A loving father is there to comfort, to encourage and to help instill wisdom that will guide his child on his or her journey in life. Though his love is appreciated year-round, Father’s Day is the perfect time to celebrate him.
This Father’s Day, HuffPost Black Voices asked readers to tell us what lessons they’ve learned from their dad or father figure. Take notes from these 23 awesome daddy lessons and tell us what you’ve learned from your dad in the comments below.
Some submissions have been edited for grammar, punctuation and brevity.
Courtesy of Michael Bradford
“My Father is Ronnie Bradford, Sr. It’s not just the lessons he has taught me, but the lessons we teach other every time we talk. Whether it is learning something new, or learning a new way of doing something old, we both are always willing to try it. When it comes to doing things together, like moving, we don’t have to have a discussion about it. We don’t have to explain how we are going to do anything together.” - Michael Bradford on his father Ronnie Bradford, Sr.
“My father, David Moore, Sr. has ever been an inspiration to us all. His twin sister died in childbirth and he barely survived, and he has had respiratory issues his entire life. He is still a fighter. His dietary and exercise practices have been exemplary. But two more things are at least as — if not more — important. First, he inspired his nine children when he attended UC Santa Barbara, the same university as some of his kids, but a decade after I graduated! He earned his B.S. as a grandfather. Additionally, he insists on being my mother’s primary caregiver. They have been married for 62 years. Everything he does seems to inform the way his offspring live.” - David Moore, Jr. on his father David Moore, Sr.
Courtesy of Tuere Rodriguez
“One important lesson my father taught me was to draw a moral line in the sand and never cross it. That lesson has taken me a long way in my life and my career. That, and how to make a great breakfast! Lol! I truly admire the man he has become!” - Tuere Rodriguez on her father, John Michael Rodriguez
“He continues to be my rock and soul, even in spirit. One of the biggest #DaddyLessons from my father gave was when I was in college. Like any other freshman, I partied myself into academic probation. I anxiously looked up to see my grades posted at the end of the semester. I was in shock after the first grade, second...last one. My father came home and found me with my hair cut short and in a yoga pose ohhmmmmm’g to myself. He asked me what [was] wrong. I just handed him my college transcript, and waited with baited breath for him to go ballistic. He didn’t. I don’t know why I even thought he would. My father never raised his voice. He said, ‘Nina, you’re 19 years old. It’s not the end of the world. You have a whole life ahead of you. Learn from it and apply the lessons to your future.’ He gave me the confidence that can overcome any adversity even at the hand of my own doing. Failure is an option. Be humbled to see your mistakes, admit them, and wise enough to correct them. Forgot the mistakes and remember this lesson. I’ve been applying them ever since.” - Nina Babel on her father, Sylbert Babel
Courtesy of Sharon D. Allison-Ottey
“On June 22, 2015, my life was forever changed and I am still currently fighting through this devastation... I now face my first Father’s Day without...the greatest man that there ever was, my daddy! Daddy taught me to believe in myself, know that I could do ANYTHING that I set out to do despite the odds of being an African American, a woman and not from a rich family— none of that mattered! When faced with racism and sexism, he didn’t coddle me. He simply said, ‘Prove them wrong!’ and that spurned me on with a drive that still pushes me today. He taught me that I was of extreme value all wrapped up in his profound belief in a power greater than himself of any human— his unyielding faith in God which he taught us must be our foundation. My daddy taught all through his example, words and deeds that LOVE never fails and that if we hold fast to our love for our God, our family and ourselves that we WIN each and every time!” - Sharon D. Allison-Ottey, on her father Thomas Edward Allison
Courtesy of Alicia Wallace
“My Dad used to get dressed in the morning and look at himself in a full length mirror and say ‘it don’t get no better than this!’ to encourage himself for the day and acknowledge that he ‘looks better than Denzel Washington.’ I get my confidence from him, from watching that and from knowing that I am loved. I am confident enough to verbalize and actualize the blessings I have in life. That’s priceless. Lesson from my dad: ‘It is the things that come from me that count more then the things that come to me.’” - Maya Wallace on her father, Harvey Wallace
“I’ve observed my father achieve many great things in his life. To ascend to the level of executive in a predominately white corporate world without the traditional credentials was motivating. To be front and center as he pastored a church to heights people doubted he could was awe inspiring. But my respect for my father truly catapulted when I found out he wasn’t Superman. When he was transparent enough to share his flaws and his fears with me is when I learned the truly valuable lessons about life. His vulnerability didn’t make me feel good about my own flaws and fears, but it did let me know I was not alone. My father taught me being unapologetically YOU was the best way to impact the world around you.” Jarad Davis on his father, Pastor Carl Davis
