7 Reflections on Being Childless and Celebrating Father’s Day

This coming Sunday is Father’s Day. I suspect that your congregation will include husbands who long to be a father, but to whom God has not yet granted this blessing. Frankly, I’m one of those men, and and here are some of my reflections as you prepare to honor fathers this weekend: 

  1. Recognize that we sometimes struggle, too. Some folks assume that only childless mothers struggle. We wrestle with this reality, too, especially when we haven’t given our spouse the gift of a child.
  2. Don’t forget that we’re in the congregation. We love the fact that churches honor fathers, and we want to rejoice without any twinges of pain – but it’s hard to do. At least pray for us, too.
  3. Don’t assume that we’re simply selfish men who don’t want children. Some men do lean that way, but not all of us. Some childless men are among the most giving, sacrificial people I know — they just simply don’t have children.
  4. Understand that adoption may not be the answer for everyone. Some couples who have been open to this possibility have prayerfully and honestly concluded not to go in this direction. The factors behind that decision can be numerous and complex.
  5. Earn the right to do so before you ask why we don’t have children. I’ve been amazed at how many people know Pam and me at only a superficial level, but still feel comfortable asking us why we don’t have children – and then tell us what we need to do.
  6. Challenge us to get involved in the lives of others who need father figures. Push us. Connect us with young men who need guidance. To be honest, we often have time and resources that others may not have.
  7. Remember that we’re not the only grieving men in church this Sunday. Some men have buried their fathers this past year. Others have never met their real father. Some know their father, but that man never really became a “dad” to them. Celebrate Father’s Day fully this Sunday, but be alert to men who may need a friend.

Anything you would add to this conversation? 

19 Comments

  • Jeff says:

    Pastor Chuck,

    Thank you for being a 1 Cor. 4: 15 father.

  • Cynthia says:

    Amen,Jeff! When we give thanks in prayer, let us remember those who have been like fathers, those who have guided and cared the fatherless and those whose father has entered eternal life.

  • Christopher M. Webb says:

    After 20 years of marriage to my one and only wife, God didn’t see fit for us to have our own biological children. However, five years ago God richly blessed us to adopt two girls, who are biological sisters. They are seven and eight years old now. During those years of not having children, it amazed my wife and I both of the insensitive statements people would say to us. Especially during the special “moments” (Mother’s and Father’s Day). My wife and I are able to resonate with this article. Thank you so much for bringing this very sensitive topic to surface.

  • Lori says:

    Thank you for that reminder and things I had not thought of too.

  • david mcbryar says:

    Father’s Day, and Mother’s Day for Gina, for almost 15 years now were/are the Sunday’s that I dread the most as a pastor. I think I was more on edge Mother’s Day because of protecting my wife. We were not only enduring the pain of infertility, but also miscarriage in our second year of marriage, which made bringing God’s Word to others extremely difficult. I can honestly say those Sunday’s I was selfish and hurting and if I could have I would have stayed home and in the bed those Sunday’s. This pain never leaves even if you do adopt and this is proven by the tears streaming down my face just having to recount those days as I type this hoping to encourage others. It is certainly OK to hurt and our Heavenly Father loves us and promises to always be there for us! ;o)

    Blessings,

    David

  • Beth Rhoton says:

    Please let us also remember to be sensitive to those fathers who love their children and are separated from them because of divorce and an ex-spouse’s conscious decision to keep their children from their father. Also, let us remember to be sensitive to those fathers who have a child who passed away.

  • Mike McCoy says:

    I would also add the annual pain of leading in both Mothers Day Father’s Day as Pastor when you’re childless. Especially difficult for my wife on Mothers Days.

  • Jim says:

    We also need to remember that childless fathers (and mothers) may have lost a child.

  • Dennis Gore says:

    I have never had children of my own and am in my latter 40s. I am a perpetual uncle. I am an uncle to about 10 nieces and nephews and may never beget children because of my disability because I have cerebral palsy. But I do try to encourage and lead my nieces and nephews and those younger than me anyway. Thank you

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