Dads—kings of the deadpan joke, masters of the grill, defenders of the realm—we salute your unrivaled ability to never ask for help, your unflinching commitment to finding the remote while turning the living room upside down, and your impressive “dance” moves at family gatherings.

You’re the real MVP—Most Venerable Paterfamilas. We’d write poems about you, but we appreciate you more than words can express. (Besides, most poems about dads aren’t so chipper, though Robert Hayden knew a thing or two.)

In honor of the fathers out there who effortlessly combine wisdom, love, a sense of humor, and an unshakable commitment to their families, we asked some members of the Flock to share a few words from their own Daddy Warbucks, Papa Smurf, Big Daddy Kane, or Odin the All-Father.

(Send this post to your own dad—he’ll like it more than the tie you got him last year.)

Nichole Pike (father: Tom Hunt)

Did you check with Mom?

Growing up, my dad was the ultimate provider. He worked two jobs, seven days a week, so that my mother could be a full-time caretaker. Because of his sacrifice, I never wanted for anything. In his limited spare time, he crafted the best bedtime stories. Instead of reading books, he would customize worlds for his children to momentarily escape in, laced with humor and sentiment uniquely suited for each of our personalities. But when it came down to asking him for permission to go out or if he knew where our Game Boy was, it was always: Did you check with Mom?

Alyssa Thorne (father: Kevin Thorne)

No one is a stranger.

This comes with the territory of being an extrovert’s daughter, but my dad has never in his life met a stranger. Every encounter and every opportunity is a chance to make a friend. It has always been super helpful to me as a default introvert, but you never know what the outcome of being nice and friendly to someone is.

Robert Darku (father: Emmanuel Darku)

That’s theirs. This is yours.

Appreciate yourself and your achievements. Get inspired by your environment and be motivated to do more, be better. But do not be envious of another. Comparison is the thief of joy.

Kimberly Stepp (father: Rodney Stepp)

Get some rest. Things will be different in the morning.

My dad has always been cool, calm, and collected. And I have always been the total opposite. He reminds me to take care of my whole self. And knowing that I can overthink things, can get stuck thinking about a particular thing, and always try to defend my position to the end, my dad reminds me to just hush and consider how my health is being impacted. Getting some rest helps me to relax my mind and body and to de-escalate so that I can think with a clear head in the morning.

Ashley Nixon (father: Ron Sutton)

You have to do what’s right for you.

On my way home from an internship interview at Rare Bird, my dad and I were talking about me potentially moving up to Indy. I had never lived far away from my family and friends. He told me I needed to look out for myself and not let being away from them stop me from anything. I took that advice, and I think it has panned out pretty darn well. 🙂

Justin Dantzer (father: Charley Dantzer)

If at first you don’t succeed, use a bigger tool.

I’ve heard this multiple times over the years, usually used fairly literally, when my father has helped me with car repair projects. In the end, the project has to get done—if it breaks, it breaks, and you move forward.

Andrew Scott (father: Bob Scott)

Act like you belong and you will.

As a reporter, my dad was accustomed to the easy access afforded by a press pass. When we attended sporting events he wasn’t writing about, we would almost always move down to better seats, once it was clear no one was sitting there. When I was a boy, this tendency made me uneasy. I was afraid we’d get in trouble, but he always said: Act like you belong. This advice was more like his approach to life. Rules for their own sake, that weren’t truly meaningful, were not worth his time. There’s arrogance in that, I suppose. Now that he’s gone and I have boys of my own, I see value in the tangential lessons of his approach—how it might engender confidence and instill a healthy skepticism toward unquestioned authority. If you’re afraid to move from the nose-bleeds down to the third-base line before the top of the fourth, how will you push down fear when it really matters?

Tom Gasta (father: Bill Gasta)

Train yourself.
Never expect a company to train you. If they offer training, take it, but don’t expect it or ask for it. You are responsible for keeping yourself up to date and growing. Always be learning. Learning doesn’t stop with the end of school. In fact, it’s only just beginning. Specializing starts when school ends.

Jim Cota (father: Dick Cota)

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