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40 Uplifting “To My Son” Quotes

On my brother’s 15th birthday, my mother gave him a generic book of “life rules” written from a parent’s point of view. It was like a compilation of “to my son” quotes meant to guide my brother through life. He skimmed through it for two seconds then dumped it in his room. I thought that was it; that he’d lost interest in the book as soon as he opened it.

I was wrong.

Years later, as he was packing to move out, he literally tore through his room looking for that book.

“I need all the help I can get to figure out how to be a grown-up,” he told me as I snickered at him from his doorway.

My brother’s almost 50 now and he still consults the book when he needs some extra guidance. When he reads the quotes, he says he can kind of hear our parents reading them to him.

The subtle art of giving advice to a son

If people are generally not open to receiving unsolicited advice, you can say that sons are vehemently against it. They’re impatient to carry out adult tasks, but are, unfortunately, still ill-equipped to do so. But don’t you dare give them advice on how to go about it.

Sending sons on their way with words of wisdom requires patience, unconditional love, sincerity, and perfect timing. Some parents may use conversation starters to break the ice with their sons. Others may make an effort to spend more time at home. And others may go the extra mile and take up a hobby or sport that their son is into, just so they can do it together.

The “to my son” quotes below can also help bridge any gap that may exist between a parent and their son. These bite-sized insights remind sons (even when they’re middle-aged) about things their parents would say to them if they were right there beside their sons to help them navigate the world.

These quotes are short enough to not be misconstrued as boring or preachy by our sons. At the same time, they contain truths that can gently guide toward a happy and fulfilling life.

Why do mothers and sons share a special bond?

On our son’s first birthday, my husband joked that if we’d had him before we had his older sister, we would have stopped at just one child. Boy, was our son a whirlwind of a toddler. He’s calmed down a bit now that he’s a teenager. But when he was three, it was not beyond us to check our roof or the neighbor’s house if he went missing for more than a minute.

After all the frantic moments, though, all my son needed to do to be forgiven was to give me a hug and a smile. Somehow, all my anger and frustration melt when he gives me his cheeky grin and goofy hug. (Before he could take advantage of my weakness, though, I made sure he knew—and respected—our house rules.)

This unique, strong bond isn’t shared just by my son and I. Research shows that while baby boys are fetuses, some of their cells travel to live in their mom’s brain, and often stay there for the duration of the mother’s life. The University of Washington study found that 63 percent of their respondents had their son’s DNA in their brain.

It isn’t a full explanation of the uncannily close relationship between mothers and sons. But it does shed some light on why, generally, sons share an unbreakable connection with their moms.

Take a look at the son quotes from mom below and see for yourself how sons and mothers are intricately intertwined.

Mom and son quotes

A mother’s unconditional love

Men are what their mothers made them.

“Men are what their mothers made them.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Erma bombeck has her own to-my-son quote: A child needs your love the most when he deserves it least.

“A child needs your love the most when he deserves it least.”

– Erma Bombeck

There has never been, nor will there ever be, anything quite so special as the love between a mother and a son.

“There has never been, nor will there ever be, anything quite so special as the love between a mother and a son.”

– Unknown

And she loved a boy very, very much—even more than she loved herself.

“And she loved a boy very, very much—even more than she loved herself.”

– Shel Silverstein (The Giving Tree)

Acclaimed author Louisa May Alcott has her own to-my-son quote: No matter how lost and soiled and worn-out wandering sons may be, mothers can forgive and forget everything as they fold them into their fostering arms.

“…For no matter how lost and soiled and worn-out wandering sons may be, mothers can forgive and forget every thing as they fold them into their fostering arms. Happy the son whose faith in his mother remains unchanged, and who, through all his wanderings, has kept some filial token to repay her brave and tender love.”

– Louisa May Alcott

Maya Angelou gives a to-my-son quote: My greatest blessing has been the birth of my son.

“My greatest blessing has been the birth of my son.”

– Maya Angelou

Another to-my-son quote says, "The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which, you will always find forgiveness.

“The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which, you will always find forgiveness.” 

Honore de Balzac

A Moroccan proverb says, Every beetle is a gazelle in the eyes of its mother.

“Every beetle is a gazelle in the eyes of its mother.” 

— Moroccan proverb

Dear son, when fear grips you, be still and listen to my voice in your heart: you are loved beyond measure.

“Dear son, when fear grips you, be still and listen to my voice in your heart: you are loved beyond measure.”

