe

16. “Sometimes the poorest man leaves his children the richest inheritance.” — Ruth E. Renkel

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

18. “He was a father. That’s what a father does. Eases the burdens of those he loves. Saves the ones he loves from painful last images that might endure for a lifetime.” — George Saunders

19. “I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.” — Sigmund Freud

20. “To her the name of father was another name for love.” — Fanny Fern

21. “You fathers will understand. You have a little girl. She looks up to you. You’re her oracle. You’re her hero. And then the day comes when she gets her first permanent wave and goes to her first real party, and from that day on, you’re in a constant state of panic.” — Stanley T. Banks

22. “A daughter is a treasure and a cause of sleeplessness.” — Ben Sirach

23. “Being a daddy’s girl is like having permanent armor for the rest of your life.” — Marinela Reka

24. “Daddy, thanks for being my hero, chauffeur, financial support, listener, life mentor, friend, guardian, and simply being there every time I need a hug.” — Agatha Stephanie Lin

25. “What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.” — Mother Teresa

26. “Some people don’t believe in heroes but they haven’t met my dad.” — Unknown

27. “My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.” — Jim Valvano

28. “A father’s tears and fears are unseen, his love is unexpressed, but his care and protection remain as a pillar of strength throughout our lives.” — Ama H. Vanniarachchy

29. “My Daddy was my hero. He was always there for me when I needed him. He listened to me and taught me so many things. But most of all he was fun.” — Bindi Irwin

30. “When my daughter says ‘Daddy I need you!’ I wonder if she has any idea that I need her billion times more.” — Stanley Behrman

31. “To a father growing old, nothing is dearer than a daughter.” — Euripides

32. “The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.” —  Richard Bach

33. “Certain is it that there is no kind of affection so purely angelic as of a father to a daughter. In love to our wives there is desire; to our sons, ambition; but to our daughters, there is something which there are no words to express.” — Joseph Addison

34. “With sons and fathers, there’s an inexplicable connection and imprint that your father leaves on you.” —Brad Pitt

35. “I would want my legacy to be that I was a great son, father, and friend.” — Dante Hall

36. “Every son quotes his father, in words and in deeds.” — Terri Guillemets

37. “I love my daddy. My daddy’s everything. I hope I can find a man that will treat me as good as my dad.” — Lady Gaga

38. “Of all the titles I’ve been privileged to have, ‘Dad’ has always been the best.” — Ken Norton

39. “Fathering is not something perfect men do, but something that perfects the man.” — Frank Pittman

40. “When you teach your son, you teach your son’s son.” — The Talmud

41. “The heart of a father is the masterpiece of nature.” — Antoine Francois Prevost

42. “Sons have always a rebellious wish to be disillusioned by that which charmed their fathers.” — Aldous Huxley

43. “Becoming a dad is one thing — being a dad is many things.” — Steve Chapman

44. “A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.” — Billy Graham

45. “I am a family man, and my most important role is a father to my son.” — Ed Skrein

46. “A son needs his father at every situation he faces in present, and a father needs his son at every situation he faces for his son in past.” — Nishan Panwar

47. “It’s a father’s duty to give his sons a fine chance.” — George Eliot

48. “It’s not flesh and blood but the heart that makes us father and son.” — Johann Schiller

49. “By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he’s wrong.” — Charles Wadsworth

50. “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 our own eyes.” — Walter M. Schirra, Sr.

51. “A father is a man who expects his son to be as good a man as he meant to be.” — Frank A. Clark

52. “I hope I can be as good of a father to my son as my dad was to me.” — Calvin Johnson

53. “For thousands of years, father and son have stretched wistful hands across the canyon of time.” — Alan Valentine

54. “Becoming a dad means you have to be a role model for your son and be someone he can look up to.” — Wayne Rooney

55. “My father used to say that it’s never too late to do anything you wanted to do. And he said, ‘You never know what you can accomplish until you try.'” — Michael Jordan

56. “A good father will leave his imprint on his daughter for the rest of her life.” — Dr. James Dobson

57. “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

58. “Fathers, be good to your daughters. You are the god and the weight of her world.” — John Mayer

59. “A father is always making his baby into a little woman. And when she is a woman he turns her back again.” — Enid Bagnold

60. “Every dad, if he takes time out of his busy life to reflect upon his fatherhood, can learn ways to become an even better dad.” — Jack Baker