“My father, Kabral Blay-Amihere, has taught me so many lessons in my life, but the biggest one is the lesson of believing in yourself. Although I was raised by my mother, all my life my father has stood as a beacon and a reminder of the possibilities of life. He’s taught me to aspire to greatness. He studied at Harvard and the London School of Economics, become the president of the Ghana Institute of Journalism at just 28, and even served as Ghana’s Ambassador to both Sierra Leone and Cote d’ Ivoire. I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but I’ve also always been afraid that people would not think I’m ‘good enough.’ ‘Don’t worry about that,’ my father once told me. ‘If you think you’re good enough, that is all that matters.’ My dad is a constant reminder to me that whatever my dreams or aspirations are, I can achieve them, no matter the circumstances in my life. I know I can because he did.” - Zeba Blay on her father, Kabral Blay-Amihere
Courtesy of Shawnta Barnes
“My dad raised three girls and he wanted us to be independent women. When I was ten, he would have me open the bills, write the checks, and balance his checkbook. He would check my work for accuracy before I placed the checks inside of the envelopes. He wanted me to understand the importance of being timely with responsibilities. He also wanted us to understand the rewards of sacrifice and saving for the future. Because my dad worked seven days a week and saved money, I did not bring any debt with me when I married my husband. My father wanted my sisters and I to be able to survive in this world as proud black women whether we decided to get married or not. Because of his continued dedication and devotion, we know we can always depend on him even as adults.” - Shawnta Barnes on her father, James Stockton
Courtesy of Brittany King
“Growing up, my dad made sure I knew that I could be whoever I wanted to be as long as I worked hard for it. He never stifled my creativity or imagination (he spent a lot of Saturdays at my pretend tea parties). He made sure I knew that black was and always will be beautiful. He celebrated my mother, her blackness; treated her like a queen. He instilled in me to never allow myself to be a product of my situation. He came from a poor, single parent household, was a first generation college graduate and went back to get is MBA while still providing for his family. Through his actions alone he has shown me what it means to be a man, a Christian and a hard worker. He’s taught me to respect all, not just those who you think will help you get ahead in life. He’s given me a lot of tough love, and I hated him for it at the time, but it has made me so much stronger. I’m so blessed to have such a strong man in my life, cheering me on, always. I love you so much, Dad.” - Brittany King on her dad, Rod King
“Who is my dad? He is a pastor, a husband, a hard worker, a musician and a leader. He is all these things, yet so much more. He’s a father of four children. No one could ever possibly compare to him. If there’s one thing he ever taught me, it’s that if it could get worse, it’s already better. And when things feel like they couldn’t get any worse, he makes it better. That’s why, I wish my father. C. Colier McNair, the best Father’s Day ever❤️��������” - Tziah McNair on her father, C. Colier McNair
“We could go on and on with all the lessons our father, Geoff Green, has taught us but our greatest lesson was watching him lead by example. He would take jobs and promotions that led to moves that forced us out of our comfort zones to provide a better life for our family but always taught us to stay true to ourselves and not to change who we were just to fit in. In these times he emphasized how important it was that the four of us stick together no matter what. He instilled adventure in us, encouraged us to get involved in sports and made traveling a priority to exemplify living life to the fullest. He would physically stand outside in challenging weather to show us never be afraid to face any storms that come our way. Our dad taught us a lot of things but the best thing was having him in our lives to show us what it means to be a real man and father. He is our real life superhero. We love you Dad! Happy Father’s Day.” - “The Green Kids” on their father, Geoff Green
Courtesy of Jessica Davis
“My dads name is Paul Davis, and he taught me to love myself. He gave me a book called ‘In Praise of Black Women’ that celebrates ancient African queens throughout history. I grew up in a community, neighborhood and school where my family was one of only a few families of color, and black beauty wasn’t acknowledged. My dad never wanted me to lose sight of my beauty, so he would read the book with me to make sure that I knew I was black and beautiful.” - Jessica Davis on her father, Paul Davis
Courtesy of Jamelia Thomas
“There’s three things my pops doesn’t play with: education, money and boys. I grew up with a strict father. Just like any other Black father but being an only child and a girl, daddy spoiled me well, but not too much. My pops has always been in my life — whether he was helping me with homework, supporting band concerts and basketball games, and just teaching me about life. I started school early and my dad didn’t want me to get behind, so every day after school he would make me work out of these educational workbooks so that I would be ahead of the curriculum. He only wanted the best for me. He would say, as long as I was trying my best that’s all he could ask for. His most notable quote was to be a leader and not a follower. He wasn’t raising me to follow what everyone else was doing. He was equipping me with the knowledge and confidence to start my own path and that’s exactly what I’m doing. I owe a lot to my pops and I’m forever grateful to have such a great father in my life. Thank you.” - Jamelia Thomas on her father, Melvin Thomas, Jr.