– Unknown

“Son, you will outgrow my lap, but never my heart.”

– Unknown

His mother called him Sonny, a name that reached back to all the sunlit Sundays of his life.

“His mother called him Sonny, a name that reached back to all the sunlit Sundays of his life.”

– Toni Morrison (Song of Solomon)

Behind every resilient son is a supportive mom

Kirsten Wreggitt gives a mother-son quote: Be strong out there, my son. Look for the love and kindness in others. Forgive yourself when you make mistakes and enjoy the journey.

“Be strong out there, my son. Look for the love and kindness in others. Forgive yourself when you make mistakes and enjoy the journey.”

— Kirsten Wreggitt

A mother's love doesn't make her son moe dependent and timid; it actually makes him stronger and more independent.

“A mother’s love doesn’t make her son more dependent and timid; it actually makes him stronger and more independent.”

— Cheri Fuller (What a Son Needs From His Mom)

You have to do the best with what God gave you.

“You have to do the best with what God gave you.”

– Mrs. Gump (Forrest Gump)

Writer Shannon L. Alder gives a to-my-son quote: To be the mother of a son is one of the most important things you can do to change the world.

“To be a mother of a son is one of the most important things you can do to change the world.”

– Shannon L. Alder

A Chinese proverb says that giving your son a skill is better than giving him one thousand pieces of gold.

“Giving your son a skill is better than giving him one thousand pieces of gold.”

–Chinese proverb

Indian poet Valluvar shares a to-my-son quote: Even more than the time when she gave birth, a mother feels her greatest joy when she hears others refer to her son as a wise learned one.

“Even more than the time when she gave birth, a mother feels her greatest joy when she hears others refer to her son as a wise learned one.”

– Valluvar

Jason Mraz sings a to-my-son quote: My beautiful mother told me, 'Son, in life, you're gonna go far. If you do it right, you'll love where you are.'

“My beautiful mother told me, ‘Son, in life, you’re gonna go far. If you do it right, you’ll love where you are.'”

– Jason Mraz (“93 Million Miles”)

Anne Bronte has a reminder for mothers: If you would have your son to walk honorably through the world, you must not attempt to clear the stones from his path but teach him to walk firmly over them—not insiste upon leading him by the hand, but let him learn to go alone.

“If you would have your son to walk honorably through the world, you must not attempt to clear the stones from his path but teach him to walk firmly over them—not insist upon leading him by the hand, but let him learn to go alone.”

— Anne Brontë (The Tenant of Wildfell Hall)

My son, when you were a baby, I helped you walk. Now that you're grown, I will help you soar.

“My son, when you were a baby, I helped you walk. Now that you’re grown, I will help you soar.”

– Unknown

The mutually beneficial relationship of fathers and sons

The relationship between a father and his son is usually portrayed in the media as the son adoringly looking up to his father. Articles and videos harp on and on about the benefits sons get from being raised by a good dad.

Rarely do people talk about how fathers benefit from raising boys. But they should. Because as a son thrives in the care of a good and kind father, so does a father reach his full potential bolstered by the unconditional love he receives from his son.

A study confirms this. In her research paper published in the Journal of Education and Training Studies, Carol Watson-Phillips, Ph.D, a retired adjunct professor for the Department of Social Sciences at Lesley University, writes, “In connection with their sons, fathers were liberated from prior self-constructions by revisiting their childhood selves, and by re-engaging and revitalizing their inner core-selves, thereby manifesting the intra-psychic transformative power of co-identity with their sons.”

In other words, because they share the same gender with their son, a father can somehow rekindle and reconnect with their inner little boy while raising their son. This creates a beautiful give-and-take relationship based on unconditional love.

The following son quotes from dad reflect not just a father’s love for his son. These quotes also show a dad’s commitment to connecting with his son every day.

Father-to-son quotes

A father: the wind beneath their son’s wings

And the little boy is mine. Now I see a family where there once was none. Now we've just begun. Yeah, we're gonna fly to the sun.

“…And the little boy is mine. Now I see a family where there once was none.
Now we’ve just begun. Yeah, we’re gonna fly to the sun.”

– Loggins and Messina (“Danny’s Song”)

Before you cross the street, take my hand. Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.

“Before you cross the street, take my hand. Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

– John Lennon (“Beautiful Boy”)

You won't be alone, I'll be here to carry you along, watching you 'til all your work is done.

“…You won’t be alone, I’ll be here to carry you along, watching you ’til all your work is done.”

