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50 Amazing Dad Quotes for Father’s Day

"I used to wonder why I had hair on my legs, but now I know it's for my toddlers to pull themselves up with as I scream in pain." How comic Jim Gaffigan found his purpose and so many other truths about living the dad life.

Black dad and young daughter look at each other while bakingMonkey Business Images/Shutterstock

He may not wear a cape but…

“Dad is, and always will be, my living, breathing superhero.” –Bindi Irwin, daughter of the late Steve Irwin. Crocodile hunter Steve Irwin was taken too young, but devoted daughter Bindi keeps his memory alive by continuing his conservation work and spreading his love for all animals (even the “scary” ones). For more heartwarming stories read about these dads sharing the most touching Father’s Day gift they ever received.

Father giving son ride on back in park. Portrait of happy father giving son piggyback ride on his shoulders and looking up. Cute boy with dad playing outdoor.Rido/Shutterstock

All dads have rules—all kids break them

“My sisters and I can still recite Dad’s grilling rules: Rule No. 1: Dad is in charge. Rule No. 2: Repeat Rule No. 1.” –Connie Schultz. Dads are just little boys who love setting things on fire but all grown up. So you either have to choose a life of arson or barbecue—thankfully most dads choose the grill.

Cheerful teenage boy wrestling with his fatherDragon Images/Shutterstock

Why can nobody in this house turn off a light?!

Dragon Images/Shutterstock“By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he’s wrong.” –Charles Wadsworth, a classical pianist. One day you look in the mirror and realize that not only do you look like your dad, you act like him and sound like him too. If you’re really lucky, he’ll even be around to point it out to you.

father holding his sonvalbar/Shutterstock

Dad-fashion rule #1

“You can tell what was the best year of your father’s life because he seems to freeze that clothing style and ride it out.” –Jerry Seinfeld.  Dads get a lot of flack for their cargo shorts, old t-shirts, and white (grass-stained) sneakers, but the truth is they were saving their money to make sure you had nice clothes. OK, and they really just love those shorts. So. Many. Pockets.

Happy family with his son in his cozy home. Mom tenderly hugs her son on the steps with railingbondart/Shutterstock

Want to know how to be a good man? Learn from the best.

“Mom and Dad were married 64 years. And if you wondered what their secret was, you could have asked the local florist—because every day Dad gave Mom a rose, which he put on her bedside table.” –Mitt Romney. Romney credits his dad with teaching him how to be a husband and father. Now, grab a tissue because the post-script makes this story of a decades-long marriage even sweeter. “That’s how my mom found out what happened on the day my father died—she went looking for him because that morning, there was no rose,” he added.

Portrait of a little girl kissing a man on the cheekPhovoir/Shutterstock

How to give your kids good self-esteem

“I asked my dad if I looked fat in my bathing suit at the beach and he said ‘Keep drinking and you won’t care.” –Hannah S, from The Tonight Show. This dad has certainly figured out one hilarious answer to the “Does this make me look fat?” question. For more fatherly wisdom, check out funny advice dads will love.

Happy family of three playing and laughing while sitting on grass outdoors, beatuful forest.Andrij Garry/Shutterstock

Dads set examples

“My father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.” –Clarence Budington Kelland, author. Great dads know that telling your child to do something is a recipe for complaining, but working alongside your child is a recipe for lifelong success and adoration.

Grandfather and grandson play lying on grass, aerial viewMonkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Well played, dad, well played

“When I was little my dad had me convinced the ice cream truck only played music when it was sold out.” –Anonymous. The ease with which some dads come up with “creative” explanations on the fly is a seriously underrated skill. Although they may come to regret it when their kids grow up to be “creative” teens!

Young father holding a baby clothes and talking with pregnant wife, Both happy and waiting for the birth of a baby in the belly, family and pregnant conceptpixs4u/Shutterstock

Being a dad is a lot of work

“Any man can be a father but it takes someone special to be a dad.” –Anne Geddes. Being a dad is so much more than giving your last name or sharing your DNA. Signing your name to the birth certificate is a lifelong promise of love and support. To see how real dads honor this, check out these 31 hilarious stories about dads.