“Wow. I’m sitting here thinking about how supportive you’ve been and continue to be and I just keep thinking about how blessed I am to have a daddy like you. From learning how to ride a bike to pledging Delta to going to grad school, you’ve always taught me that I have more than what it takes to reach my goals. Every step of the way, you’ve believed in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself. I could go on and on about everything you’ve instilled in me — and continue to — but there truly aren’t enough words in this world that would do you justice. Your patience, love and wisdom has helped me become the woman I am. But no matter how old I get, I promise to always be ‘daddy’s big baby.’ I love you, daddy! Happy Father’s Day!” - Taryn Finley on her father, Richard Finley
Courtesy of Brittany Crowley
“Robert Farris is the best example of a Father I could ever ask for. He loves me unconditionally and taught me how to remain strong in the face of adversity. My Father should not be the man he is. Statistics say he should be locked up or an addict. He was an addict and he, by the grace of God, is sober and has been for several years. He taught me that as a black woman, I have to be mindful of the choices I make. And that those choices have a direct impact on the future God has for me and my family. Because my father took time to invest in me and my life, I am married, with two children and on my way to law school. He has always taught me to shoot for the stars and to never give up. Most importantly he showed me to never allow my mistakes to define me. My first best friend. My daddy.” - Brittany Crowley on her father, Robert Farris
Courtesy of Bana Tesfagiorgis
“Hidget – that means ‘forgiveness’ in Tigrinya. This is probably the most important lesson my father has taught me. Anger and resentment that is built up inside of you will make you become someone you don’t recognize, ultimately affecting your mental and spiritual well-being. He reminds me daily that I have a duty to be happy and healthy. Other people’s wrongdoings should not be a burden I carry with me. When I forgive, I recognize that we are all human; we all make mistakes. What’s important is the lessons we learn when someone has hurt or disappointed us. And just as I forgive, I will also seek someone else’s forgiveness because I, too, am flawed... and that’s such a humbling reminder.” - Bana Tesfagiorgis on her father, Teklai Tesfagiorgis
Courtesy of Anna Francois
“My father instilled sage wisdom that has been passed down through Black families for generations, including “a closed mouth don’t get fed”. He never let me forget that my voice matters in this world, and I have a responsibility to use it for purposes greater than myself. As a woman of color, that had made all the difference.” - Anna Francois on her father, Donald Childs
Courtesy of LaToya Brooks
“My dad is a super proud, hard working man, and the most important lesson he’s given me is ‘Life is all about the choices and decisions YOU make.’ That never really made sense to me until I found myself in some hairy situations. I know I’ve always been the wild child and rebel; but I do appreciate all of his advice, him sharing his life lessons with me, and the jewels of wisdom he has bestowed upon me. So, Happy Father’s Day to the greatest father ever, my Pop... Love you.” - LaToya Brooks on her father, June Brooks
Courtesy of Kenneth L. Johnson
“My father Kenneth L. Johnson, Sr., provided me with many lessons in my lifetime, but I believe the life lesson that continues to bare fruit are the [ones] of ‘responsibility and sharing.’ My father provided an excellent daily example of what it means to be responsible, all while going above and beyond to help others in our immediate family and community of Uniontown, Pennsylvania. This may seem like a very trivial lesson in the ‘big picture of life,’ but I promise you, the principles associated with responsibility for yourself, family and community have guided me everyday since I left my parent’s home at 17 to attend The University of Maryland. All of my subsequent accomplishments have been a direct result of the lesson of responsibility and for that I say… Thanks Dad!” - Kenneth L. Johnson on his father, father Kenneth L. Johnson, Sr.
“My father, Dr. Victor Nwachuku, is a great dad. One of my earliest memories of him was when he would come in from a long shift at the hospital, he would take me and my brother into the backyard and play soccer with us or help us put together a kite... He always found time no matter how tired he was...” - Tonia Nwachuku on her father, Victor Nwachuku
Courtesy of Brianna Baker
“This is my dad, Anthony Baker, and I at my first daddy daughter dance. He’s always been such a great example of a leader. He worked as a special education teacher at the elementary school I went to and everyone loved him. Now he works as an assistant principal at a middle school. He’s always taught me to work hard and dream big. A few years ago, he went back to school to get his masters degree and now he’s working on his doctorate all while holding down a full time job. He’s my inspiration.” - Brianna Baker on her father, Anthony Baker