Whether you are emotionally open or not, you share a lot with your dad — he contributed half of your nucleic DNA. Or maybe the person you call Dad is of zero blood relation, in which case his equally important influence has shaped your mind and behaviors and values. No matter how frequent or infrequent your interactions with your father may be, I’m betting that a deliberate expression of appreciation from his son or daughter is something your father will treasure.
You can take your father-son or daddy-daughter relationship to a whole new level by writing a cute message on a greeting card or a handwritten note on a random day.
10 Prompts to Help You Write Your Best Thank You Note to Your Dad
1. A special memory I have of you is…
This prompt works well when writing as an adult to your Father. Fathers love to know what childhood moments with them stood out to you, and which memories linger that they may have forgotten by now. Take your Dad on a trip down memory lane and remind him of how some moments he may have overlooked, had a profound effect on you and shaped who you are today.
Often, the special memory you have is one that has been recounted countless times at family get-togethers. That is OK, too! But if you can, try to relay a memory he hasn’t heard before. Maybe the special memory happened yesterday, and now you understand your dad better thanks to this new angle; the important part is to reveal what impact your dad has or has had on you as a person, and to thank him for that.
2. From you, I learned the importance of…
What words do you associate with your Dad? Brainstorming about what your dad stands for, helps you to see what your dad means to you, personally. How has his example informed your view of the world? Have you lived your life or made your decisions according to rules or values your father made clear for you?
Sometimes the closer your relationship, the harder it is to recognize your dad’s influence (though it may be obvious to others). Physical similarities and shared hobbies are obvious places from which to start.
4. I always think of you when…
Has your dad given you timeless advice? Or maybe the opposite? Has he done something that left an indelible mark on all things that followed? Has he ruined a song that used to be your favorite, by singing it at the top of his lungs (in front of your friends)? Write about it.
5. I love that our family is…
Jewish? Crazy? Pagan? Traditional? Anything but a Norman Rockwell painting?
6. One thing I admire about you is…
This prompt is more direct. What do you see in your dad that you envy, are proud of, in disbelief about? What has your dad accomplished and what does he value?
7. The best adventure we’ve had together was…
This is a fun one. Adventures come in all shapes and sizes: going to the store with your dad to find the perfect birthday gift for your mom; trekking the globe; hiking the Haleakala Crater; finding the airport without GPS; building a tree fort in the backyard; learning to paramotor together.
8. I’ve always wanted to tell you…
Another fun, open-ended prompt. This revelation doesn’t need to be your big huge secret that you’re gay. This is the opportunity to tell your dad how much he means to you. Tell him how you weren’t able to come up with the right words until now, or the timing never felt right, or you weren’t sure how he would react to a spontaneous sharing of feelings, but to heck with it! Now’s the time.
9. Thank you for…
Just blurt it out. No matter how big or small. Bonus points for elaborating on the Why you’re thankful.
10. In the future, I hope we…
Yay, future! Just because you’re writing your dad a thank you note (or letter, if you’re feeling the flow), it doesn’t mean it is the end of the world. You’ve seized the moment and are making the most of today. Universe willing, there will be a Tomorrow, or at least a Something after this.
(Or perhaps you’re writing a note to your dad to make amends, to clear the slate, to come clean and create a relationship that works for you both. In which case, — Congratulations! You’re a mature, responsible person, and if you’re the one setting boundaries and acting like the adult, you can thank your dad for showing you what not to do.)
Optimistically, let’s say you already have a decent relationship with your dad and you are looking forward to actively create more moments of connection and meaning. Great! Give him some ideas of what you have in mind, and if you’re really organized, give dates and times, too.
Setting the Scene to Write to Your Dad
Before you get started, sit down with your favourite drink for focusing, then brainstorm and write down some of your favourite childhood memories. You can refer to these in your thank you card, or use them as nice reminders when reminiscing later.
