17 Father’s Day Quotes to Take Your Card for Your Dad to the Next Level

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Happy almost-Father’s Day! Got your card ready? Your gift wrapped? Your dad-themed brunch menu planned? In case you need a little inspiration for that Hallmark inscription, we’ve assembled 17 perfect quotes for Father’s Day — about everything from lessons we learned from our dads to what it’s like actually being a father. From the funny to the poignant, these wise words should help get the juices flowing. When in doubt, though, remember: The best sentiments come straight from the heart.

1. Growing Up

"Lately all my friends are worried that they're turning into their fathers. I'm worried that I'm not."

- Dan Zevin

2. Learning as We Go

“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.”

- Umberto Eco

3. The Life Cycle of a Dad

“There are three stages of a man’s life: He believes in Santa Claus, he doesn’t believe in Santa Claus, he is Santa Claus.”

- Anonymous

4. Reaching for the Stars

5. New Fatherhood

"Having a staring contest with a newborn is one of the weirdest things you will ever do. And it is highly recommended."

- Ross McCammon

6. The Most Important Lesson of All

“I have never been a material girl. My father always told me never to love anything that cannot love you back.”

- Imelda Marcos

7. How to Be a Dad

“Be a dad. Don’t be ‘Mom’s assistant.’ That’s depressing, just waiting for her to write you a list, walk around a store staring at it, calling her from the cereal aisle to make sure you got the right thing. Be a man. Make your own list. Fathers have skills that they never use at home. You run a landscaping business and you can’t dress and feed a 4-year-old? Take it on. Spend time with your kids and have your own ideas about what they need. It won’t take away your manhood; it will give it to you. I did that. I spent more time with my kids. And I found out that I’m a pretty bad father. I make a lot of mistakes and I don’t know what I’m doing. But my kids love me. Go figure.”

- Louis C.K.

8. Like Father, Like Child

9. Leaving the Nest

“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

10. Changing Perspectives

“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.”

- Mark Twain

11. Wrapped in Love

12. On Memory

“It doesn’t matter who my father was. It matters who I remember he was.”

- Anne Sexton

13. Daddy’s Little Girl

Old as she was, she still missed her daddy sometimes.

- Gloria Naylor

14. On Living

15. On Not Being Infallible

“He promised us that everything would be okay. I was a child, but I knew that everything would not be okay. That did not make my father a liar. It made him my father.”

- Jonathan Safran Foer

16. Girl Stuff

(or takes HER fishing, we might add.)

17. The Golden Rule

“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

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