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

62. “Anyone who tells you fatherhood is the greatest thing that can happen to you, they are understating it.” ― Mike Myers

63. “My dad was my best friend and greatest role model. He was an amazing dad, coach, mentor, soldier, husband and friend.” – Tiger Woods

64. “Say not in grief ‘he is no more’ but in thankfulness that he was.” – Hebrew Proverb

65. “No matter how old we are, we still need our dads, and wonder how we’ll get by without them.” – Jennifer Williamson

66. “A father’s love is forever imprinted on his child’s heart.” – Jennifer Williamson

67. “Dad, wherever you are, you are gone but you will never be forgotten.” – Conrad Hall

68. “No matter where I am, your spirit will be beside me. For I know that no matter what, you will always be with me.” – Tram-Tiara T. Von Reichenbach

69. “When I was little I bragged about my firefighting father: my father would go to heaven, because if he went to hell he would put out all the fires.” – Jodi Picoult

75 Heartwarming Quotes About Dads and Being a Father

75 Heartwarming Quotes about Dads and Being a Father
(Getty/Ray Tamarra)

For a universally understood amalgam of emotions, the complexity of fatherhood is incredibly hard to put into words. What we can say is it’s some combination of love, fear, hope, and just absolutely trying to do your best without having any idea if what you’re doing is right. Thankfully there are many others who have had beautiful things to say. We’ve compiled a list of 75 of these quotes that we think are both incredibly relatable, and a bit inspiring. It’s nice to be reminded that, for feelings so ineffable, all fathers know it, and we’re in it together.

1. “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

2. “My dad was here one minute and now he’s gone. You realize… that’s it. All of the things you work hard for and stress about, you don’t take them with you. Then, when you see your child for the first time, you’re like… ‘WOW,” and you realize that it’s a cycle.” -Idris Elba

3. “The attitude you have as a parent is what your kids will learn from more than what you tell them. They don’t remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are.” -Jim Henson

4. “Anyone who does anything to help a child in his life is a hero.” -Fred Rogers

5. “Success, and even life itself, wouldn’t be worth anything if I didn’t have my children by my side. They mean everything to me.” -Jude Law

6. My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person: he believed in me.” -Jim Valvano

7. “Of all the titles I’ve been privileged to have, Dad has always been the best.” -Ken Norton

8.  “It doesn’t matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was.” -Michael Ratnadeepak

9. “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 Eco

10. “Throughout the years, throughout the ups and downs, I’ve realized that the most important thing that I could do with my daughter is lead a life with love. Not success, not fame, not anything else but ‘I’m always here for you. I love you.’” -Dwayne Johnson

11. “Having a kid is like falling in love for the first time when you’re 12, but every day.” -Mike Myers

12. “I thought I would be more inspired to have all these new feelings to talk about, but I really just want to hang out with my daughter.” -Jay-Z

13. “What I learned most from my father wasn’t anything he said; it was just the way he behaved.” -Jeff Bridges

14. “When one has not had a good father, one must create one.” -Friedrich Nietzsche

15. “I’ve done all kinds of cool things as an actor, but none of it means anything compared to being somebody’s daddy. I made promises in that moment about what kind of dad I wanted to be and I just prayed that he’d live long enough that I could keep that.” -Chris Pratt

16. “When I hear people talk about juggling, or the sacrifices they make for their children, I look at them like they’re crazy, because ‘sacrifice’ infers that there was something better to do than being with your children. Being with my kids is the best, most fun thing. It’s a privilege. It’s not something I call a sacrifice.” -Chris Rock

17. “My girls turned out great. And the way that my parents raised me and my brothers was different but it also worked. I think it’s like a relay race. You run and you hand over the baton and your kids pick it up. They take the stuff they want, throw the rest away and keep running. That’s what life is about.” -Billy Crystal

18. “I mean, I look at my dad. He was 20 when he started having a family, and he was always the coolest dad. He did everything for his kids, and he never made us feel like he was pressured. I know that it must be a great feeling to be a guy like that.” -Adam Sandler

19. “The idea really triggered something inside me about protection and parenting. And I just thought maybe I could make it a metaphor for parenthood: The fact that no matter what, there will come a time when you don’t have control over what your kids do, what they say, what they think. And you just hope that the preparation was enough to get them through and they survive.” -John Krasinski 

