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Quotes about Fatherhood

 I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.
         – John Adams (1735-1826), second President of the United States and father of President John Quincy Adams

Mothers are fonder than fathers of their children because they are more certain that they are their own.
        – Aristotle ((384 BCE – 322 BCE), Greek philosopher, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great and father of Pythias

A father is always making his baby into a little woman. And when she is a woman he turns her back again.
          – Enid Bagnold (1889-1981), author (National Velvet), playwright and daughter of the Commander of the Royal Engineers


If the relationship of father to son could really be reduced to biology, the whole earth would blaze with the glory of fathers and sons.
           – James Baldwin (1924-1987), gay African-American author and playwright. He never knew his biological father. He adopted the surname Baldwin from his cruel stepfather, who died in a mental hospital in 1943.


My parents have been there for me, ever since I was about seven.
            – David Robert Joseph Beckham (born May 2, 1975), the world’s highest-paid soccer star.  The son of David Edward Alan Beckham, a kitchen fitter, and Sandra Georgina West, a hairdresser, he married the former Victoria Adams (“Posh Spice”) in 1999.  They have three sons: Brooklyn, Romeo and Cruz.  The names of all three sons are tattooed on Beckham’s back.


The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.
         – Henry Ward Beecher (1813 – 1887), Congregationalist clergyman, social reformer, abolitionist and speaker



The father gives with his sperm a black overcoat around the soul, invisible in our black nights.  He gave, and gives, a sheathing, or envelope, or coating around the soul made entirely of intensity, shrewdness, desire to penetrate, liveliness, impulse and daring. … We have to be satisfied with a relationship to our father that is not close.
        – Robert Bly (born December 23, 1936), poet, author, stepfather and father of four


People [thought that having children] would chill me out, [but] it made me more angry. You think about the world that they’re inheriting, and you think about the way things are.  It made me understand why people fight wars. When I saw my child being born … you have a feeling that you would do anything to protect that life, and it’s a dangerous feeling.  But you can put it to use in terms of getting politically active and not lying down.
          – Bono, born Paul David Hewson (on May 10, 1960), lead singer of rock band U2, son of Bob and Iris Hewson (who died of a brain aneurysm during her father’s funeral) and father of four children (daughters Jordan and Memphis and sons Elijah and John) with wife Alison Hewson


Becoming a father isn’t difficult, but it’s very difficult to be a father.
         – Wilhelm Busch (1832-1908), German poet, painter and the father of the comic strip


I encourage all Americans to express admiration and appreciation to fathers.
         – George W. Bush, President of the United States, Proclamation 8030 for Father’s Day 2006


Then spare the rod and spoil the child
         – Samuel Butler (1835-1902), English novelist, essayist and critic


Never raise your hand to your kids. It leaves your groin unprotected.
          – Red Buttons (1919-2006), actor and comedian born Aaron Chwatt


I was named after my father and I was knighted in his name because I love my father…. I suppose you get to an age where you become the father figure.  It’s a figure I enjoy. In the movies, I’m everyone’s father figure [to Nicole Kidman in Bewitched, to Mike Myers in Goldmember, Batman’s butler]. I’m very much a family person. One of my great conceits is that I’m a great father to my daughters.
         
Sir Michael Caine (born March 14, 1933), English film actor, son of Maurice Joseph Micklewhite, a fishmarket porter, and father of daughters Dominique and Natasha


It was relatively easy for me to read the sitting president's body language after he had talked to his mother or father. Sometimes he'd ask me a probing question. And I'd think, Hmm, I don't think that question came from him.
         – Andrew Card Jr., White House Chief of Staff to President George W. Bush


Many a bad habit is developed through overindulgence, and many a good one by chastisement; therefore, beat your son as well as your pupil; never indulge them.
         – Chanakya (350 BCE - 275 BCE), Indian politician and writer


If your children want to alter society, listen to their reasons and the idealism behind them. Don't crush them with some clever remark straight away.
         – Prince Charles (born 1948), Charles Philip Arthur George, Prince of Wales, eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburg. He has two sons, Prince William of Wales and Prince Henry of Wales


A man can deceive his fiancee or his mistress as much as he likes and, in the eyes of a woman he loves, an ass may pass for a philosopher.  But a daughter is a different matter.
         – Anton Chekhov (1860-1904), short-story writer and playwright: The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard.  His father Pavel Chekhov – a choirmaster, religious fanatic and adamant flogger of his children – was the model for many of his son’s hypocritical characters.



