Not all fathers have children

Published 7:04 pm Saturday, June 17, 2017

By Nathan Rice

Hand tools and neckties have been on sale for weeks. Father’s Day is here, and it’s a great day to let Dad know how much you appreciate all he does.

Father’s Day is a great day, but it’s not a day for everyone. Several years ago I had to come to grips with the fact that I would never hold the title of father. It was a strange realization, because fatherhood is a major part of life for a large majority of men.

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My American life cycle of childhood, college, career, raising a family and retirement had been interrupted. I will never be called “Dad,” and this is something I am reminded of each Father’s Day.

Over the years we have become more careful in considering the feelings of women without children on Mother’s Day. We desire to respect the feelings of those who are unable to conceive, and we do not want to make women without children feel less important than those who do.

The same considerations, however, don’t always seem to extend to Father’s Day. It’s understandable; women are seen as the gender that desire children and family. There doesn’t appear to be a lot of thought about men who do not have children. We are men without a day.

Men without children must first understand that self-worth is not based on the number of children someone has. Our worth comes from our Heavenly Father, and our value is based on the price that He paid for us. It has nothing to do with our parental status.

We may not receive a hand-drawn card or World’s Greatest Dad T-shirt today, but we are no less important as men.

It is also important for men without children to realize that they can still play a part in shaping the next generation. I would even say that it is still our responsibility.

Our country has so many children without fathers in their lives that it is considered a national crisis by many organizations. There are many ways to play an important part in the lives of children as many organizations are in need of adult leaders. Boy Scouts, Big Brothers, community groups, and churches all offer ways to help children.

It is a shame that children without fathers and fathers without children often never connect with each other. While the roles offered by these various groups are very different from that of a father, a positive male role model can make a huge difference in the lives of children.

Today, on Father’s Day, we should all be careful to consider the feelings of men without children, just as we do for women on Mother’s Day. A manly exterior may be hiding the inner pain of being in a large, and mainly silent, minority of those who do not have children.

The jokes of “You’re so lucky to be free” or “Do you want my kids” may elicit a laugh on the outside, but may actually cause a painful sting to childless men who don’t feel so lucky.

This Father’s Day, I will celebrate my dad, offer praise to my Heavenly Father and give thanks for the children with whom I work with at my church. I may not be a father, but I can still have a happy Father’s Day.

Nathan Rice is the relationship manager of the Downtown Suffolk branch of ABNB Federal Credit Union. He is a Hampton Roads native and can be reached at