20. “When my father passed, I was still an unsuccessful cook with a drug problem. I was in my mid-thirties, standing behind an oyster bar, cracking clams for a living when he died. So, he never saw me complete a book or achieve anything of note. I would have liked to have shared this with him.” -Anthony Bourdain

21. “I have a stepson, five biological children, grandchildren, and a couple of great-grandchildren. And the treasure of all this: I still get a little jump every time I hear ‘Dad.’” -Larry King

22. “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” -Frederick Douglass

23. “My father used to say that it’s never too late to do anything you wanted to do. And he said, ‘You never know what you can accomplish until you try.’” -Michael Jordan

24. “They joy of fatherhood also comes with moments of chaos, crying, tears, trips to doctors, etc. It is important to breathe. Take a deep breath in these moments of chaos. More than anything, cherish each moment.” -Zack Bush

25. “I have a daughter who’s going to be raised in this world, and my music and my art are powerful tools in getting that to be formed the way I want it to.” -Chance the Rapper

26. “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.

27. “Words have an awesome impact. The impression made by a father’s voice can set in motion an entire trend of life.” -Gordon MacDonald

28. “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

29. “I think [fatherhood] changes your relationship with time. I just don’t have time to waste. You gotta be really deliberate with how you choose to spend your day, because those are the moments you’re away from your child.” -Mahershala Ali

30. “Love isn’t enough despite what every sappy love song says; commitment to parenting was the missing piece. Commitment takes love on its back and carries it the whole way. When I’m committed to you, I learn to tell you no — not to hurt you but to help you grow and learn.” -Terry Crews

31. “You know everything you need to know about parenting in your tummy. When your alarm goes off, listen to it. Your instinct. You can double-think yourself, but your instinct is always right. Being a parent, without a doubt, is the most difficult job on the face of the planet. Period.” -Henry Winkler

32. “Kids put life into perspective. Life happens and you get bad news sometimes, or thing don’t go your way at work—for me that might mean I lose a game or not play well—but that doesn’t affect my mood from day to day. I love going home and seeing the smiles my daughters’ faces being happy to see me, and that makes everything all right.” -Steph Curry

33. “My dad taught me about the true value of hard work. He taught me about the importance of honoring commitments and pursuing your passions with a sense of tenacity. I’ve worked really hard to make these values a part of my daily life not just for me, but for [my] kids. Because I really believe it’s less about what you do and more so how you do it that defines your character.” -Chip Gaines

34. “My mother’s dad dropped out of the eight grade to work. He had to. By the time he was 30, he was a master plumber, carpenter, mason, mechanic. That guy was, to me, a magician. Anything that was broken he could fix. Anybody anywhere in our community knew that if there was a problem, Carl was there to fix it.” -Mike Rowe

35. “All you can do is hope, at the end of the road, that you’ve given your kids enough life lessons [so when] it’s time for them to live their life, they can flourish on their own because they’re going to have to make their own path as well. Even though we’ve set them up in the best way possible. And the same thing with being a husband. When you know you’re committed, everything else takes care of itself.” -LeBron James

36. “Our society has taught us that moms are supposed to do this type of stuff, but dads have a responsibility to take part in everything their kids do. I’m a hands-on dad. My kids are older now but they can come to me no matter what.” -Danny Trejo

37. “I used to be embarrassed because I was just a comic book writer while other people were building bridges or going on to medical careers. And then I began to realize: entertainment is one of the most important things in people’s lives. Without it they might go off the deep end. I feel that if you’re able to entertain people, you’re doing a good thing.” -Stan Lee

38. “Never is a man more of a man than when he is the father of a newborn.” -Matthew McConaughey

39. “I think it should be cool to be a good partner, a good spouse, a good father… If I’m one of the people who helps make that cooler, I think that’s great.” -John Legend

40. “Number one thing as a parent: Continuity and consistency. I try to get all my work stuff done when I don’t have the baby, because when I have the baby, everyone else can f*** off.” -Jeremy Renner

41. “I’ve been a parent for three weeks: What do I know? I don’t know anything, but it’s kind of part of the beauty of it, honestly. There are a lot of instincts, a lot of things that kind of kick in and switch on. It’s a beautiful experience.” -Adam Levine

42. “I think that my strong determination for justices comes from the very strong, dynamic personality of my father… I have rarely ever met a person more dearly and courageous… If I had a problem I could always call Daddy.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

