Fathers, grandfathers, and other strong male role models have the powerful influence to shape us into who we are become as adults. Filling the roles of protectors, supporters and teachers, fathers have an indelible role in our lives. Many successful professionals, including myself, owe at least some of their success to lessons they've learned from their fathers. Here are some quotes about the fathers that have inspired and motivated some of society's greatest successes:

  1. "My father used to say that it's never too late to do anything you wanted to do. And he said, 'You never know what you can accomplish until you try.'"--Michael Jordan
  2. "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. "I decided in my life that I would do nothing that did not reflect positively on my father's life."--Sidney Poitier
  4. "The older I get, the smarter my father seems to get."--Tim Russert
  5. "When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years."--Mark Twain
  6. "My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person: he believed in me."--Jim Valvano
  7. "He was a father. That's what a father does. Eases the burdens of those he loves. Saves the ones he loves from painful last images that might endure for a lifetime."--George Saunders
  8. "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
  9. "I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection." -Sigmund Freud
  10. "By the time a man realizes that his father was right, he has a son who thinks he's wrong." -Charles Wadsworth
  11. "[My father] didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it."--Clarence B. Kelland
  12. "When my father didn't have my hand...he had my back." -Linda Poindexter
  13. "I have never been a material girl. My father always told me never to love anything that cannot love you back"--Imelda Marcos
  14. "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
  15. "Love and fear. Everything the father of a family says must inspire one or the other."--Joseph Joubert
  16. "I have always had the feeling I could do anything, and my dad told me I could. I was in college before I found out he might be wrong."--Ann Richards
  17. "My dad, like any coach, has always stressed the fundamentals. He taught me responsibility, accountability, and the importance of hard work."--Steve Young
  18. "He has always provided me a safe place to land and a hard place from which to launch."--Chelsea Clinton
  19. "His heritage to his children wasn't words or possessions, but an unspoken treasure, the treasure of his example as a man and father."--Will Rogers, Jr.

Do you identify with these words of wisdom about our fathers' impact on our lives? What lessons has your father taught you?