I hate new fathers.... I want to tell them: Kids get hurt. Kids get sick. Kids make bad, bad choices. Don't smile at me knowingly when we pass in the park just because you can afford a really expensive European stroller. You don't have a clue.
         – Tom Chiarella, author, writer and English professor at DePauw University, writing in the June 2007 issue of Esquire, "How to Be a Good Father"


Blessed indeed is the man who hears many gentle voices call him !
         – Lydia Maria Child (1802-1880), writer, abolitionist, women’s rights activitist


Teenagers are supposed to be cryptic, antsy, mumble-mouthed, narcissistic, alienated, mood-swinging, reclusive, cynical, hormone junkies who go through vampire phases and are mortified to be seen with their parents even if you take them someplace awesome like the Grammies.  History was shaped by troubled teenagers: Alexander the Great, Joan of Arc, King Tut.  These teens excelled because they were properly screwed-up freaks.
     – Dr. Stephen Tyrone Colbert (born May 13, 1964), TV personality, the youngest of eleven children of James William Colbert, Jr., and Lorna Colbert (née Tuck), and father of Madeline, Peter and John with wife Evelyn McGee-Colbert, on The Colbert Report, June 15, 2010


The father who does not teach his son his duties is equally guilty with the son who neglects them.
            – Confucius (551-479 BCE), the Socrates of the East

We really don’t rest if we think our kids are drifting, or if we think they don’t have the right work ethic.  It drives us crazy.  Because we ultimately want them to succeed and, until they do, we feel in some way that something is not complete.    
         – Kevin Costner (born January 18, 1955), actor, director, producer and father of five


In peace the sons bury their fathers, but in war the fathers bury their sons.
         – Croesus (595-546 BCE), fifth and last king of Lydia

 
A stodgy parent is no fun at all. What a child wants and deserves is a parent who is sparky.
         – Roald Dahl (1916-1980), author and screenwriter: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, The Witches


A king, realizing his incompetence, can either delegate or abdicate his duties. A father can do neither. If only sons could see the paradox, they would understand the dilemma.        
        – Marie Magdalene (“Marlene”) Dietrich (1901-1992), Berlin singer, Hollywood actress, international star

 
It would seem that something which means poverty, disorder and violence every single day should be avoided entirely, but the desire to beget children is a natural urge.
              – Phyllis Diller (born 1917), self-deprecating comedian born Phyllis Ada Driver, the mother of female stand-up comedy


Children teach you that you can still be humbled by life, that you learn something new all the time.  That’s the secret to life, really – never stop learning.  It’s the secret to career.  I’m still working because I learn something new all the time.  It’s the secret to relationships.  Never think you got it all.
       – Clint Eastwood (born May 31, 1930), American actor, film director, film producer, and composer


 I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us.
         – Umberto Eco (born 1932), Italian novelist whose name, suggests Wikipedia, is an acronym of ex coelis oblatus (Latin: a gift from the heavens). The name was granted to his grandfather by a city official.

 
To an old father, nothing is more sweet
Than a daughter.
Boys are more spirited, but their ways
And not so tender.
            – Euripides (480-406 BCE), father of more than 90 Greek tragedies


It is a great moment in life when a father sees a son grow taller than he or reach farther.
         – Richard Louis Evans (1906-1971), president of Rotary International and apostle of the Mormon Church


Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
         – Exodus 20:12, the fifth commandment


My son is more important to me than I am to him.
         –  50 Cent, born Curtis James Jackson III (on July 6, 1975), rapper and actor.  He grew up without a father and was raised by his mother, a cocaine dealer, who gave birth to him when she was fifteen.  He is the father of Marquise Jackson, born to his then-girlfriend in1997.


