DAD HAIKUS: Short Poems Honoring Men Who Stand Tall

This week, something different from our normal blogging routine … but also fun.

Our good friend Jay Payleitner sent us a bunch of dad haikus.

If you don’t remember English class from years ago, haikus originated in Japan and are non-rhyming poems that have 17 syllables arranged in three lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables. And often they’re characterized by simplicity and sometimes a touch of whimsy.

So, just enjoy! These will help you celebrate your role as a dad and give you some food for thought about your influence on your kids.

Noogies, lightning bugs
Frogs, mudpies, and ghost stories.
That’s why kids need dads.

Is your wallet full
Of old faded school photos?  
You must be a dad.

You spend eighteen years
Getting them ready to leave
Then you’re not ready.

A unicycle?
Get one for your fifth grader.
It’s okay if they fall.

Remember: Do not
Exasperate your children.
Or they will lose heart.

A secret for dads:
When kids play rock/paper/scissors.
They throw scissors first.

Real dads build tree forts.
Making it big and sturdy
So they can sleep there.

When ordering fries
It’s cheaper to buy one large
Plus they’re forced to share.

Driveway basketball.
Someday, son, you will beat me.
But now, I crush you.

Dad was Santa Claus. 
I kind of knew the whole time.
I’ll be Santa, too.

“I can’t believe that
You’re letting your son do that!”
“Well, he’s earned my trust.”

I miss my father
‘Specially when it thunders
Never fear, dad’s here.

I’m a great husband.
I loaded the dishwasher today!
“What? I did it wrong?”

Mom would never wake
A third grader at midnight
To see an eclipse.

Make that late night trip
To Walgreens for your daughter
And don’t make a joke.

She picked Goodnight Moon!
I am pretty sure that makes
Nine nights in a row.

What ideas do you have for a dad haiku? Contribute one as a comment on our Facebook page.

Action Points & Discussion/Reflection Questions

  • Have you ever written poems as child, teen or adult? Share one or two with your kids.
  • The first haiku above says, “That’s why kids need dads.” What would you add to Jay’s list: noogies, lightning bugs, frogs, mudpies, and ghost stories?
  • What do you imagine it will be like when your child leaves home? (Or what was it like when they did?) Start planning now for how you’ll “send them off” in an affirming way. Maybe ask an older dad how he handled it.
  • What do you do with your kids that your kids’ mom doesn’t or wouldn’t do?
  • Get your kids in on the fun. Come up with some silly haikus with them.

Read more of Jay’s contributions to

Jay Payleitner is the bestselling author of 52 Things Kids Need from a Dad, What If God Wrote Your Bucket List? and Day-by-Day Devotions for Dads. Jay and his high school sweetheart, Rita, live in St. Charles, Illinois where they raised five awesome kids, loved on ten foster babies, and are cherishing grandparenthood. Track him down at


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