Welcome to January Perspectives series as the Single Dad’s Guide to Life Partners with Brandi Kennedy: Love Stories and Lifestyle for the Undaunted Woman. I have been writing things from the single dad’s perspective while Brandi covers things from a single mother’s perspective.  If you haven’t checked out her blog, definitely give it a try.  And make sure to take a look at both sides of various issues, from movie reviews to food celebrations to our views on how to keep calm while being a single parent, we give our viewpoints.  So for this next post, we are giving our top ten quotes on what it means to be a mother or, in my case, a father.  Hence, I am covering the top ten quotes about dads.


As I looked over quotes about dads, I wanted to make sure I found ones that covered a breadth of things about dads.  I didn’t just want to stick to one subject, or just find the funniest quotes.  I wanted to cultivate quotes that covered the experience of fatherhood and being a dad.  This can be as a son looking at his father or as a father trying to raise his daughter to the best of his ability.   It will cover anything from sports coaches to writers of days gone by, I have searched high and low for the best quotes out there about dads.  And with each quote, I will explain why I think it’s important.  So without further ado, I present the top ten quotes about dads.

Top Ten Quotes About Dads

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“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.”

  • Jim Valvano

One of the best feelings in the world is when you know your dad believes in you.  And Jim Valvano exemplified this every day of his life.  Whether it was his kids or the college basketball players he coached, he displayed this unwavering belief in the kids he worked with.  And the crazy thing was when he gave this talk the quote comes from, he was suffering and dying from cancer.  And yet the belief of his father in him made him realize some impossible goals, and to never keep trying.  If you haven’t heard the inspiring speech he gave at the Espy’s the final year of his life, you are really missing out on something.



“When a father gives to his son, both laugh. When a son gives to his father, both cry.”

  • William Shakespeare

I don’t know about you, but Shakespeare seems to understand the human condition as well as any author out there.  I know for a fact, when my father gave to me, there were just smiles throughout the room.  He made me feel loved.  But when I gave back to my father, whether it was a kind word or some help around the house, we become so emotional, words are hard to come by.  It is just a fact of life and I cannot tell you why it happens.  But it does happen.  I remember my father in the hospital and me just telling him I loved him.  We both ended up there in tears.  It was so crazy all my dad’s vitals went out of whack.



“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. That’s what I feel with my son. There’s suddenly another level of love that expands. My son is my greatest joy, out of everything in my life.”

  • Kyle MacLachlan

Definitely not a person I would have thought about when looking for dad quotes.  But Kyle MacLachlan expresses succinctly my experience as a father, with the exception of having a daughter rather than a son.  I have grown as a person in so many different ways since having my daughter.  While I am not a perfect person, I am definitely a better one.   Because once I had a child, the unimportant things seemed to vanish away.  And the love we have in our heart expands beyond comprehension.


“Dad taught me everything I know. Unfortunately, he didn’t teach me everything he knows.”

  • Al Unser Jr.

I remember when my grandfather passed away.  I know my dad wishes he had been closer to his own father, but he was not.  And so he desperately wanted to understand more about the man who was his dad.  So he took as much of his book collection as he dared and dug into everything he felt like made my grandfather tick.  Unfortunately, reading books isn’t necessarily the best reflection of who my grandfather was as a person.  And so my dad had been taught so much by his dad and yet, he still felt like he had so much more to learn.  I think it’s kind of sad knowing when we realize how much wisdom our fathers have for us, it is too late and we have lost the opportunity to learn about so many more important things.  This should remind us daily to spend time with our fathers before it’s too late.

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“When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”

  • Mark Twain

Similar to what Tim Russert said, but in a style that exemplified Mr. Twain.  ‘It’s a little more direct in expressing the growing admiration we have for our fathers.  For when we think we know it all, our fathers are too old to remember.  But when reality sets in and we are confronted with all of the things we do not know, we go back to the wisdom of our fathers.  We remember what we have been taught and realize all of the wisdom therein.  And then we admire and respect the forbearance our fathers have given us over time.



“A man knows when he is growing old because he begins to look like his father.”

  • Gabriel García Márquez

It was crazy the day I turned 25 and then listened to myself on an answering machine.  I think I wanted to faint.  For the longest time, we strive to be different from our fathers.  And I wanted to be different, and yet here I was hearing my voice over a recorder and realizing how much I am like my father.  And there is a kind of sadness which falls upon you at that point.  Becuase you have lost your youth.  You realize that you have become your dad.  And yet in that same moment, you begin to realize how smart your father truly was.  And so you would not have it any other way.  The fact that you reflect your fathers image becomes a compliment instead of a detraction.



“The nature of impending fatherhood is that you are doing something that you’re unqualified to do, and then you become qualified while doing it.”
  • John Green

I would never have thought I would be closing off the quotes with a YA author.  And definitely not one from John Green the master of weepy teen romance.  But I think this one rings so true when it comes to being a dad.  It doesn’t matter how many books you read or what you do beforehand.  Nothing prepares you for the emotional roller coaster you will be on once you become a father.  And your feelings can shift so rapidly from exasperation to exhilaration and back again all in the space of a few seconds.  Children are amazing this way. The only way you end up being an amazing dad is by being an amazing dad, with or without preparation.  Because nothing can teach you about being a parent the way experience teaches you.  We learn on the job.


Continue The Conversation

What are your favorite quotes of all time?  Of course, I love ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.  But what things inspire you?  And if you have any particular quotes about mothers or fathers, I would love to hear them.  There just don’t seem to be as many quotes about fathers for some reason.


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If you liked this post, please check out the corresponding post by Brandi Kennedy, and definitely like this post at the end if you can.  Also, follow me here at the Guide, and if you sign up via email you will get access to The Dad Rules, ten rules every father should know about and follow.  Thank you for stopping by, and keep tuning in throughout the month to follow the perspectives series.

Until next time, this is me signing off.

David Elliott, Single Dad’s Guide to Life