43. “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

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

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

46. “‘Father is the noblest title a man can be given. It is more than a biological role. It signifies a patriarch, a leader, an exemplar, a confidant, a teacher, a hero, a friend.” -Robert L. Backman

47. “The hardest part of raising a child is teaching them to ride bicycles. A shaky child on a bicycle for the first time needs both support and freedom. The realization that this is what the child will always need can hit hard.” -Sloan Wilson

48. “Children will not remember you for the material things you gave them but for the feeling that you cherished them.” -Richard L. Evans

49. “Whenever someone was suffering, my dad was there. If he didn’t have Money, it was a smile or an embrace or whatever he had to help. That was around me my whole life.” -Richard Gere

50. “My dad and I were so close. He was my man. He taught me to be a man of my word — that giving my word is like I’ve signed a contract with you.” -Smokey Robinson

51. “Children learn to smile from their parents.” -Shinichi Suzuki

52. “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

53. “It is easier for a father to have children than for children to have a real father.” -Pope John XXIII

54. “I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.” -Sigmund Freud

55. “It’s the most profound gift and the most daunting challenge.” -Matt Bomer

56. “My father didn’t do anything unusual. He only did what dads are supposed to do: be there.” -Max Lucado

57. “I don’t have to prepare to be wrapped around my daughter’s finger. I have been wrapped around her little finger since the day she plopped out into this world.” -Ryan Reynolds

58. “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.” -Harry S. Truman

59. “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

60. [Fatherhood is] the greatest thing that could ever happen. You can’t explain it until it happens; it’s like telling somebody what water feels like before they’ve ever swam in it.” -Michael Bublé

61. “A father is a man who expects his children to be as good as he meant to be.” -Frank A. Clark

62. “When you meet your kids you realize that they deserve great parents. And then you have your marching orders, and you have to try and become the person they deserve.” -Ryan Gosling

63. “Daddies don’t just love their children every now and then, it’s a love without end.” -George Strait

64: “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

65. “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.” -Russel Hoban

66. “Life doesn’t come with an instruction book — that’s why we have fathers.” -H. Jackson Browne

67. “Fathering is not something perfect men do, but something that perfects the man.” -Frank Pittman

68: “I feel like the success of parenthood is feeling like I failed all day today, but I get to wake up tomorrow and do it again. And hopefully they turn out to be a good human being.” -Justin Timberlake

69. “Every parent is at some point the father of the unreturned prodigal, with nothing to do but keep his house open to hope.” -John Ciardi

70. “The strongest, toughest men all have compassion. They’re not heartless and cold. You have to be man enough to have compassion — to care about people and about your children.” -Denzel Washington

71. “Any fool can have a child. That doesn’t make you a father. It’s the courage to raise a child that makes you a father.” -Barack Obama

72. “I feel that the greatest gift I can give my children is the freedom to be who they are.” -Will Smith

73. “I’ve gotten to jump out of helicopters and do daring stunts and play baseball in a professional stadium, but none of them mean anything compared to being somebody’s daddy.” -Chris Pratt

74. “When I looked at you first I saw not your mother and me, but your two grandfathers… and, as my father, whom I loved a great deal, had died the year before, I was moved to see that here, in you, he was alive.” -Peter Carey

75. “I want to experience being a husband, experience being a father, experience, maybe, hopefully, someday being a grandfather, and all those things. I want that experience. When I die, I want to be exhausted.” -Bryan Cranston

Be sure to check out our other list of hilarious quotes about dads and being a father.

75 Hilarious Quotes About Dads and Being a Father

75 Hilarious Quotes About Dads and Being a Father
(Getty/Barry Brecheisen/Stringer)

All fathers have stories about something funny, absurd or absolutely insane their kids have done. It’s nice to have the occasional reminder that we’re not alone in this. All of the things so crazy you think no one else could possibly be dealing with, we’re ALL facing! So we’ve compiled a collection of funny thoughts and stories from some of our favorite famous dads.

