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.
J.T. — papa of Silas and husband of Jessica Biel — knows that every day is a new day and thus a potential fresh start. And hey, that’s something millions of parents all over the world are thankful for.
Some days, we don’t get it right. Some days, we get some of it right. Some days, we knock it out of the park. Put all those days together, and your kid has a pretty strong change of turning out to be a good human being.
YES. If the dads of 2020 only read one thing, it should be this. Thank you, Denzel Washington.
Oh Ryan Reynolds, how we love your turn of phrase. And you’re absolutely right. By all means, eat the gummy bears. But share them with your wife — after you’ve done whatever else she needs you to do to make bringing your child into the world a little easier.
We adore this, Mike Myers. Kids have the ability to surprise us — in the best possible way — every single day. And much like our 12-year-old crush, it’s hard to take our eyes off them. After all, we made that human (our kid, that is, not our 12-year-old crush).
Sometimes they really are — and we don’t realize it until way, way later. Funny how that works, eh?
And give it exactly what it needs to be the healthiest, strongest oak tree in the world. We’re all over this metaphor from co-parent extraordinaire Will Smith.
Clarence Buddington Kelland
“Do as I say, not as I do” has no place in parenting. Parenting is all about leading by example. But that doesn’t mean you have to be perfect; how you deal with failure, mistakes and obstacles is a pretty crucial life lesson for your kids.
Nicely put, Barack Obama. Being a dad takes guts; it’s not all cuddles and bedtime stories and playing soccer in the park. But if you’re brave enough to go all in, you’ll reap the rewards. (And then some.)
Ryan Gosling knows that it’s never too late to become a better person, and for many people, becoming a parent is the catalyst for that. It’s a win-win — or, in the case of Gosling and his two daughters with Eva Mendes, a win-win-win-win.
Of course, you don’t need to be a bio dad to be the best dad. Families come together after all sorts of wonderful journeys, some more difficult or unusual than others. And what really counts is what happens after the family is formed..
Ashton Kutcher — dad to a trilingual daughter with Mila Kunis — nails it. Plenty of us scoff when our parents say, “Just wait until you have kids.” And later, plenty of us realize we couldn’t even imagine that level of love until we were smacked in the face by it.
Undeniable. Most men are equipped with all the biological components required to make a baby. But to put that kid first, to dedicate your life to raising them right — that takes something else entirely.
Dad crush Matt Bomer knows that, like all the best things in life, parenting is wonderful and terrifying. Being a dad takes hard work, patience, courage, stamina and endless energy reserves. But the rewards more than make up for the effort.
Indeed, Matthew McConaughey, you ram-battling dad hero, you. And winning at newborn dad life means changing diapers, feeding (or taking care of everything else while your partner feeds), pacing the floor at 3 a.m in a sleep-deprived haze, and everything else that newborn babies demand.
Today’s kids are up against it when it comes to self-esteem. The best thing you can do for them is to believe in them — at all times, but especially when they’re struggling to believe in themselves. That’s something they’ll never forget.
Lessons get passed from generation to generation, right? The best legacy you can leave your kid (and your grandkids) isn’t something that has a price tag. It’s how to be a kind, decent person who tries to do the right thing.
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