A bare chested male lying down with his newborn sleeping baby on his chest.DGLimages/Shutterstock

All he really wants for Father’s Day is a nap

“There should be a children’s song: ‘If you’re happy and you know it, keep it to yourself and let your dad sleep.'” –Jim Gaffigan. When your kids are young they want to tell you everything even though it’s nothing you want to know. If you’re a good listener then they’ll still talk to you when they’re older and you want to know everything.

Hipster son and his senior father at home.Halfpoint/Shutterstock

And it’s not because he wears lifts

“A father is someone you look up to no matter how tall you’ve grown.” –Anonymous.  Dads may set the bar high but they’ll always be there to help lift you the last few inches to help you reach it—even if you don’t recognize it until you’re grown and a parent yourself!

Portrait of Happy grandfather and granddaughter playing in the garden at Summer DayKatya Shut/Shutterstock

Sugar ’em up and send ’em home

“The only thing better than having you as a dad is my kids getting to have you as a granddad.” –Anonymous. If grandchildren are the payoff parents get for not killing their kids when they were teenagers, then grandfathers are the payoff kids get for putting up with years of dad jokes. Love dad jokes? Check out our giant library of cringe-worthy dad jokes.

Young happy family relaxing at home Zarya Maxim Alexandrovich/Shutterstock

Start stockpiling band-aids

“Being a great father is like shaving. No matter how good you shaved today, you have to do it again tomorrow.” –Reed Markham, educator and author of Happy Father’s Day: Great Thoughts for Great FathersOn the other hand, if you make a mistake, chances are it will heal quickly and you’ll do better next time. Looking for ways to bond with your kids? Try these 17 fun ideas dads and kids love.

Adult son hugging his senior dadFilipe Frazao/Shutterstock

When they set the bar high, you jump higher

“Lately all my friends are worried that they are turning into their fathers. I’m worried I’m not.” –Dan Zevin, comic and author of Dad Gets a MinivanIf you were raised by a great father, the greatest compliment you can give him is to follow in his footsteps—well, except maybe with the hair situation.

Happy full family - mother, father, baby son learn to swim, dive underwater with fun in pool to keep fit. Healthy lifestyle, active parent, people water sport activity, swimming lesson. Focus on childTropical studio/Shutterstock

Nobody does tough love like a tender father

“My mother protected me from the world and my father threatened me with it.” –Quentin Crisp. Of course, your dad acted all tough, but on those days when the world really kicked you in the teeth, he was the first (and sometimes the only) one there to pick you up.

Father and son cooking in kitchenIndia Picture/Shutterstock

Being a dad means learning on the job

“Before I got married I had six theories about raising children; now, I have six children and no theories.” –John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester. Part of it might be because your kids took all your fancy parenting books and used them to build forts and then refused to put them away. Now you have no idea where they (or your collection of vintage maps) are.

Handsome dad with his little cute sun are playing football on green grassy lawn4 PM production/Shutterstock

Oh, I’ll give you something to do!

“Growing up, I remember my dad saying ‘If you’re bored, you’re a boring person’.” –@silver_shots90 on Twitter. Kids know better than to whine to dad that they have nothing to do. It only takes one Saturday of weeding, lawn mowing, car washing, and doing windows to make you seriously reconsider using the word “bored” ever again.

Happy african american family having fun at home.bbernard/Shutterstock

Except minus all the fun parties

“Having children is like living in a frat house—nobody sleeps, everything’s broken, and there’s a lot of throwing up.” –Ray Romano. Not to mention finding underwear shoved in weird places, everyone’s broke, and no one can remember who got the milk out yet they’re 100 percent sure it wasn’t them. Dads make the best observations—here are 8 wise sayings from everyday dads.

Single father wit his daughter using smart phone. Father and little baby watching something funny at smart phone.Liderina/Shutterstock

Here’s a perk they never tell you about

“Fatherhood is great because you can ruin someone from scratch.” –Jon Stewart. Of course, the definition of “ruin” is in the eye of the beholder. If you teach your kid to play video games in their underwear while eating flamin’ hot Cheetos have you ruined him… or just ensured you’ll have a built-in best friend for life?