1. “I would say that the hardest thing about being a parent is these goddamned kids.” -Andy Richter

2. “You know what it’s like having a fourth kid? Imagine you’re drowning, then someone hands you a baby.” -Jim Gaffigan

3. “A father carries pictures where his money used to be.” -Steve Martin

4. “Having children is like living in a frat house – nobody sleeps, everything’s broken, and there’s a lot of throwing up.” -Ray Romano

5. “In the ‘looks of disappointment’ department, my cat has picked up where my father left off.” -Tom Papa

6. “I think every kid thinks their dad is goofy. Even Johnny Depp’s kid must be like, “Oh my god, my dad with those freakin’ scarves. This isn’t a pirate ship; it’s a Costco, dad.” -Judd Apatow

7. “I have a friend who has no kids but he has tattoos, and he talks about them like they are his kids. He says things like, ‘This is my oldest—it’s my favorite. This one was a result of a long night of drinking. This one came out darker than I expected.’ And so on.” -Keith Alberstadt

8. “My daughter got me a ‘World’s Best Dad’ mug. So we know she’s sarcastic.” -Bob Odenkirk

9. “You don’t need drugs when you have a [baby]. You’re awake, you’re paranoid, you smell bad… it’s the same thing.” -Robin Williams

10. “On our 6 a.m. walk, my daughter asked where the moon goes each morning. I let her know it’s in heaven visiting daddy’s freedom.” -Ryan Reynolds

11. “There should be a children’s song: ‘If you’re happy and you know it, keep it to yourself and let dad sleep.’” -Jim Gaffigan

12. “My daughter said, ‘Why are you yelling at us?’ and I said, ‘I’m trying to discipline you!’ And then she looked up at me with her tear-stained eyes and said, ‘This is how you teach children, by making them cry.’ And it was such a clenching reminder — she won not only the argument, but she won life with that statement. I just burst out laughing, and I think they were so surprised that I burst out laughing, that they did too.” -Stephen Colbert

13. “We see a McDonald’s. We got so excited. We started chanting, ‘McDonald’s, McDonald’s, McDonald’s!’ And my dad pulled into the drive thru and we started cheering. And then, he ordered one black coffee for himself… and kept driving. My dad is cold-blooded.” -John Mulaney

14. “When I was eight years old, I was called into the principal’s office and my father was looking very solemn. And he said, ‘We gotta go, it’s Grandma.’ We got in the car and I said, ‘What’s wrong with Grandma?’ And he said, ‘Nothing, we’re going to the movies.’” -Sam Rockwell

15. “You can tell what was the best year of your father’s life, because they seem to freeze that clothing style and ride it out.” -Jerry Seinfeld

16. “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 the old man had learned in seven years.” -Mark Twain

17. “How come my 3-year-old son can remember every species and genus of dinosaur and I can’t even remember my own phone number?” -Taye Diggs

18. “When you got more than one kid, you just wake up angry.” -Kevin Hart

19. “I rescind my early statement, ‘I could never fall in love with a girl who regularly poops her pants.’ I hadn’t met my daughter yet.” -Dax Shephard

20. “I was told that I needed to check her temperature through the rectum. I was like, ‘No. Can’t be.’ There’s a mouth, there’s an armpit, there’s got to be something [else] … The doctor was like, ‘No, no, no, just have one of you guys distract her, and the other one do it. She’ll be fine’ … It all went well though. I didn’t lose it. It came back out.” -Ryan Reynolds

21. “My father had a profound influence on me. He was a lunatic.” -Spike Milligan

22. “The more boring a child is, the more the parents, when showing off the child, receive adulation for being good parents — because they have a tame child-creature in their house.” –Frank Zappa

23. “Kids are hilarious. They say the darndest things, but that’s just because they don’t know what they’re saying and that just makes much more funniness happen.” -Kenan Thompson

24. “I remember the time I was kidnapped and they sent a piece of my finger to my father. He said he wanted more proof.” -Rodney Dangerfield

25. “The worst part about being a parents is when one of your kids farts and you have to pretend it wasn’t cool.” -Rob Delaney

26. “I’m probably the most uncool guy that [my daughters] know—as far as they are concerned anyway—‘cause I’m Dad. I mean dads just aren’t cool—especially when I dance! They don’t want me to dance.” -Tim McGraw

27. “I would rather drink a piping hot bowl of liquid rabies than get on a plane with my two children. At 2 years old they just have to rip all their clothes off and introduce themselves to everyone on the plane, it’s just like, ‘Please can we land in a farmer’s field?’” -Ryan Reynolds

28. “Everybody thinks their dad’s jokes are corny.  I don’t get a free pass on that. In fact, [my daughter] said to me once, ‘Most of your stuff isn’t funny at all. But I’m always surprised you make it work.’ I thought that was a pretty sophisticated way of attacking me.” -Judd Apatow

