What Do Dads Say – SAID Design

Dad’s What He Said as a concept was initially inspired by my relationship with my son. Around the time he turned four, I found myself beginning to repeat certain sayings to instill a set of core values in him that I now hope will serve as his northern star long after I’m gone.

“Always make the harder right, not the easier wrong decision.”

“Walk into the ghost.”

“Slow down to go fast.”

Honor, courage, and discipline are embedded in these sayings.

Years later, these sayings are still alive and well in my household. These sayings, however, did not come from my father but from other respected men who have served as father figures at various points throughout my life.

As I developed this project, I became curious about those sayings that other men heard from their fathers.

So I decided to reach out to other fathers about those very sayings their fathers imprinted upon them that they now repeat to their children.

Since I designed this project to serve as a source of inspiration for single fathers, it was those men who I reached out to through various single father support groups that exist for divorced dads. What was unexpected in the responses I received were the stories that these single fathers shared to help me understand why they are passing on those sayings to their children.

The “SAID” design also reflects sayings that served as a kind of call and response between my son and me. One such back and forth started soon after my son began talking.

“Papa, you nowhere,” he’d say, and I’d respond, “Buddy, I’m everywhere.”

I believed this exchange was PJ’s way of sharing how he felt about how often he saw me. My response was my way of assuaging his feelings. These moments were also used to help him understand that “love transcends space and time” — a concept I wanted him to internalize as I kept pursuing more and more time for my son.

As a homage to these single fathers and my son, I captured these dad sayings in the “SAID” design so they could allow other fathers to ponder the why of each saying in hopes of making any one of the sayings a dad saying of their own. I believe each one should teach one. So, if you care to share something your father often said to you as a child, drop me an email at [email protected] and provide me some insight into why that particular saying still matters to you. Thank you for your support!

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