Asian father and son playing cardboard airplane together in the park outdoorsANURAK PONGPATIMET/Shutterstock

Dads are the masters of not caring what other people think

“My dad used to say, ‘You wouldn’t worry so much about what people thought about you if you knew how seldom they did.” –Phil McGraw. This is how they get away with black knee-high socks and open sandals all summer long. Check out these 21 things your father-in-law is secretly thinking.

Father teaching his son to ride a bikePeter Bernik/Shutterstock

If only there was a secret “dad school”

“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. Nothing will make you appreciate your father’s wisdom like having a kid of your own. Suddenly, you realize there was a method behind what you saw as mere madness.

USA soldier hugging his family outdoorsAfrica Studio/Shutterstock

And he was President of the United States

“I’ve been to war. I’ve raised twins. If I had a choice, I’d rather go to war.” –George W. Bush. Being a good father is a whole different kind of battle—one where you’re never quite sure who the enemy is and getting shot by friendly fire is just part of life. If you do it right, however, everyone wins.

Grandfather And Grandson Playing Football On Winter BeachMonkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Wait, why did I come in here again?

“Any other dads feel like their memory is gone? I swear I need to bring a list with me to the grocery store for three things and two of them are bread and eggs.”Andrew on Twitter. Dad-brain is every bit as real—and debilitating—as Mom-brain. Now, if only we could remember where we put that list… Do you know these 3 dad rules for a happy life?

Cheerful teenage boy wrestling with his fatherDragon Images/Shutterstock

Every kid is different

Dragon Images/Shutterstock“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will always believe it is stupid.” –Albert Einstein. Along with being one of the best scientific minds in modern history, Einstein was also the proud dad of three children.

Father and son fishing on the lakeAboutLife/Shutterstock

If you could leave your kids just three pieces of wisdom

“My dad always taught me to never be satisfied, to want more, and know that what is done is done.” –Thierry Henry. This advice definitely worked for Thierry, a retired pro-soccer player who currently helps manage the Belgium national soccer team. But even if neither you or your child are a professional athlete, drive is one of the greatest gifts a dad can give.

young father preparing his little son for climbing in indoor gymAleksei Potov/Shutterstock

No matter what, dad is always in your corner

My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me. –Jim Valvano, college basketball coach. One of the reasons kids can surpass their parents is because they have a dad who believes they can do everything they ever wanted and is there to help them achieve their goals.

Portrait of loving father with baby boy 4-6 months his son at home on whiteDasha Muller/Shutterstock

Being a dad changes you

“Becoming a father increases your capacity for love and your level of patience. It opens up another door in a person, a door which you may not even have known was there.” –Kyle MacLachlan. But the actor wasn’t done yet! “That’s what I feel with my son. There’s suddenly another level of love that expands,” he added. “My son is my greatest joy, out of everything in my life.”

portrait of a sports dad and daughter in a helmet. Dad with his little daughter on the skatesEvgeny Bakharev/Shutterstock

Dads are the gift that keeps on giving

“When a father gives to his son, both laugh; when a son gives to his father, both cry.” –Anonymous. Rare is the man who can open an ashtray made by the tiny hands of his child and not get a little teary—even though he’s never smoked a day in his life and needs an ashtray about as much as he needs a horseshoe. Instead, get your dad one of these 57 Father’s Day gifts he’ll love.

Father And Son Discussing Basketball On Porch Of HomeMonkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Well this should end the spanking debate

“Never raise your hand to your kids. It leaves your groin unprotected.” –Red Button. Dads learn quickly to never let their guard down around their kids. Just when you think they’re asleep and it’s safe for you to zone out on your phone, they’re smearing poo on their walls or eating crayons.

Happy family is enjoying pasta in restaurant.Dragan Grkic/Shutterstock

See these gray hairs? I never had them before you were born.

“Children are a great comfort in your old age. And they help you reach it faster too.” –Lionel Kauffman, author. They say that before you become a father you never really know what true love is. Of course, you don’t know true terror, worry, exhaustion, or sarcasm either.

Father and two daughters taking a walk down the street, close upMonkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Don’t you know how those things are made?