I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.
         – Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), the father of psychoanalysis


The debt of gratitude we owe our mother and father goes forward, not backward.  What we owe our parents is the bill presented to us by our children.
          – Nancy Friday
(born August 27, 1933), author

Americans are like a rich father who wishes he knew how to give his son the hardships that made him rich.
          – Robert Frost (March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963), Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet. His father was an unsuccessful candidate for city tax collector.


My grandfather once told me that there were two kinds of people: those who do the work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was much less competition.
          Indira Gandhi (November 19, 1917 to her assassination on October 31, 1984), prime minister of India, daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister and granddaughter of Motilal Nehru, a prominent nationalist leader


At the end of the day, you realize that this is important stuff, but it isn’t as important as how my kids feel about me.  That’s how I’m going to measure my success – not how I did as counsel to the president or as attorney general.  How did I do as a dad?
           – Alberto Gonzales (born August 4, 1955), former attorney general, the second of eight children of construction worker Pablo Gonzales, and father of three sons with his second wife



Babies don’t need fathers, but mothers do. Someone who is taking care of a baby needs to be taken care of.
          – Amy Heckerling (born 1954), moviemaker: Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Look Who's Talking, Look Who's Talking Too, Clueless, I Could Never Be Your Woman


My father was often angry when I was most like him.
         – Lillian Hellman (1905-1984), author and playwright: The Children's Hour, The Little Foxes, Toys in the Attic


To be a successful father there’s one absolute rule: When you have a kid, don’t look at it for the first two years.
         – Ernest Hemingway (July 21, 1899 – July 2, 1961), American novelist and journalist.


The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.
         – Theodore Hesburgh (born 1917), president emeritus of the University of Notre Dame


The better you are as a parent, the richer the nest you’ve built, the more difficult it is for your kids to leave.  So they have to invent things to dislike about you.  And they’re brilliant at it.
         – Dustin Hoffman (born August 8, 1937), actor, son of furniture salesman Harry Hoffman and father of six (Karina, Jenna, Jacob, Maxwell, Rebecca and Alexandra)


The most important thing about being a father is being able to forgive yourself.  If you don’t forgive yourself, you’re not going to forgive your kids, either.
       – Evander Holyfield (born October 19, 1962), boxer.  The youngest of nine children, he is the father of at least eleven children.

It is a wise child that knows his own father.
       – Homer, legendary ancient Greek epic poet, possibly a fictitious character, who may have lived about 3,000 years ago


You wanna see my heart?  Look at my daughters.
         – Quincy Delight Jones (born 1933), music conductor and record producer


It is easier for a father to have children than for children to have a real father.
         – Pope John XXIII (1881-1963), born Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, 261st pope of the Catholic Church


He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.
         – Clarence Budington Kelland (1881-1964), author of 60 novels and more than 350 short stories in 61 years of writing.  From the 1920s through the 1950s, Kelland was one of the most widely read and highest paid authors in America. He is most famous today as the writer no one remembers.


There has been a succession of women’s revolutions in America.  But watch out for the revolt of the father, if he should get fed up with feeding others, and get bored with being used, and lay down his tools, and walk off to consult his soul.
         – Maxwell Alan Lerner (1902-1992), American educator and author of fifteen books. As social critic for the New York Post, he wrote more than 6,000 columns.


Children who grow up in a household with only one biological parent are worse off, on average, than children who grow up in a household with both of their biological parents, regardless of the parent’s race or educational background.
         – Sara McLanahan, Princeton professor and author: Growing Up With a Single Parent, Fathers Under Fire


My father taught me to work; he did not teach me to love it.  I never did like to work, and I don’t deny it.  I’d rather read, tell stories, crack jokes, talk, laugh – anything but work.
         Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865), 16th president of the United States, born of Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks, two uneducated farmers, in a one-room log cabin on the 348-acre Sinking Spring Farm, and father of four sons, only one (Robert) surviving to adulthood


A man knows when he is growing old because he begins to look like his father.
         – Gabriel Garcia Marquez (born 1927), Latin American novelist, journalist, publisher, political activitist and recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature. He is the father of television and film director Rodrigo Garcia.


