Wisdom and advice from and about dear ole dad that has appeared in the pages of Esquire over the decades. Come, sit by the knee and discover what people have learned about fatherhood.

Fatherhood? I love it. It introduced an element of fear into my life. When you’re a bachelor, you don’t give a shit. You can do anything. But when you become a father, you get scared about everything. —Alex Trebek, April 2003

After all these years, our father has never understood that we, his children, tend to gravitate toward the very people he’s spent his life warning us about. —David Sedaris, June 1998

I would envision different scenarios in which I would become violent reacting to people’s reactions to my children—especially to my severely handicapped child. Eventually, he taught me that was not necessary. Just by himself. By being a gift to us. He showed us how to have faith and belief and inner strength and to never give up. —Neil Young, January 2006

My mother used to say to me when I was a kid: “I’d throw myself in front of a truck for you.” Over and over again. I didn’t know what the hell she was talking about. “What do you mean, you want to throw . . . you’ll die.” I say that to my kids now. —Gene Simmons, July 2002

Children learn from what you are rather than what you tell them. What you try to jam into their heads isn’t going to be worth beans if the way you’re living your life doesn’t look like that. —Alan Arkin, January 2007

My daddy said, “When the sun comes up, boy, you get up. When the sun go down, dammit, you go down.” —Al Green, November 2001

My dad didn't pass down any soufflé recipes. For him, it was all about the sandwich, and he taught me to pay attention to every part. That meant meats and cheeses sliced to order from the deli and using bakery bread, light but sturdy, so it won’t get soggy when it comes in contact with the filling. You want to slice the bread yourself so that you can balance the ratio of the filling to your bread—let’s say 30 percent filling to 35 percent bread on either side. The last consideration is the most important: You must offset the richness of the meat with some acidity, whether pickles [or] slaw. Because whether it’s made by the dad or the son, a good sandwich is about relationships. —Michael Symon, June/July 2012

Children teach you that you can still be humbled by life, that you learn something new all the time. That’s the secret to life, really . . . I’m still working because I learn something new all the time. It’s the secret to relationships—never think you’ve got it all. —Clint Eastwood, January 2009

Regardless of whether I might prefer another woman to my wife, I recoil from the possibility of harming my children, putting a blight on their budding young lives, robbing them of what I promised by inference in bringing them into the world. When I think of that, when I look upon my fine intelligent son, my adorable lovely small daughter, the mere thought of a broken home fills me with horror. The emotion of joy which my children arouse in me is mighty as the overture to Tannhäuser, a crescendo of glorious music beside which the pleasures of infidelity are no more than the quaverings of a tubercular saxophone, trivial and without power. —Anonymous, June 1939

He used to say that I must wish I had a father who didn’t drink so much, and I’d always say no, that I knew a lot of fathers, and some of them didn’t drink as much as he did, but that despite this he was far and away the best father I’d seen. —Ben Cheever, November 1988

It is our nightmare, of wanting desperately to protect our children, not least of all from ourselves. The American father lives inside the discrepancy between what he hopes for his children and what he does to them. —John Leonard, December 1975

My father would say, “Do the best you can. And then the hell with it.” He always looked at the effort grade rather than the final grade. —Ted Kennedy, January 2003

What do I do well as a father? I’m there all the time. I give unconditional love. And I have a lot of skills in terms of getting them to express themselves. I’m good with handy hints—if they can tell me what their problem is—’cause I’ve had a lot of problems in life myself. I make an effort to expose them to things. I want them to have a deep, inner feeling that it’s all right to be happy, that you don’t have to be constantly manufacturing problems that you don’t really have. —Jack Nicholson, January 2004

I saw my father three times in the next ten years. And what times those were . . . Running to meet him in the hotel hallway, doors flashing past, into his arms and he smelled of cigarette smoke. Later during numerous of my identity crises I would blow smoke through my clothing to recapture those moments. —William S. Burroughs Jr., September 1971

My father was a lesson. He had his own bakery, and it was closed one day a week, but he would go anyway. He did it because he really loved his bakery. It wasn’t a job. —Christopher Walken, June 2009

Tonight, Cecelia and will sleep together in the narrow hospital bed, the baby on my chest: seven pounds, seven ounces, the weight of my entire world. —Daniel Voll, June 1999

One rule of parenting? Forgive everything. —Michael Caine, December 2014

From: Esquire Us