There are so, so many ingredients that go into being a good dad. But also, those ingredients are not all requirements. Maybe your dad has been there for you since the moment you were born. Maybe not. Maybe he models strength of character, sets healthy boundaries, provides a shoulder to cry on. Maybe he shows a ton of affection. Maybe not. As these Father’s Day quotes about dads show, being a good dad probably means some or many of these things — plus a whole lot more complicated feelings and truths. Because in reality, there’s no one mold for what a “good parent” actually means. A good dad is simply there for you, with his whole heart — through the good times and the bad.
If you need a little help telling your dad (or father figure) just what he means to you this Father’s Day, these quotes ahead are a good place to start. Sure, you appreciate your dad every day of the year — and all good humans deserve a shout-out on the regular — but he’ll appreciate hearing (or reading) it on this special day. That’s why we’ve rounded up pearls of Dad Wisdom from famous fathers we love, from Will Smith and Ryan Gosling to John Updike and Barack Obama. Oh, and there’s a couple unknown gems and an Anne Geddes (yes, she’s that baby photographer, decidedly not a dad, last time we checked) quote thrown in there for good measure. Hey, it takes all kinds to sum up how much dads really mean.
So go on, pick a quote and share it with your pops. He’ll appreciate it more than you know.
A version of this story was originally published in May 2019.