Motherhood is a biological fact, while fatherhood is a social invention.
         – Margaret Mead (1901-1978), cultural anthropologist and author of Coming of Age in Samoa


She got her looks from her father. He’s a plastic surgeon.
         –  Julius Henry (“Groucho”) Marx (1890-1977), humorist who, along with his brothers, was pushed into comedy by his mother


You go through all those motions of being successful. Then you meet somebody to fall in love with and then you have children. The way you relate to everything – the way that your country’s going, the way that your world’s going, how your kids are being educated, what your kids are thinking, what influences you have on them, what you think about your God – all that stuff … changes.
          – Samuel Timothy (“Tim”) McGraw (born May 1, 1967), country singer, actor and children’s book author, son of former baseball pitcher Tug McGraw (who, for years, denied paternity), and father of three daughters with wife, singer Faith Hill


How can one say ‘no’ to a child?  How can one be anything but a slave to one’s own flesh and blood?
         – Henry Miller (1891-1980), American painter author of Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn


It now costs more to amuse a child than it once did to educate his father.
         – Vaughan Monroe (October 7, 1911 – May 21, 1973), singer, trumpeter and big band leader of the 1940s and 1950s


It is much easier to become a father than to be one.
              – Kent Nerburn (born 1946), author, sculptor, theologian and educator interested in Native American things


A noted Tory, who kept a tavern at Amboy, was standing at his door, with as pretty a child in his hand, about eight or nine years old, as I ever saw and, after speaking his mind as freely as he thought was prudent, finished with this unfatherly expression,
Well! Give me peace in my day. Not a man lives on the continent but fully believes that a separation must sometime or other finally take place, and a generous parent should have said, If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.”
            
Thomas Paine (January 29, 1737 – June 8, 1809), American revolutionary and author, The American Crisis


It’s no use saying do this, do that, don’t do that … it’s very easy when children want something to say no immediately.  I think it’s quite important not to give an unequivocal answer at once.  Much better to think it over.  Then, if you eventually say no, I think they really accept it.
        –  Prince Philip (born June 10, 1921), Duke of Edinburgh, father of Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward of England


There is a story in the Talmud about a king who had a son who had gone astray from his father.  The son was told, “Return to your father.”  The son said, “I cannot.”  His father sent a messenger to say, “Return as far as you can, and I will come to you the rest of the way.”
         – last words in the film version of The Chosen by Chaim Potok, rabbi, educator and novelist


You know, you get famous and you work in these weird jobs and you don’t have a lot in common with people. But once you have kids, you have everything in common with everybody.
         – Chris Rock (born February 7, 1965), American comedian and actor, father of daughters Lola Simone and Zahra Savannah


The fundamental defect with fathers is that they want their children to be a credit to them.
         – Bertrand Russell (1872-1970), British philosopher and social reformer. His grandfather John Russell was Prime Minister in the 1840s and 1860s, and his father John Russell, sixth Duke of Bedford, was an atheist who consented to his mother’s affair with his tutor, the biologist Douglas Spalding.


A two-year-old is kind of like having a blender, but you don’t have a top for it.
           
