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Parenting Quotes From 12 Famous Dads

There’s a famous quote that says, “Anyone can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad.” Indeed, there’s a lot more to being a dad than biological parenthood; biology isn’t even a requirement for the role. Rather, it means a commitment to and investment in a child’s life — being present, supportive, and actively involved in their upbringing.

Of course, fatherhood, like any parenthood, isn't without its challenges, which may include balancing work responsibilities, contending with confusing messages from the outside world, and learning to trust instincts — both our own and our kids’.

Those raising children in the public eye may face additional challenges, but love underpins every struggle. From television stars to politicians to athletes, several famous dads have proudly and publicly embraced the transformative role of fatherhood over the years. Whether they welcomed us along for the ride of their own parenting journeys or simply felt like collective paternal figures, here are 12 famous dads and some of their most insightful, meaningful, or just downright funny quotes about dad life.

Above all, children need our unconditional love — whether they succeed or make mistakes; when life is easy and when life is tough.
Barack Obama, father of two

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I don’t know what’s more exhausting about parenting: the getting up early or the acting like you know what you are doing.
Jim Gaffigan, father of five

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It’s the Williams way, my way, to take your trials and turn them into triumphs, to turn your contests into victories, to fight and never let anyone else define or defeat you.
Richard Williams, father of Serena and Venus Williams

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We don’t have to understand everything as parents, but if we lead with love and then we go and find the information, we go out and make sure that our kids have a life that we worked hard for.
Dwyane Wade, raising five children

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Somewhere along the line, I figured out, the only thing really, I think, eventually a parent can do is say I love you, there’s nothing you can do wrong, you cannot hurt my feelings, I hope you will forgive me on occasion, and what do you need me to do? You offer up that to them. I will do anything I can possibly do in order to keep you safe. That’s it. Offer that up and then just love them.
Tom Hanks, father of four

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The greatest thing that we can do is to help somebody know that they're loved and capable of loving.
Fred Rogers, father of two

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I feel that the greatest gift that I can give my children is the freedom to be who they are … If it’s an oak tree, I want it to grow as an oak tree. I’m not going to try to force it to be an apple tree.
Will Smith, father of three

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Being present with your child, that’s the greatest gift that you can give to any child — your attention.
David Beckham, father of four

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Buying your kid a goldfish is a great way to teach them about responsibility for 24-36 hours.
Conan O’Brien, father of two

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You love them; you try to give them opportunities to build self-esteem and believe in themselves. You can't tell someone they're great. You have to give them opportunities to prove to themselves they're great.
Dax Shepard, father of two

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I'm a fan of my kids, especially their early, funny work.
Ken Jennings, father of two

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The attitude you have as a parent is what your kids will learn from more than what you tell them. They don't remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are.
Jim Henson, father of five

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Featured image credit: Pool/ Getty Images Sport via Getty Images

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About the Author
Nicole Villeneuve
Nicole is a writer, thrift store lover, and group-chat meme spammer based in Ontario, Canada.
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