29. “For fatherhood advice, try to look your child in the eye… get to know their name; that becomes important when you want something. And remember to feed them. That’s about all you need.” -Will Ferrell

30. “I feel like you don’t realize what it means to be a parent until you become a parent of your own. Then you feel this tremendous guilt and have this urge to apologize to your father. You just don’t realize what you’re doing to your parents in every aspect of life.” -Max Greenfield

31. “My daughter is going to be forced to go out into the ruins and be a slave to Thundra, The Spear Mistress and she’ll resent me the whole time. She’ll be like, ‘Oh, thanks a lot, Dad. What amazing life safety skills you taught me: Scooter riding and Blade Runner trivia? Thanks.’” -Patton Oswalt

32. “If you’re not yelling at your kids, you aren’t spending enough time with them.” -Mark Ruffalo

33. “When your wife is pregnant and you’re expecting, everyone is like, ‘It’s incredible. Get ready, it’s magic. It’s the most life-changing experience you’ll ever have. Brace yourself for heaven.’ And then the second the baby comes everyone is like, ‘WELCOME TO HELL.’” -Andy Samberg

34. “The older I get, the smarter my father seems to get.” -Tim Russert

35. “A 2-year-old is like having a blender, but you don’t have the top for it.” -Jerry Seinfeld

36. “When humans started to call me ‘Dad.’ That’s the word that gets me. Because you’re famous to a billion people, but only three people call you ‘Dad.’” -Dana Carvey

37. “I mean, everything can be a great moment as a dad, especially when I’m gone as much as I am. I work a lot so, man, those weekends at home with [my son] are the greatest. I took him on a zombie cruise last year which was fun. And all he wanted to do was get zombie makeup put on. And so he he looked in the mirror at the reflection and he fainted! We probably won’t do realistic zombie makeup again for a little while, but it was a heck of an experience and we still giggle about it.” -Jeffrey Dean Morgan

38. “It’s a very LSD-trip phase of my life. My daughter is obsessed with Peppa Pig. This is my life. There’s three women who voice the character of Peppa Pig. And she’s a pig. Hello? And I’m so deep down into that crevasse right now that I have opinions on which actress is the best Peppa.” -Alec Baldwin

39. “It is so embarrassing how I went from a person who did not care about anyone’s children. Then you have them, and you brag about the same stuff that you never cared about. And you tell people, ‘he’s got four teeth,’ like they care.” -Seth Meyers

40. “Kids are creepy. What happens if I wake up in the middle of the night, look over and my child is standing in the doorway? Do I run? Which direction do I run? Towards it? Away from it?” -Jordan Peele

41. “If anyone else [deprived you of this much sleep], you’d have them up at The Hague for war crimes.” -Tom Hardy

42. “I thought I’d never be that annoying person [who shares pictures of his kids], but as soon as Winnie was born, I was showing iPhone snaps to a cab driver.” -Jimmy Fallon

43. “You have to be adaptable because they consistently keep changing. They’ll do something that blows your mind and then they’ll spit all their food on the carpet.” -Neil Patrick Harris

44. “My daughter, Hannah, my 7-year-old, lost her first tooth and the tooth fairy came. And then the next day we were taking a video, ‘Hey Hannah, the tooth fairy came, oh my gosh,’ and our 4-year-old—I panned down to her, ‘Hey Harper, the tooth fairy came!’ And she goes, ‘Someone was in our house?’ And I go, ‘The tooth fairy was in our house,’ and she’s like, ‘Someone was in my room? While I was sleeping? And you guys are cool with this.’” -Bill Hader

45. “He’s looking for danger at all times. We’re just trying to keep him alive.” -Jason Sudeikis

46. “There’s no real class. They don’t check to make sure you’re prepared. I had to go through more training to drive the car home [from the hospital] than I did to have a baby for the rest of my life.” -Colin Hanks

47. “Never raise your hand to your kids. It leaves your groin unprotected.” -Red Buttons

48. “He tells me to park around the corner, and then he gets out and he walks to school. So he did it to me the other day, after doing it about five times on the trot. So I’m driving around, and he’s just walking in his school, and I open the window said, ‘Brooklyn! I love you!’ And, you know, obviously it didn’t go down very well.” -David Beckham

