I know I have been talking an awful lot about the many things that your family needs from you. I wouldn’t blame you if you felt like you were are your wit’s end with all my advice-giving. However, if you can bear with me, I do have one more highly important responsibility dads must uphold. If you would turn to page 119 with me in the “Completely Legit ‘Dad Manual'” you will see that many of us are neglecting one of the most sacred duties of all of dadhood: to bring agony, tears, and the rolling of eyes to our family through the use of clever or not-so-clever sayings stated repeatedly throughout the growing years of our children. That’s right! We are under a tacit contract to be that guy who says things like, “what am I, chopped liver?” or “like shooting fish in a barrel” … you know, stuff like that. If you don’t, it is likely that you might be doing your children some irreversible harm. Maybe not… I’m no expert. But, who wants to play games with something this serious.

As I have mentioned before, I didn’t see a lot of my dad growing up. However, even I can remember a few phrases that my father would often say. Some were appropriate and uplifting, while others- not so much. My dad had this brief song that he would sing every time you told him something wasn’t fair. He would sing- “Gee, it must suck to be you. Yes, it’s true. It must suck to be you.” I still don’t appreciate that song. My dad also was known for his saying, “that (food) is so good, if you poured some of that on top of your head, your tongue would beat your brains out trying to get to it.” If you had a strong father figure growing up, I imagine you also can recall some of these kinds of sayings. Can you think of any phrases that your father/figure would say that have stuck with you? Are there any sayings that you know you could finish halfway through, you know them so well?

I did a little interview around the office, and with a few clients, to gather some of these kinds of sayings, for your reading pleasure. Here are some of the phrases that they could recall:

  • “The ax is swinging” – when someone was about to get into trouble.
  • “Well, how do you get a job like that” – when the dad would walk in on the kids being lazy.
  • “Leave it all on the court”
  • “Well, that worked as well as closing a barn door after the horse got out.”
  • “Don’t poke the bear.”
  • “If I had a face like that, I would cry too.”
  • “You’d make a better door than a window” – when one of the kids would stand in front of the T.V.
  • “I know it tastes terrible, but it didn’t kill me so eat it.”
  • “The only way you are staying home is if you’re pooping like a goose” – when a kid wanted to stay home from school.
  • “We’re not going anywhere until you eat that.”
  • “I don’t care what Billy and Jimmy were doing. How was your day?”
  • “Come on, man!”
  • “This is not a gymnasium”
  • “That’s the problem with society…”
  • “What’s for dinner?”
  • “You have more problems than Carter has pills” – Look it up.
  • “Well, you thought that through, didn’t you?”
  • “Don’t eat any wooden nickels.”
  • “Where did you get your license, out of a Cracker Jack box?”

Here are a few that I have been known to say as a dad:

  • I am draggin’ today- and I don’t mean the fire-breathing kind.
  • That was intense- and I’m not talking about camping.
  • “Hey… (child’s name)… can I tell you a secret?… I love you”
  • “Don’t tell Nadia I love her.” – I would say to Nadia
  • “You’re a goober/that guy’s a goober.”
  • “Hey, man!”
  • “This isn’t my first time at the rodeo.”
  • “Well, one of you is telling the truth, and the other one is Aurora.”
  • “Don’t do anything I would do.”
  • “I’m your Huckleberry.” – Doc Holiday, from Tombstone
  • “Broken, gone, gone, broken” – from Surf’s Up
  • Mostly anything on Kung Fu Panda is fair game as well.


Those poor kids!

What I found most interesting as I interviewed people was how fast they were able to come up with a few sayings. These things really stick. What I enjoyed most was seeing the smiling faces as they would recall what their father would say. It does the heart good to be able to look back on times when dad would use one of those corny phrases. It was part of his character, in their eyes. It was made him their dad.

So, I can’t help but ask- do you have some saying that you remember your father sharing with you when you were a kid? Do you have some sayings of your own? This is the muscle behind our parenting prowess. We need to be on the top of our game here. Keep those saying coming! Your kids are counting on you, whether they know it or not.

Please leave a comment, and as always, Stay Rock Solid, dads!