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The Report

Words Of Wisdom From Our Favourite Fathers

Famous faces offer their lessons in parenthood in celebration of Father’s Day and our partnership with the GOOD+ Foundation

It’s impossible to overstate the import, and impact of a father on a young person’s life. Their presence, their example, their beliefs, and their style go a long way to making the mould that we grow into. Their words of wisdom, too, whether offered with sage gravity or off-hand, will echo in our ears, and in our thoughts, for the rest of our lives. It is with this in mind that we sought out the advice and experience of some of our favourite dads to celebrate Father’s Day, and the second year of our partnership with the GOOD+ Foundation. MR PORTER will be donating the net sales from a select list of white shirts sold between today and Father’s Day, 17 June, to support the foundation’s work to provide a safety net of social services, education and support for fathers and families living in poverty. Just like dads – always thinking of others.

Family man, comedian, coffee drinker, and co-creator of the greatest television show of all time, Mr Jerry Seinfeld is also, notably, the chair of GOOD+ Foundation’s Leadership Council. Unsurprisingly, he has thoughts – and jokes, about which his three children are probably rolling their eyes right now – on the etiquette of fatherhood.

What has fatherhood taught you?

Always remember one of the greatest teachers of your children is the seepage of how you conduct yourself. Not the lessons you say out loud, but how you treat your spouse and your ethical relationship with the world is what drifts into their mind over time.



In the time since his breakout performance in 2001’s Save The Last Dance, across from Ms Julia Stiles, Mr Sean Patrick Thomas has put together an impressive body of work, in the theatre and on screens big and small – not to mention at home where he is, if not famous for, then at least busy doing what he calls “daddy stuff”.

What are some of the greatest lessons that being a father has taught you?

How vulnerable I am to my children. I’d always fancied myself as a guy who was steady, unflappable, chill. With my babies, I’ve learnt that I can be reduced to a blubbering mess over any little thing. If my daughter has a glowing parent-teacher conference, my lip quivers and I bite down hard to keep from tearing up. My son wins a gymnastics medal, and I can’t keep my chest from heaving. If a stranger tells me how well behaved they are on a plane, I look at them and get choked up. Absolutely no chill whatsoever.

What was the learning curve of fatherhood like for you?

My learning curve was fairly limited because I always knew I wanted to be a dad. I’m the eldest of three kids, and the eldest of dozens of cousins on my mom’s side. So I’ve always been comfortable with my dad energy, so to speak. When my buddies were hung up, weighing the pros and cons of having kids, I was geeked up picturing what kind of Philadelphia Eagles jersey I’d get my son or daughter.

Are there any lessons you learnt from your own father that have stayed with you?

My father died young from cancer. He was 42. He emigrated here from Guyana, got married and had me while he was in college, then went on to get a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania while working full-time. I don’t think I ever saw him completely relax for any length of time because he was 100 per cent present as a father while also working really hard in his career. The month before he died – I was 18 and had just finished my first year of college; I was a serious, disciplined kid, just like my dad – we were sitting alone on the back porch, he was in a lot of pain, and asked me to rub his feet. Out of the blue, he told me, “take time to smell the roses”. I never forgot it, and I think it set me on the path to me letting myself consider becoming an actor.

As a father, what are the values or ideas that you want to instil in your own children?

I’m raising black children in the United States. So I have to arm them with an unshakable sense of self-worth, self-respect, and swagger. It’s very important to me to make sure my daughter and son know their power and their worth because those things are going to be under constant assault. My babies are the descendants of a proud New Orleans Creole/Guyanese immigrant heritage, and I want them to always remember they’re rock stars.

Do you have a favourite piece of advice you often pass on, or lesson that is important to you?

I’m a Shakespeare fanatic, and I think it may be because of my grandfather. He told me several times, “To thine own self be true. And it must follow as the night the day thou canst not then be false to any man.” I didn’t know he was quoting from Hamlet at the time, but it sounded cool and made sense to me.

Words of advice to other fathers?

Make an effort to remember who you were before you were a dad. I remember I was away from my family for several months doing a Broadway show, and during the day my schedule was wide open. I was so accustomed to my daddy stuff – helping with drop-off, pick-up, prepping and planning meals, homework – that when I didn’t have to do any of those things, I was completely lost. So I’d recommend keeping in touch with that guy you were before you became a dad. Check in with him once in a while, see if he wants to hang out.



