Lost for words? These quotes by authors, leaders and philosophers, past and present, reflect on the meaning of fatherhood – for our heroes, protectors and first loves.

“The heart of a father is the masterpiece of nature.” ~Prevost Abbe, Manon Lescaut

“Dads are most ordinary men turned by love into heroes, adventurers, storytellers, and singers of song.” ~Pam Brown

“A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.” ~Billy Graham

“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 the little scraps of wisdom.” ~Umberto Eco

“He adopted a role called being a Father so that his child would have something mythical and infinitely important: a Protector.” ~Tom Wolfe

“By the time a man realises that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he’s wrong.” ~Charles Wadsworth

“It is very important that children learn from their fathers and mothers how to love one another – not in the school, not from the teacher, but from you. It is very important that you share with your children the joy of that smile. There will be misunderstandings; every family has its cross, its suffering. Always be the first to forgive with a smile. Be cheerful, be happy.” ~Mother Teresa

“It’s the courage to raise a child that makes you a father.” ~Barack Obama

“It’s only when you grow up and step back from him – or leave him for your own home – it’s only then that you can measure his greatness and fully appreciate it.” ~Margaret Truman

“I am not ashamed to say that no man I ever met was my father’s equal, and I never loved any other man as much.” ~Hedy Lamarr

“Lately all my friends are worried they’re turning into their fathers. I’m worried I’m not.” ~Dan Zevin

“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person: He believed in me.” ~Jim Valvano

“To the world, you are a dad. To our family, you are the world.” ~Unknown

“What you teach your children, you also teach their children.” ~Unknown

“Sometimes the poorest man leaves his children the richest inheritance.” ~Ruth E. Renkel

“I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.” ~Sigmund Freud

“Listen, there is no way any true man is going to let children live around him in his home and not discipline and teach, fight and mould them until they know all he knows. His goal is to make them better than he is. Being their friend is a distant second to this.” ~Victor Devlin

“A father is a man who expects his son to be as good a man as he meant to be.” ~Frank A. Clark

“Every father should remember that one day his son will follow his example… instead of his advice.” ~Unknown

“When a man makes up a story for his child, he becomes a father and a child together, listening.” ~Rumi

“No matter what you’ve done for yourself or for humanity, if you can’t look back on having given love and attention to your own family, what have you really accomplished?” ~Lee Iacocca

“It is not flesh and blood, but heart which makes us fathers and sons.” ~Friedrich von Schiller

“One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters.” ~George Herbert

“What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.” ~Mother Teresa

“There is no teacher equal to mother and there’s nothing more contagious than the dignity of a father.” ~Amit Ray