– Phil Collins (“Father to Son”)

A favorite to-my-son quote comes from Rod Stewart: Whatever road you choose, I'm right behind you, win or lose.

“Whatever road you choose, I’m right behind you, win or lose.”

– Rod Stewart (“Forever Young”)

You don't raise heroes; you raise sons. And if you treat them like sons, they'll turn out to be heroes, even if it's just in your own eyes.

“You don’t raise heroes, you raise sons. And if you treat them like sons, they’ll turn out to be heroes, even if it’s just in your own eyes.”

– Walter M. Schirra, Sr.

Jason Mraz sang about a to-my-son quote: My irrefutable father told me, 'Son, sometimes it may seem dark. But the absence of the light is a necessary part.'

“My irrefutable father told me, ‘Son, sometimes it may seem dark. But the absence of the light is a necessary part.'”

– Jason Mraz (“93 Million Miles”)

When you teach your son, you teach your son's son.

“When you teach your son, you teach your son’s son.”

– The Talmud

Every father should remember, one day, his son will follow his example, not his advice.

“Every father should remember, one day, his son will follow his example, not his advice.”

– Charles F. Kettering

Fathers grow along with their sons

A quote from a dad to his son: Son, I know I'm gonna make mistakes. But my love for you will never ever change.

“Son, I know I’m gonna make mistakes. But my love for you will never ever change.”

– Anthem Lights (“You Will Always Be My Son”)

Freddie Mercury of Queen shares a quote from a father to his son: Sing if you will—but the air that you breathe, I live to give you.

“Sing if you will—but the air that you breathe, I live to give you.”

– Queen (“Father to Son”)

I wish that we could save today. But I know we can't stay the same. And I keep pushing you away. Don't wait for me.

“I wish that we could save today. But I know we can’t stay the same. And I keep pushing you away. Don’t wait for me.”

– Blink 182 (“Home is Such a Lonely Place”)

Creed sings their version of a to-my-son quote: If I had just one wish, only one demand, I hope he's not like me. I hope he understands that he can take this life and hold it by the hand. And he can greet the world with arms wide open.

“If I had just one wish, only one demand, I hope he’s not like me. I hope he understands
that he can take this life and hold it by the hand. And he can greet the world with arms wide open.”

– Creed (“With Arms Wide Open”)

No love is greater than that of a father for his son.

“No love is greater than that of a father for his son.”

– Dan Brown (Angels & Demons)

Do I want to be a hero to my son? No. I would like to be a very real human being. That's hard enough.

“Do I want to be a hero to my son? No. I would like to be a very real human being. That’s hard enough.”

— Robert Downey, Jr.

Son, I gave you my name hoping you would find it honorable. But it turns out that the honor of sharing your name is all mine.

“Son, I gave you my name hoping you would find it honorable. But it turns out that the honor of sharing your name is all mine.”

– Unknown

It's not flesh and blood, but heart which makes us fathers and sons.

“It is not flesh and blood but heart, which makes us fathers and sons.”

– Friedrich Von Schiller

Raising my son well means I am bringing up not just a good human being but also a good friend to me.

“Raising my son well means I am bringing up not just a good human being but also a good friend to me.”

– Unknown

A father is a man who expects his son to be as good a man as he meant to be.

“A father is a man who expects his son to be as good a man as he meant to be.”

– Frank A. Clark

Becoming a dad means you have to be a role model for your son and be someone he can look up to.

“Becoming a dad means you have to be a role model for your son and be someone he can look up to.”

– Wayne Rooney

A to-my-son love letter from his dad: Dear son, every day, you turn me into the man I've always wanted to become.

“Dear son, every day, you turn me into the man I’ve always wanted to become.”

– Unknown

Why do we need “to my son” quotes?

Words left unsaid create a lifetime of regret. What these quotes do is express sentiments that parents may find difficult to say directly to their sons. Mom to son quotes and father to son quotes can also serve as little reminders of love for those times when parents can’t be around to remind their sons themselves.

There are several ways you can use these quotes. Perhaps you can slide one or two into your teen’s direct messages every week. Kind of like how these printables work when you slip them into your kid’s lunchbox. Alternatively, you could print out these quotes and give them to your son on special occasions as a greeting card.

However you choose to use these “to my son” quotes, do it with sincerity and unconditional love. Embody the message of these quotes, mom and dad. (We’d like to know: what is a quote that you live by as a parent? Care to share it with us?)

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