Modern-day fatherhood may have many challenges but since the beginning of mankind, it has never been easy.

Throughout the ages, children have looked to their fathers for love, guidance, loyalty, comfort and protection.

And for many men, being a father is the most important and valuable experience of their lives.

Fatherhood is something that death and time cannot diminish. The legacy of each individual lives on through his children, his grandchildren, and the future generations.

Here is a selection of quotes from famous, and not so famous, people through the ages, to make you ponder on the nature of fatherhood.

Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States: “We need fathers to realize that responsibility does not end at conception. We need them to realize that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child — it’s the courage to raise one.”

“Everything else is unfulfilled it we fail at family.”

“I still wish I had a father who was not only present but involved. And so my whole life, I’ve tried to be for Michelle and my girls what my father wasn’t for my mother and me. I want to break that cycle. I want to be a better father, a better husband and a better
man.”

David Cameron, UK Prime Minister, on the death of his father Ian, in September 2010: “Our Dad was an amazing man — a real life enhancer. He touched a lot of lives in lots of different ways and was a brilliant husband and father.

“You could never be down for long when he was around. We will miss him terribly but have a bank of memories that can never be exhausted.”

Craig Cannonier, Premier of Bermuda: “I grew up without my father who was in my life but not in my life. He was crippled by the disease of schizophrenia.

“It was during these hard times I learned the lessons of faith and strong family ties and the belief that all men are created equal in the eyes of God. It does not matter where you start in life it matters how you finish.”

Will Smith, US actor, producer, rapper: “There’s so much negative imagery of black fatherhood. I’ve got tons of friends that are doing the right thing by their kids, and doing the right thing as a father — and how come that’s not as newsworthy?”

Sigmund Freud, Austrian psychoanalyst: “I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.”

William Shakespeare, English poet and playwright: “It is a wise father that knows his own child.” (The Merchant of Venice)

Reverend Theodore Hesburgh, US priest and president emeritus of the University of Notre Dame: “The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their
mother.”

Pope John XXIII: “It is easier for a father to have children than for children to have a real father.”

Robert Frost, US poet: “You don’t have to deserve your mother’s love. You have to deserve your father’s.”

Michael Jordan, US professional basketball player and entrepreneur: “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’.”

Marilyn Monroe, US actress, model and singer: “When I was a youngster I lived with different families. I nearly always felt closer to the man of the house. Maybe because I always dreamed of having a father of my own.”

Bo Jackson, US baseball and football player: “I would say my greatest achievement in life right now, my greatest achievement period is — and I’m still trying to achieve it — is to be a wonderful father to my kids.”

Baroness Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s first female Prime Minister: “I just owe almost everything to my father and it’s passionately interesting for me that the things that I learned in a small town, in a very modest home, are just the things that I believe have won the election.”

Johnny Cash, US singer-songwriter, actor and author: “My father was a man of love. He always loved me to death. He worked hard in the fields, but my father never hit me. Never. I don’t ever remember a really cross, unkind word from my father.”

George Herbert, UK poet and orator: “One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters.”

Michael Bergin, US  model and actor: “A father’s disappointment can be a very powerful tool.”

Hugh Jackman, Australian actor and producer: “Becoming a father, I think it inevitably changes your perspective of life. I don’t get nearly enough sleep. And the simplest things in life are completely satisfying. I find you don’t have to do as much, like you don’t go on as many outings.” 

Halle Berry, US actress: “I know that I will never find my father in any other man who comes into my life, because it is a void in my life that can only be filled by him.”

James A. Baldwin, US novelist, playwright, poet: “If the relationship of father to son could really be reduced to biology, the whole Earth would blaze with the glory of fathers and sons.”

Anne Sexton, US poet and writer: “It doesn’t matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was.”

Eminem, US rapper, songwriter, actor, record producer: “I don’t even know how to speak up for myself, because I don’t really have a father who would give me the confidence or advice.”

Chief Joseph, Native American tribal leader: “I pressed my father’s hand and told him I would protect his grave with my life. My father smiled and passed away to the spirit land.”

Jean Paul, German Romantic writer: “The words that a father speaks to his children in the privacy of home are not heard by the world, but, as in whispering galleries, they are clearly heard at the end, and by posterity.”

Cindy Crawford, US supermodel: “Watching your husband become a father is really sexy and wonderful.”

Frank A. Clark, US journalist: “A father is a man who expects his son to be as good a man as he meant to be.”

Bill Cosby, US comedian, actor, author, TV producer and musician: “Nothing I’ve ever done has given me more joys and rewards than being a father to my children.”

“If the new American father feels bewildered and even defeated, let him take comfort from the fact that whatever he does in any fathering situation has a 50 per cent chance of being right.”

“Fatherhood is pretending the present you love most is soap-on-a-rope.”

Dawn French, UK comedian, actress, author: “It was my father who taught me to value myself. He told me that I was uncommonly beautiful and that I was the most precious thing in his life.”

Wade Boggs: US professional baseball player: “Anyone can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad, and that’s why I call you dad, because you are so special to me. You taught me the game and you taught me how to play it right.”

Kid Rock, US musician and actor: “Being a father helps me be more responsible… you see more things than you’ve ever seen.”

