When a man becomes a father, his world changes more than a man without offspring can quite understand. Having children colors every aspect of a person’s life, enriching it here, complicating it there, bringing joy and frustration, pride and fatigue, and, often enough, plenty of abject confusion. While there are many guides, websites, and advice columns dedicated to the topic of parenting, that book they tell you about before you have kids? The one with all the answers that you get when you become a dad? Yeah, that’s not real. It turns out you have to figure most of it out on your own.
Fully appreciating how it feels to have kids may be nigh on impossible for the childless, and that proverbial Dad Book might not exist, but by reading through some famous quotes on fatherhood, you can get a decent sense of the heady madness of the experience.
Here are 15 great quotes about fatherhood by fathers that will help dads feel like maybe they’re not such big screw-ups after all. However, they might make other guys consider enhanced birth control options for a few more years.
“I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.”
“Anyone who tells you fatherhood is the greatest thing that can happen to you, they are understating it”
“It is a wise father that knows his own child.”
“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 he had learned in seven years.”
Walter M. Schirra, Sr.
“You don’t raise heroes, you raise sons. And if you treat them like sons, they’ll turn out to be heroes, even if it’s just in your own eyes.”
“I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.”
“[Man adopts] a role called Being a Father so that his child would have something mythical and infinitely important: a Protector, who would keep a lid on all the chaotic and catastrophic possibilities of life.”
“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.”
J. August Strindberg
“That is the thankless position of the father in the family — the provider for all, and the enemy of all.”
“Having children is like living in a frat house. Nobody sleeps, everything’s broken, and there’s a lot of throwing up.”
“I was selfish before. Everyone is. But when you have kids, they become your main priority.”
“Any fool can have a child. That doesn’t make you a father. It’s the courage to raise a child that makes you a father.”
Harry S. Truman
“I have found the very best way to advise your children is to find out what they want to do and advise them to do it.”
“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”
“Every father should remember one day his son will follow his example, not his advice.”
For more inspiration, here are the best quotes about manhood.