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Quotations on Fatherhood

For thousands of years, father and son have stretched wistful hands across the canyon of time, each eager to help the other to his side, but neither quite able to desert the loyalties of his contemporaries. The relationship is always changing and hence always fragile; nothing endures except the sense of difference. -- Alan Valentine

"A father is always making his baby into a little woman. And when she is a woman he turns her back again." -- Enid Bagnold

"It no longer bothers me that I may be constantly searching for father figures; by this time, I have found several and dearly enjoyed knowing them all." -- Alice Walker

"That is the thankless position of the father in the family-the provider for all, and the enemy of all." -- J. August Strindberg

"It is a wise father that knows his own child." -- William Shakespeare

"It doesn't matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was." -- Anne Sexton

"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

"A man knows when he is growing old because he begins to look like his father." -- Gabriel García Márquez

"For rarely are sons similar to their fathers: most are worse, and a few are better than their fathers." Homer

"It doesn't matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was." Anne Sexton

"Jarrell was not so much a father . . . as an affectionate encyclopedia." Mary Jarrell

To My Father

It matters not that Time has shed
His thawless snow upon your head,
For he maintains, with wondrous art,
Perpetual summer in your heart.
- William Hamilton Hayne

"None of you can ever be proud enough of being the child of SUCH a Father who has not his equal in this world-so great, so good, so faultless. Try, all of you, to follow in his footsteps and don't be discouraged, for to be really in everything like him none of you, I am sure, will ever be. Try, therefore, to be like him in some points, and you will have acquired a great deal." -- Victoria, Queen of England

"I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection." -- Sigmund Freud

"I watched a small man with thick calluses on both hands work fifteen and sixteen hours a day. I saw him once literally bleed from the bottoms of his feet, a man who came here uneducated, alone, unable to speak the language, who taught me all I needed to know about faith and hard work by the simple eloquence of his example." -- Mario Cuomo

"Be kind to thy father, for when thou wert young,
Who loved thee so fondly as he?
He caught the first accents that fell from thy tongue,
And joined in thy innocent glee."
-- Margaret Courtney

"If the new American father feels bewildered and even defeated, let him take comfort from the fact that whatever he does in any fathering situation has a fifty percent chance of being right." -- Bill Cosby

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, in "Bringing Up Father," Reader's Digest, September 1937

"I talk and talk and talk, and I haven't taught people in 50 years what my father taught by example in one week." Mario Cuomo, former governor of N.Y.
 "It's only when you grow up, and step back from him, or leave him for your own career and your own home—it's only then that you can measure his greatness and fully appreciate it. Pride reinforces love." -Margaret Truman

 "When a child, my dreams rode on your wishes,
I was your son, high on your horse,
My mind a top whipped by the lashes
Of your rhetoric, windy of course." -Sir Stephen Spender

"I just owe almost everything to my father [and] it's passionately interesting for me that the things that I learned in a small town, in a very modest home, are just the things that I believe have won the election."-Margaret Thatcher

"People see Archie Bunker everywhere. Particularly girls; poor girls, rich girls, all kinds of girls are always coming up to me and telling me that Archie is just like their dad."-Carroll O'Connor

"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."-Marlene Dietrich

"My father died many years ago,
and yet when something special happens to me,
I talk to him secretly not really knowing whether he hears,
but it makes me feel better to half believe it."-Natasha Josefowitz 

 

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