In his year or so away from the NFL, MR PORTER Style Council MemberSuper Bowl Champion and all round style star Mr Victor Cruz has been busy building his own foundation to support STEM education for kids – well, that and the full time job of being a dad to his daughter, Kennedy.

What are some of the greatest lessons that being a father has taught you?

Fatherhood has taught me patience, understanding and resolve. Being a father forces you to live outside of your comfort zone. Someone else is so dependent on your happiness every single day that you can’t afford a day of inconsistency.

What was the learning curve of fatherhood like for you?

Learning how to manage my time so that my daughter is getting the most out of me. It’s easy to get lost in your schedule at times.

Are there any lessons that you learnt from your own father that have stayed with you?

Never lie to your children and hold yourself accountable for your actions. Good or bad.

What values would you like to instil in your children?

Humility, intellect and respect. These will get you through so much in life, and the earlier they know that the better. 

Do you have a favourite piece of advice that you often pass on?

My mom always told me to finish what I started. Follow through to the finish. You’ll be happier in the end and people will respect you for it.

What advice would you give to other fathers?

Your time is everything. Our presence in our children’s lives means so much more than we think. Never take that for granted.



Growing up, Mr Bruce Bozzi Jr watched his father run the family’s legendary New York City restaurant, The Palm. Now that Mr Bozzi Jr has ascended to leadership within the company, the fourth generation to run the now global enterprise, and has become a father himself (and a member of GOOD+ Foundation’s Fatherhood Leadership Council), he says he plans to do things his way.

What has fatherhood taught you?

Fatherhood is a discipline. To be a father is to be the tree, the trunk, the branches and the leaves. The ability to love unconditionally, teach, protect and put another person first. It has taught me patience when I had none, given me energy when it seemed like there was no fuel left and strength to protect my daughter.

What was your learning curve like?

It changes rapidly with each new age and chapter in her life. No one can tell you how to be a father, but it comes from a place completely hidden within you. A magical place that you don’t know you have until your baby is in your arms.

What did you learn from your father?

My father was from a generation of men who did not participate in the day-to-day rearing of their children. He worked. (My mother raised us. From my mother, I learnt how to parent the day-to-day.) What I learnt from him was how to provide a home, work hard and treat people fairly and with kindness.

What values would you like to instil in your children?

It’s been very important to me that we have fun and that we laugh. Inclusion, kindness and responsibility are important attributes for me to instil in Ava. It is my job to raise her to be independent.

What’s the best bit of advice you would offer to friends who are becoming fathers?

You know nothing. All you can do is love, learn and stay in the room, so to speak. Above all, have patience, patience, patience.



Mr Marchell Hall is an alumnus of GOOD+ Foundation’s program partner Friends Outside in Los Angeles County/Dads Back! Academy where he continues to support other fathers in becoming the dads they want to be. 

What are some of the greatest lessons that being a father has taught you?

From the good to the bad, you have to embrace it. With embracing comes understanding. Understanding that your child is just a little version of you, just a little smarter. 

What was the learning curve of fatherhood like for you?

It’s still curving for me! I’ve found that if I take a second and relax, the silver lining will show itself. No need to rush around the curve, take it easy. 

What are the values or ideas that you want to instil in your own children? 

Respect comes first, and first impressions are everything – a few things that were instilled in me growing up. I tell my stepson, “write your story before someone writes one for you!” 

What advice would you give to other fathers? 

Every moment with your children is priceless. Cherish them.



New fathers and members of GOOD+ Foundation’s Fatherhood Leadership Council, Mr Narciso Rodriguez and Mr Thomas Tolan know a thing or two about style. Mr Rodriguez’s designs were famously loved by Ms Michelle Obama, and Mr Tolan, formerly of Calvin Klein, now works as a publicist for a gallery selling rare (and incredible) pieces of jewellery in New York.

What are some of the greatest lessons that being a father has taught you?

That mistakes are not only inevitable, they’re your greatest learning tool to help make you a better dad. That you are, in fact, capable of unconditional love – we all fear we’re too selfish to be a parent, until this little person arrives and gives you reason to not be selfish any more. That children don’t need their father to be “the best”, but instead simply need a father who feels they are worth being better for.