“People ask what it’s like to have four kids, and I just tell them ‘picture that you’re drowning, then someone hands you a baby.'” –Jim Gaffigan. The best part of this quote? Gaffigan now has five children. We’ll send him a lifeboat. In the meantime, watch one of these 10 movies about dads that will tug at your heartstrings.

Happy multiethnic family sitting on sofa laughing together. Cheerful parents playing with their sons at home. Black father tickles his little boy while the mother and the brother smile.Rido/Shutterstock

Dad in the eye of the beholder

“It doesn’t matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was.” –Anne Sexton. This is either the most heart-warming or terrifying thing a child can say about her dad. Our advice? Take lots of pictures so you’ll have proof when they bring you up in therapy later.

Cute little girl helps her father to change wheel on their family car on warm day in the yardAlinute Silzeviciute/Shutterstock

Education comes in many forms

“Your son and your daughter need an excellent father more than an excellent college.” –Nick Vujicic, clergyman. Your kids can learn math, reading, and other skills at school but they’ll learn the real-life lessons—perseverance, forgiveness, charity, and love—from you.

Father walking with a stroller and a baby in the city streets4Max/Shutterstock

The most important job

“Being a dad is my most important role. If I fail at this I fail at everything.” –Mark Wahlberg. There may not be performance reviews, raises, expensed lunches, or clear project goals but when it comes to jobs, fatherhood has the best perks. Couch snuggles, butterfly kisses, painted hand prints, and burnt toast on Father’s Day are way better than any award, right?

Father and son with surfboard standing on beach on a sunny daywavebreakmedia/Shutterstock

At least it’s money well spent

“A father carries pictures in his wallet—where his money used to be.” –Anonymous. Spending money on your kids is investing in your memory bank. That may not sound like much now but when you’re older you’ll be grateful there is so much to withdraw.

Young black father helping his boys with homework. Multiethnic brothers studying with their dad at home. Two cute children doing homeworks with the help of their loving parent.Rido/Shutterstock

And the lifetime achievement award goes to Dad

“I would say my greatest achievement in life right now—my greatest achievement, period, and I’m still trying to achieve it—is to be a wonderful father to my kids.” —Bo Jackson. And this is the guy who was named an all-star in both pro baseball and football. We bet his kids are just as proud of him as he is of them!

Grandparents playing with their granddaughterbbernard/Shutterstock

Babies have that effect on people

“The only way I can describe fatherhood—it sounds stupid, but—at the end of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, you know how his heart grows like five times? Everything is full; It’s just full all the time.” –Matt Damon. Children have a magical way of showing us that we are capable of so much more love than we ever thought possible and bringing us back from the brink of despair.

African American father reading a fairy tale fable story for kids at home. Happy family lying on the floor indoorsTwinsterphoto/Shutterstock

Dads set the example their children will judge all other men by

“I decided in my life that I would do nothing that did not reflect positively on my father’s life.” –Sidney Poitier. Who, in a moment of weakness, hasn’t stopped to think, “What would my dad say if he could see me now?”—and then changed course?

Happy young father, mother and cute baby boy lying on rustic wooden floorKatsiaryna Pakhomava/Shutterstock

You can’t help falling for those big eyes

“Having a kid is like falling in love for the first time when you’re 12, but every day.” –Mike Myers. Every dad thinks their child is the smartest, most beautiful, funniest person on the planet—and that’s exactly how it should be.

Father Holding Newborn Baby Son In NurseryMonkey Business Images/Shutterstock

It’s the best and the worst part of being a dad

“It is not flesh and blood but the heart which makes us fathers and sons.” –Friedrich Schiller. Decades of shared history bond fathers and kids in a way nothing else can. When you look back on the memories of your childhood, your dad is always there in a supporting role.

Father holding his baby girl at homewavebreakmedia/Shutterstock

But if they know that, they know everything

“I wasn’t anything special as a father. But I loved them and they knew it.” —Sammy Davis, Jr. At the end of the day, the best gift you can give your kids isn’t a new toy, or a trip, or a video game—it’s the gift of your time. Show your kids you love them, don’t just say it. Have a great dad in your life? Tell him with one of the 13 best compliments you can give a parent.