49. “The doctor asked about a name and I don’t know why I said it [but] I looked at the doctor and I said, ‘We’re going to call her Beyoncé.’ My wife did not think that was funny. Then a nurse went to the other side of the room and started filling out a form with the name Beyoncé and I had to go over to her and go, ‘Uh, excuse me, there is only one Beyoncé.’” -James Cordon

50. “Everybody usually wants to be famous so they can rock nice jewelry and all that. Man, I already got a macaroni necklace. I got valuable shit.” -Dave Chappell

51. “12 weeks old: when your kid is young enough to fall asleep on your chest yet long enough to kick you in the nuts at the same time.” -Lin-Manuel Miranda

52. “Booking plane tickets for a family trip is a fun little test to see if I still remember all my kids’ birthdays and genders.” -Ken Jennings

53. “I do like a proper hug and snuggle but it’s tough getting it from the kids. You can get it when they first wake up and they’re disoriented; then it’s a possibility. But other than that, they’re always moving, they’re dipping, they’re slipping, they’re embarrassed, and running away.” -Mark Wahlberg

54. “My wife and I don’t understand couples where the woman is pregnant and they don’t want to know the sex of the baby. ‘Oh, we want it to be a surprise.’ It’s a surprise when they show you the ultrasound! I mean you have caller ID but don’t want to know what’s popping out of your vagina?” -Andrew Ginsburg

55. “Raising kids is part joy and part guerilla warfare.” -Ed Asner

56. “Men should always change diapers. It’s mentally cleansing. It’s like washing dishes, but imagine if the dishes were your kids, so you really love the dishes.” -Chris Martin

57. “I would define the new aspects of fatherhood like this: It is 75% amazing and 25% demoralizing. I think any new parent can understand exactly what I’m talking about.” -Daniel Bryan

58. “My daddy? He was somewhere between God and John Wayne.” -Hank Williams, Jr.

59. “Having one child makes you a parent. Having two kids makes you a referee.” -David Frost

60. “You can’t spell ‘parentry’ without ‘try.’ Of course, you’ll make a few mistakes. The important thing is that the mistakes you make with your kids are the same ones your parents made with you. At least you know how those turn out.” -Stephen Colbert

61. “Being a parent involves an unnecessary amount of fake enthusiasm around little kids’ poo being in a toilet.” -Jim Gaffigan

62. “A baby crying is a weird thing. During the daytime you can listen to it and think that it’s endearing and cute. At 3 a.m. it’s like having the inside of your skull sandpapered by an angry viking.” -Matt Coyne

63. “A child enters your home and for the next twenty years makes so much noise you can hardly stand it. The child departs, leaving the house so silent you think you are going mad.” -John Andrew Holmes

64. “A child, like your stomach, doesn’t need all you can afford to give it.” -Frank A. Clark

65. “I used to say to [Blake], ‘I would take a bullet for you.’ And the second I looked into that baby’s eyes, I knew in that exact moment that if we were ever under attack, I would use my wife as a human shield to protect that baby.” -Ryan Reynolds

66. “When you’re young you think your dad is Superman. Then you grow up, and you realize he’s just a regular guy who wears a cape.” -Dave Attell

67. “Dad always thought laughter was the best medicine, which I guess is why several of us died of tuberculosis.” -Jack Handey

68. “I don’t have a kid, but I think that I would be a good father. Especially if my baby liked to go out drinking.” -Eugene Mirman

69. “When I was a kid, I said to my father one afternoon, ‘Daddy, will you take me to the zoo?’ He answered, “If the zoo wants you, let them come and get you.” -Jerry Lewis

70. “My dad used to say, ‘Always fight fire with fire.’ Which is probably why he got thrown out of the fire brigade.” -Harry Hill

71. “Whenever one of my children says, ‘Goodnight, Daddy,’ I always think to myself, ‘You don’t mean that.’” -Jim Gaffigan

72. “Sometimes I am amazed that my wife and I created two human beings from scratch yet struggle to assemble the most basic of IKEA cabinets.” -Greg Kinnear

73. “Fatherhood is great because you can ruin someone from scratch.” -Jon Stewart

74. “Just taught my kids about taxes by eating 38% of their ice cream.” -Conan O’Brien

75. “My dad always tries to get me to fix his computer when I’m home. He’s like, ‘You’re really good at computers, you should be a computer programmer.’ I’m like, ‘You’re so bad at computers, you should be a caveman.’” -Mike Birbiglia

Be sure to check out our other list of heartwarming quotes about dads and being a father.