What was the learning curve of fatherhood like for you?

People love to tell you that children arrive and wham! Instantly you feel a connection like you’ve never known, and these instincts kick in to immediately provide and protect. But I found it’s more gradual and realistic than that. You’ve had a whole life before fatherhood that you essentially have to say goodbye to. The love is certainly there, don’t get me wrong; but all of it grows with time, in the days, weeks and months that follow. The mistakes, the questions and the field learning – it’s important for new dads to know this is all normal. This is growth. And that fathers (and mothers) grow with their children, not in advance of them.

Are there any lessons that you learnt from your own father that have stayed with you?

Be slow to show anger, but quick to show love. There’s nothing so important at home, at work or in the bank that is worth more than giving your kid the best possible shot in this world.

As a father, what are the values or ideas that you want to instil in your own children?

There’s no such thing as perfection; seeking it will hasten your days and destroy your spirit. Be kind, be understanding and be passionate. I will always be as proud of the way you listen to others, as I am of the way you express yourself.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?

“Give yourself a break. If you don’t, no one else will.” My dad used to tell me that growing up, when I’d be too hard on myself.

If you had to give a few words of advice to other fathers, what would they be?

Your ability to be a great father isn’t contingent upon having had a great example yourself. Fathers are human, and fallible, and it’s more important for our kids to see us fall and get back up than it is for them to see us fly.



As assistant director of GOOD+ Foundation’s program partner CUNY Fatherhood Academy, Mr Raheem Brooks has made it his mission to educate and engage fathers in the lives of their children. As a father to his three-year-old daughter, Laaliya, he’s mindful of the moment.

What was the learning curve of fatherhood like for you?

Being a dad is a work in progress. Early on, I struggled with how to balance work and home life. I wanted to be the best father, husband and employee I could be and it really took a toll on me emotionally and physically. Now I work on mindfulness to strengthen my emotional intelligence.

As a father, what are the values or ideas that you want to instil in your own children?

It’s funny that I’m scared of how not scared my daughter is. But I hope she will remain fearless and feel empowered to do anything she puts her mind to. Similarly, I’m always amazed when we walk outside together and she is so polite, saying hello to everybody, sharing how thankful she is when strangers open the door. I want her to treat people with respect, of course, and have empathy for those who may see the world differently.

Do you have a favourite piece of advice that you often pass on?

As a parent, your presence is the greatest present of all. And not just being there but being completely in the moment of that time you spend with your child. Most of my childhood, I wasn’t living in the same household with my dad, but I remember those times when he shaved and I would imitate him by shaving with the back of my toothbrush – and I miss our amazing talks about life and the world. I think those moments were so important to me because they also felt important to him.

As a high school and college All-American basketball player in Los Angeles, and then as an all-star in the NBA, Mr Baron Davis played with the cool kind of wisdom of the player coach – a team leader who is right down in the trenches with you. But as a father, he wants to help his kids to take the big shots of their own.

What are some of the greatest lessons that being a father has taught you?

Fatherhood has taught me the true meanings of the words humility and sacrifice. But being a dad has also shown me a deeper level of compassion and care I didn’t know I possessed. Raising young men has forced me to seriously look at the problems facing the world, and facing other kids who don’t have parents or fathers – and to remember to do my part for them as well.

What was the learning curve of fatherhood like for you?

I’m still deep in the curve – ha! Every day, you learn something new about your child, which in turn, teaches you something about yourself, as your children are reflection of you.

Are there any lessons that you learnt from your own father that have stayed with you?

My grandfather was more my father, and he was an incredibly compassionate person, who always said if someone is hungry at your door, have food to feed them. His generosity and kindness toward other people, even total strangers, has always stuck with me.

If you had to give a few words of advice to other fathers, what would they be?

It’s a process. Love your kids, take care of them, but also be patient with them and yourself. You won’t have all the answers, but always do your best to be there for them. Unconditional love will be all they need through the hard times, even when you mess up.

Between now and Father’s Day on 17 June, 100 per cent of the purchase price from a curated selection of white shirts will be donated to GOOD+ Foundation, a non-profit founded by Ms Jessica Seinfeld in 2001, which provides a safety net of social services, education and support for fathers and families living in poverty. Shop the White Shirt Campaign here

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