Jerry Seinfeld (born April 29, 1954), actor, comedian and father of daughter Sascha, son Julian and son Shepherd


It doesn’t matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was.
         – Anne Sexton (1928-1984), Pulitzer Prize-winning poet

 
It is a wise father that knows his own child.
         – William Shakespeare (1564-1616), the Bard of Avon


 I won’t lie to you, fatherhood isn’t easy like motherhood.
         – Homer Simpson (born 1987 in the Tracey Ullman short, Good Night), named after the show’s creator, Matt Groening’s father

Kids, just because I don't care doesn't mean I'm not listening.
         – Homer Simpson

I think the saddest day of my life was when I realized I could beat my Dad at most things, and Bart experienced that at the age of four.
         –Homer Simpson

It's not easy to juggle a pregnant wife and a troubled child, but somehow I managed to fit in eight hours of TV a day.
         – Homer Simpson

Now, son, you don’t want to drink beer. That’s for daddies, and kids with fake I.D.s.
         – Homer Simpson

Kids are the best, Apu. You can teach them to hate the things you hate. And they practically raise themselves, what with the Internet and all.
         – Homer Simpson

 
Children nowadays are tyrants. They contradict their parents, gobble their food and tyrannize their teachers.
          –  Socrates (469-399 BCE), the Confucius of the West

It’s necessary to readjust and then try again.  And then readjust and try again.  Fathers have to do that with sons and mothers have to do that with daughters.  The level of readjustment isn’t quite so much when fathers are dealing with daughters and mothers are dealing with sons.
          – James Spader (born February 7, 1960), American actor, son of educator Todd Spader and father of three sons


Boys and girls need chances to be around their father, to be enjoyed by him and if possible to do things with him.  Better to play fifteen minutes enjoyably and then say, ‘Now I’m going to read my paper’ than to spend all day at the zoo crossly.
          – Benjamin Spock (1903-1998), pediatrician, author of ground-breaking Baby and Child Care, and stepfather of his second-wife’s daughter


That is the thankless position of the father in the family – the provider for all, and the enemy of all.
         – August Strindberg (1849-1912), Swedish playwright, author and painter; one of the fathers of modern theater


That’s my dad. He was coming up in the pro-stock circuit. Last race of the season, he was coming into the final turn when a driver named Kenny Linder tapped his bumper and put him into the wall at a hundred and twenty miles an hour. I watched my father burn to death. I can still remember him screaming. The people who were there said my father died long before the tanks blew. They said it was me that was screaming.
         – Vin Diesel, speaking as Dominic Toretto in the film The Fast and the Furious, written by Gary Scott Thompson, Erik Bergquist and David Ayer

 
No man is responsible for his father. That was entirely his mother’s affair.
         – Margaret Turnbull, astronomer


 My father was an amazing man. The older I got, the smarter he got.
         – Mark Twain (1835-1910), the father of American literature

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

 
Dad taught me everything I know. Unfortunately, he didn’t teach me everything he knows.
         – Al Unser, Jr. (born 1962), racecar driver, son of racecar driver Al Unser, nephew of race car driver Bobby Unser and father of racecar driver Alfred Unser


My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.
         – Jim Valvano (1946-1993), American college basketball coach


By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he’s wrong.
         – Charles Wadsworth, pianist, musical director and father of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center


One word of command from me is obeyed by millions … but I cannot get my three daughters, Pamela, Felicity and Joan, to come down to breakfast on time.
        – Viscount Archibald Wavell (1883-1950), field marshal and commander of British army forces during World War II


The other night I was walking down the stairs behind one of my daughters.  I was tired, and she was goofing around, you know, like kids do, doing all this stupid stuff on the stairs.  And I was thinking, “Please just go down the stairs and let’s get you to bed.  It’s after your bedtime.  I’ve had enough for one day.” And then I sort of caught myself.  I snapped out of it.  I was like, “Dude, you should be dancing down the stairs behind her!”
         – Forest Whitaker (born July 15, 1961), actor, producer and father of four: Autumn, Ocean, Sonnet and True


The time not to become a father is eighteen years before a world war.
         – E.B. White (1899-1985), essayist, literary stylist, Pulitzer prize-winning author, and staff writer of The New Yorker for more than 60 years

 Babies don’t need a vacation, but I still see them at the beach.
        – Steven Wright (born December 6, 1955), comedian, actor and writer.  His father was an electronics engineer for the Apollo space program and then became a truck driver.


My friend has a baby. I'm recording all the noises he makes so later I can ask him what he meant.
        – Stephen Wright, actor, writer and esoteric comedian



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