50 Amazing Dad Quotes
Celebrate your dad every day of the year.
When does a joke become a dad joke? When it’s full groan!
And when does a quote become a dad quote? When it’s about dear old dad, of course! While it’s true that the official dad-celebration day is in June, we think that it’s important to let your dad know how much you appreciate him and his jokes on a regular basis. The history of Father’s Day is a story of surprising political and economic intrigue, but its most potent legacy isn’t just increased sales of socks and barbecue sauce (or something better from our Father’s Day gift guide), it’s recognizing the contribution and impact dads make in their children’s lives. Your dad will no doubt appreciate a thoughtful Father’s Day quote come June, but there are plenty of other days throughout the year when you can surprise your pops with an appreciative dad quote to let him know how much he means to you. After all, this is the man who taught you life lessons, gave you advice, and wore the same shirt for your entire childhood (according to family photos). And remember to call him later. Or better yet, call him Dad.
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).
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.
Why can nobody in this house turn off a light?!
“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 in a classic dad quote.
RELATED: Heartfelt Father-Son Quotes
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.
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.
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.
RELATED: Funny Father’s Day Quotes
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.
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 it definitely explains some of these dad quotes. Dads may come to regret it, however, when their kids grow up to be “creative” teens!
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, support, and dad quotes.
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.
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!
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 and dad quotes.
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 Fathers. On the other hand, if you make a mistake, chances are it will heal quickly and you’ll do better next time.
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 Minivan. If 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.
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.
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.
RELATED: 66 Friendship Quotes to Share with Your Bestie
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. This dad quote is why 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.
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 left the milk out yet they’re 100 percent sure it wasn’t them.
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?
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 dad quote shows how they get away with black knee-high socks and open sandals all summer long.
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.
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.
Every kid is different
“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.
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 nor your child are a professional athlete, drive is one of the greatest gifts a dad can give. After dad quotes, of course.
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.
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.”
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.
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 drawing on the walls or eating crayons.
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.
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 alongside these dad quotes.
Dad is 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.
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.
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 handprints, and burnt toast on Father’s Day is way better than any award, right?
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 alongside your library of dad quotes.
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. This great dad quote is from 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!
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.
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? These dad quotes really do stick with you!
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.
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.
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.
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 for whom, and why, you’re doing all this in the first place. For dad quotes, of course!
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 isn’t just full of dad quotes, they’re also 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.
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. Dad quotes don’t stop at biological dads.
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.
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 in dad quotes form.
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?
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.
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…)
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 along with some great dad quotes.
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, try these Father’s Day movies to watch with your papa.