Men never get to experience childbirth, which is painful and can be dangerous for women. This does not make fatherhood any less challenging than motherhood. By their words and deeds and by the values they hold, fathers exert a great deal of influence on their children. When that influence is positive, fatherhood becomes a proud calling and a badge of honour.
The following are a dozen quotes that deal with some aspects of fatherhood. Hopefully, they will provide some inspiration and enlightenment to everyone in the shipping world — be they fathers, sons or daughters.
For generations fathers had watched earth and sea.
— Pearl S. Buck, The Big Wave (1948)
By the recollection of my father’s character, I learned to be both modest and manly.
— Marcus Aurelius, The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius (translated from the Greek by Jeremy Collier, 1887)
One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters.
— proverb, from George Herbert’s Jacula Prudentum (1651)
While a man’s father is alive, look at the bent of his will; when his father is dead, look at his conduct. If for three years he does not alter from the way of his father, he may be called filial.
— Confucius, The Analects (translated by James Legge, 1893)
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, Foucault’s Pendulum (translated from the Italian by William Weaver, 1989)
A father is one friend upon whom we can always rely. In the hour of need, when all else fails, we remember this man upon whose knees we sat when children, and who soothed our sorrows; and although he can in no way assist us, his presence alone comforts and strengthens.
— Emile Gaboriau, File No. 113 (1867)
Fathers never have exactly the daughters they want because they invent a notion of them that the daughters have to conform to. Mothers accept them as they are.
— Simone de Beauvoir, The Woman Destroyed (translated from the French by Patrick O’Brian, 1969)
“Why do men like me want sons?” he wondered. “It must be because they hope in their poor beaten souls that these new men, who are their blood, will do the things they were not strong enough nor wise enough nor brave enough to do. It is rather like another chance with life; like a new bag of coins at a table of luck after your fortune is gone…”
— John Steinbeck, Cup of Gold: A Life of Sir Henry Morgan, Buccaneer, with Occasional Reference to History (1929)
There’s no better cure for the fear of taking after one’s father, than not to know who he is.
— André Gide, The Counterfeiters (translated from the French by Dorothy Bussy, 1927)
We think our fathers fools, so wise we grow;
Our wiser sons no doubt will think us so.
— Alexander Pope, The Complete Poetical Works of Alexander Pope (1903)
It is a wise father that knows his own child.
— William Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice (between 1596 and 1598)
If there’s one thing I regret, it’s not telling my father. how much I admired and loved him. My only show of affection was limited to a quick kiss on his forehead two days before he died.
— Juan Gabriel Vásquez, La forma de las ruinas (The Shape of the Ruins) (2015)