Outdoor shot of happy father and son in front of the car using mobile phone and laughing. Young man and little boy watching something on smart phone and enjoying while on road trip.Jacob Lund/Shutterstock

It’s all about priorities

“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. It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture when you’re caught up in the day to day chaos of raising kids. Take a minute to remember who, and why, you’re doing all this in the first place.

Father and pre teen daughter playing on tablet together on couch in room at home. Good parent and child relations.Alena Ozerova/Shutterstock

Said like a true politician

“I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it.” –Harry S. Truman. A good father is a great listener. Telling your child what to do is easy, watching them make mistakes and learn how to do it themselves can be one of the hardest things a dad ever has to do.

Coach spending time mentoring a student athlete.digitalskillet/Shutterstock

Not all fathers are biological

“Whoever does not have a good father should procure one.” –Friedrich Nietzsche. Just because a man gave you half your DNA doesn’t mean he deserves the title of “dad.” If biology has failed you, make a beautiful family out of those who love you like family.

father helping his daughter to take first step of lifeRehan Qureshi/Shutterstock

Not to mention all the times she throws up on you

“I rescind my earlier statement of ‘I could never fall in love with a girl who poops her pants.’ I hadn’t met my daughter yet.” –Dax Shepard, actor. Parenthood will push you to the very limits of what you can handle, especially when it comes to gross bodily functions.

Grandfather holds granddaughter on hands. mother playing with her daughterHrecheniuk Oleksii/Shutterstock

And baby teeth are razor sharp

“There are times when parenthood seems nothing more than feeding the hand that bites you.” –Peter De Vries. Parenting can be a truly thankless job—where else can you do everything exactly as the customer ordered it only to have them throw it at you and break down screaming for no reason at all? But that doesn’t mean they’re not grateful. You’ll just have to wait until they’re 30 for them to tell you.

Daddy with little boy playing with toy carsgoodluz/Shutterstock

Babies also like to spike their hair up

“The kid who throws his spaghetti from the high chair onto his father’s face, he’s pushing back. He’s sticking it to the man as he sees it. I like that. So that is punk.” –Henry Rollins, punk musician. Who doesn’t love a kid who’s got a little bit of an attitude—just like their old man? If you’re feeling like more of a comedian than a punk, try out one of these 31 groan-worthy dad jokes that will still make you LOL.

family, childhood, creativity, activity and people concept - happy father and little son playing with toy blocks at homeSyda Productions/Shutterstock

It hurts because you love them so much

“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, author of Don’t Let Go. Losing a beloved father can feel like losing your whole world, the foundation just falls right out from underneath you, but before you can fall too far, you remember all the ways he would catch you—and you realize he still is.

Father and son playing in empty stadium IndigoLT/Shutterstock

Bad dancing is what dads do

“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. Embarrassing your kids as preteens is just payback for all the times they humiliated you at the grocery store (and the library and the restaurant and…).

Father And Son Sitting On Sofa Using Digital TabletMonkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Well, that explains all the bow ties!

“My father was a very good Boy Scout. He was very skilled with knots, and he showed me how to tie a bow tie.” –Bill Nye, the Science Guy. Nothing says bonding like sharing a hobby with your dad. Whether your dad was into scouting or something else like soccer, painting, hiking, or Legos, chances are he passed on some awesome skills to you.

Close up of happy father and son in front of the car looking at the mobile phone. Young man and little boy using smart phone while on road trip.Jacob Lund/Shutterstock

Only together do we reach our full potential

“I feel more and more like ‘myself’ these days. Before becoming a father, I can remember a low-level feeling of somehow not quite being myself.” –B.D. Wong, actor. We often feel like we were born to help shape our children but a smart parent quickly realizes that, just as much, they were born to help shape us. Next, read these hilarious mom quotes that will have you cry-laughing.

Charlotte Hilton Andersen
Charlotte Hilton Andersen, BS, MS, has been covering health, fitness, parenting, and culture for many major outlets, both in print and online, for 15 years. She's the author of two books, co-host of the Self Help Obsession podcast, and also does freelance editing and ghostwriting. She has appeared in television news segments for CBS, FOX, and NBC.