Michael Bloomberg, US entrepreneur, philanthropist, billionaire and mayor of New York City: “My father worked all the
time.”

Zinedine Zidane, French professional footballer: “I’m very inspired by him — it was my father who taught us that an immigrant must work twice as hard as anybody else, that he must never give up.”

Nicolas Cage, US actor, producer and director: “Having been a father for 19 years I realize fatherhood has changed me.”

Euripides, Greek tragedian: “Noble fathers have noble children.”

Author unknown: “The greatest gift I ever had

Came from God; I call him Dad!”

Candace Bushnell, US author and columnist: “I think a young woman’s relationship with her father is really important.”

Gwyneth Paltrow, US actress, singer and food writer: “My father, he was like the rock, the guy you went to with every problem.”

Lindsay Lohan, US actress: “I think my biggest focus for myself is learning how to continue to get through the trauma that my father has caused in my life.”

Eike Batista, Brazilian entrepreneur and billionare: “What I learned from my father is to think big.”

Donny Osmond, US singer, musician and actor: “Our father taught us such a work ethic that if there’s something worth doing, it’s worth doing well.”

Anthony Kiedis, US singer-songwriter: “I know whatever my father did, in his own way, he still loved me.”

LL Cool J, US rapper and entrepreneur: “There’s a lot of single black women who did the best that they could and that’s a beautiful thing, but they don’t know how necessary a father is in a kid’s life and how much guys miss that deep down inside.”

Mike Myers, Canadian comedian, actor, screenwriter, singer and film producer: “My father was always a straight-up funny guy. He was silly. He was my inspiration.”

Gordon Ramsey, UK chef,  TV personality and restaurateur: “When you find a guy who is powerful, a big father figure, you latch onto him immediately.”

Christian Bale, UK actor: “I met my grandfather just before he died, and it was the first time that I had seen Dad with a relative of his. It was interesting to see my own father as a son and the body language and alteration in attitude that comes with that, and it sort of changed our relationship for the better.”

Mark Wahlberg, US actor, producer, model and rapper: “If I succeed in business but fail as a father, then I’ve failed.”

Jenna Bush, daughter of 43rd US President, George W. Bush: “People ask me if I ever see my father and I say yes, because he puts in the effort. He calls all the time to tell us he’s proud of us.”

Brad Pitt, US actor and film producer: “My father came from a very poor background, but I was very fortunate in the sense that we were never in need. My dad was determined to make sure that we didn’t want for things. He wanted to give us more opportunity than he had, a better shot at a better life.”

Sarah Michelle Gellar, US actress and producer: “Just because you donate sperm does not make you a father. I don’t have a father. I would never give him the credit or acknowledge him as my father.”

Roger Moore, UK actor: “My father believed in toughness, honesty, politeness and being on time. All very important lessons.”

Magic Johnson, US professional basketball player: “My father is my idol, so I always did everything like him. He used to work two jobs and still come home happy every night.”

Hulk Hogan, US professional wrestler, actor, entrepreneur and TV personality: “Be a father first. Don’t put a priority of being a friend with your wife first, or a friend with your kids first.”

Gordon Brown, former UK prime minister: “I’m a father; that’s what matters most. Nothing matters more.”

Jane Seymour, UK actress, artist and jewellery designer: “My father always told me, you can only be your own best. In other words, if you feel you’ve done your best, you’ve done well
enough.”

Mohamed ElBaradei, Egyptian scholar, diplomat and former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency: “My father taught me that you have to stand my your principles.”

Lord Mountbatten, British statesman and naval officer: “It never entered my father’s mind nor my mind ever to do a job other than at one’s best ability.”

William Wordsworth, English Romantic poet: “Father! — to God himself we cannot give a holier name.”

Errol Flynn, Australian/American actor: “My father was never anti-anything in our house.”

Red Auerbach, US basketball coach: “To a father, when a child dies, the future dies; to a child when a parent dies, the past dies.”

Tom Cruise, US actor and producer: “I’m always around my mother and sisters. I always wanted to be a father, a husband.”

Unknown author: “A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty.”

Harvey Kietel, US actor and producer: “You’re working on being a father, so that is something that when you experience it you’ll understand the profundity of wanting to protect something dear to you.”

Flavor Flav, US musician and TV personality: “I try and spend a lot of time with my kids. I try and have fun with my kids. I try to put father time in there.”

James McGreevey, American Democrat and former Governor of New Jersey: “I have two extraordinary daughters, who, I can say proudly, are doing very well in school and in piano. Daughters are a father’s joy.”

Baz Luhrmann, Australian film director, screenwriter and producer: “My father made sure that I had lots of levels of education — from ballroom dancing to painting, commando training, theatre and magic.”

Big Boi, US rapper, songwriter, record producer and actor: “I’m glad that’s one of the things I chose to do as a man — to be a father to my child.”

Sam Raimi, US film director, producer, actor and writer: “My father told me to dress to reflect the respect you have for the people around you. I’ve never forgotten that.”

Sean Lennon, British/American musician, composer and son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono: “The most important thing in my father’s life? World peace. Me and my brother. My mom.”

Buddha: “To support mother and father, to cherish wife and children, and to have a simple livelihood; this is greatest blessing.”

Liza Minelli, US actress and singer: “My mother gave me my drive but my father gave me my dreams.”