What makes your Dad special to you? Did your Dad spend lots of time away from home, and work really hard to provide for you and the rest of the family? Consider including this in your thank you note. Much of what parents do for their kids (especially when the kids are young) goes unnoticed by those who benefit the most (the ungrateful little brats. Kidding).
Write about your dad, and tune into how he has helped you to become the stellar person that you are today (if you consider yourself a well-functioning member of humanity). Even if you have some negative memories (especially persistent ones — and who doesn’t?!), leave them out; yours is a thank you note for the positive role your Dad assumed in your upbringing. He, like everybody else, is likely very well aware of his own shortcomings and failures. Let this note focus only the positive effect he has had in your life and in the lives of others.
Examples of Heartfelt Notes For Your Dad
Don’t wait for Father’s Day or a birthday to express your feelings. Write a sweet quote and post it on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to show him how much he means to you.
So often, kids are distracted and focused on their own lives, and overlook their dad’s contribution in their lives until it is too late. Don’t let this happen to you – no matter how uncool, weird or funny it sounds, use every opportunity to give your old man a hug and thank him for being there for you.
My dad is a magnet who has pulled me away from the worst, and close to the best of what life has to offer. I love you, Dad!
I want to be the most amazing child in the world because the most amazing father in the world deserves nothing less than that. I love you, Dad!
All these years, I have always done what I wanted to do, never giving a second thought to the effect my actions might have upon you. Yet, you never did anything without thinking of how it might affect me. Thank you for your wider vision and compassion, Dad!
The worst part of being your child is that following in your footsteps is going to be more difficult than climbing the highest mountain.
I love you
Dad: yes, sometimes I don’t say “Hi,” sometimes I don’t give you hugs; sometimes I ignore you, sometimes I get annoyed at you for no reason. Regardless of my mood sometimes, I want you to know, that deep down inside, I love you ALL THE TIME.
Dear Dad, I may be able to outgrow you in height one day, but I will never outgrow the unending contributions you have made in my life as my father. Thank you, forever and for always.
I have something to tell you. You were right. You were right about almost everything. I know that when I was growing up, I treated you like you didn’t know a thing, but as I get older I realize how much wisdom that you have, and I am so thankful that you have shared so much of that with me.
I know that when I start my own family that I will have my memories of you to draw from. You have shown me what it means to work hard, make sacrifices and to guide your children down the correct path, by example.
You have given so much to me, Dad, and there is no way that I could ever repay that debt. Just know that I love you, and that every day that I live and with every choice that I make I will try to make you as proud of me as I am of you.
Dear Dad, I believe it is not possible to be a great father until a person becomes a great human being, and dad, you are both. Thanks for everything.
Dad, everything in my life would be meaningless if I didn’t have my precious childhood memories and the values you transferred, as an anchor to which to return. Thanks.
I know that I don’t tell you this enough, but you are the best dad in the world. The older I get, the more I realize that this is true. You gave me such a happy childhood. I love remembering long walks in the forest with you, drives to get ice cream on a hot summer night after a baseball game, and surprise trips to wherever for March vacation.
I know that you had to work so hard for us, and I appreciate it so much now, even though I know I didn’t back then.
Thank you, daddy, for everything that you’ve done for me. I can’t imagine what my life would have been without you in it.
I’ll love you forever.
Thank You, Dad! Quotes
“Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a Daddy!” (Anonymous)
“Sometimes the poorest man leaves his children the richest inheritance.” (Ruth E. Renkel)
“Thank you for loving me. Even when I was a teenager saying those awful phrases teenagers shout at their parents before slamming a door. Even when I didn’t listen to a word you had to say. Even when I found my own path which was a roller coaster that wound and twisted and even went backward a few times, instead of staying the straight and narrow. If I know what unconditional love is, it is from you.” – Samantha Tonda, “A Thank You Letter to My Dad”
“I love you, and I always have. Thank you for being my Dad.”
An article to read if you want to cry for no reason / feel inspired: “The Best Advice My Father Ever Gave Me: He said 18 words that took me across the globe“