4
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Fathers we are all

Some of us with many

Some of us with one

Our children vary in appearance even more than we

But helpers they are to one and plenty

A few of us knew our calling

A few others knew our vision

And yet a few more knew our path

But fathers all gave birth to their children

Clarification

The answer I'm looking for is who are the fathers, you can give the children if you like but it's not necessary.  

 Lines 2 and 3 refer to the number of children certain fathers have.

Hint 1:

The fathers are not specific to a particular time. There have been countless throughout the ages.

Hint 2:

The fathers are alive while the children are typically not considered to be so.

Hint 3:

The children do not die, but they can be destroyed.

Hint 4:

The children can made from almost any material. Be it plastic, glass, metal, cloth, cement, rubber or some other material.

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  • $\begingroup$ Im assuming the answer is something abstract, not a physical thing $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil Jun 1 '16 at 15:46
  • $\begingroup$ @BeastlyGerbil yes and no. Their children are most certainly physical and as are the fathers but at the same time, the fathers can be considered abstract in their grouping. $\endgroup$ – dcfyj Jun 1 '16 at 15:48
  • $\begingroup$ oooh cryptic :) $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil Jun 1 '16 at 15:57
  • $\begingroup$ @BeastlyGerbil it's how I roll, I hate spoiling things. $\endgroup$ – dcfyj Jun 1 '16 at 15:58
  • $\begingroup$ Plenty of physical answers to the first several lines, but they don't agree with the last few. To clarify, each "few" refers to a subset of the fathers? Or does the use of "a few others" change the next to third person? $\endgroup$ – Roland Jun 1 '16 at 16:51
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Inventors are the fathers.

Fathers we are all

Inventrs create

Some of us with many

Some of us with one

Some great inventors create only one thing, others create many

Our children vary in appearance even more than we

There are some weird looking inventors but there inventions are far more diverse

But helpers they are to one and plenty

I don't think all inventions are particularly helpful but that is usually the intention. Just ask the mother!

A few of us knew our calling

A few others knew our vision

And yet a few more knew our path

Some inventors invent completely by accident (just like real fathers). Others invent to meet a need and end up creating eg 'post it notes'. Others create to meet a need and succeed.
OP Reason:
our calling refers to the inventors of the telephone
our vision refers to the inventors of the television
our path refers to inventors of the airplane (path = trajectory)

But fathers all gave birth to their children

The inventor gives birth to the children. Ironically, the mother usually plants the seed.

Hint 1:

There have been countless inventors throughout the ages.

Hint 2:

Inventors are alive but few can say they've truly invented anything 'living' in the literal sense

Hint 3:

Inventions don't die unless you count batteries etc.

Hint 4:

Inventions can be made from most any material

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  • $\begingroup$ Correct! However lines 6, 7 and 8 are the wrong reasons. $\endgroup$ – dcfyj Jun 2 '16 at 12:05
  • $\begingroup$ I had written an answer, though it seemed to be a slightly more specific version of your answer, so +1 instead. $\endgroup$ – Catch 44 - Reinstate Monica Jun 8 '16 at 20:26
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Are children cells, while fathers living beings?

Fathers we are all

we for living beings

Some of us with many

Some of us with one

pluri vs mono cellulars

Our children vary in appearance even more than we

There are many types of very distinct cells

But helpers they are to one and plenty

They all fullfil a specific function

A few of us knew our calling

Ehm... voice? Ears?

A few others knew our vision

Eye cells?

And yet a few more knew our path

Cells in our feet?

But fathers all gave birth to their children

Cells birth everytime.

Hint 1: The fathers are not specific to a particular time. There have been countless throughout the ages.

Cells are in practice countless. try to count them and several will die in the process and be renewed and replaced by others. living beings existed for loooooong time so this does not apply to a specific life period.

Hint 2: The fathers are alive while the children are typically not considered to be so.

Cells are not typically live to the same extent a living being is. Although in a non-typical way of saying it, cells could be considered alive. But if I extract cells from your body, they are not considered another living being.

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  • $\begingroup$ Interesting guess, but not the correct one unfortunately. The fathers are what I'm looking for in my answer ( I'll clarify that in the question in a moment) and lines 2 and 3 refer to the number of children. $\endgroup$ – dcfyj Jun 1 '16 at 21:00
  • $\begingroup$ So the fathers are living beings. line 2 and 3 still address the same. $\endgroup$ – Luis Masuelli Jun 1 '16 at 21:01
  • $\begingroup$ you should be more specific, in a way that my answer does not address at least one of the points. perhaps editing the question to add more points that make a difference. $\endgroup$ – Luis Masuelli Jun 1 '16 at 21:03
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I believe the fathers are:

Authors

Some of us with many Some of us with one

Self-explantory

Our children vary in appearance even more than we

A little subjective but, a comic book with pictures and story, a scientific article with figures and tables, and a novel with words and a story differ more in fundamental parts than two humans who both have a heart and lungs and other organs that play the exact same role in their body.

But helpers they are to one and plenty

Lots of books, some are useful

A few of us knew our calling A few others knew our vision And yet a few more knew our path

Authors' work can be used to provoke a revolution (calling), to expand human knowledge (vision, visionaries), to predict the future (scifi, political commentary).

But fathers all gave birth to their children

The books did not exist without their authors. I am a little unsure about the masculine versus feminine language, but often we use masculine to refer to both.

The fathers are not specific to a particular time. There have been countless throughout the ages.

Self-explanatory

The fathers are alive while the children are typically not considered to be so.

Overwhelmingly, authors are alive, but there are some strange things in the world right now: http://www.elsewhere.org/journal/pomo/

The children do not die, but they can be destroyed.

You can burn a book, or try to purge all copies of a book from society, but it does not die, it is destroyed.

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  • $\begingroup$ All these incredibly clever answers I hadn't thought of, >.<. This is not the answer either but an incredibly good guess. $\endgroup$ – dcfyj Jun 2 '16 at 0:18
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Edit:

Are the fathers

Machines

And their children

Products the machine makes.

Reason:

Some of us with many Some of us with one

Referring to the product each machine makes, it could make one or many.

Out children vary in appearance even more than we

Different machines make different products that look different from each other.

But helpers we are to one and plenty

All these products are used by people and they help us.

A few of us knew our calling

The machine knows what is it supposed to do. I knows what particular "occupation" it is trained for.

A few others knew our vision

Vision here might no refer to "sight". Instead vision could mean what they (machines) intend to do.

Yet a few more knew our path (This one quite loosely fitting into the explanation)

If the machine is supposed to follow a certain path, it knows it's path.

Yet all fathers gave birth to their children

All machines made products.

Hint 1

There have been countless machines throughout the ages.

Hint 2

The machines are "alive" (working/moving) while the products might no certainly be.

Hint 3

The products do not die. They can surely be destroyed.

Hint 4

The children can be made of any material. The possibilities are endless.

Original answer (confirmed wrong)

I believe the fathers are the thoughts that give birth to more thoughts (the children).
Some people may have one thought. Others might have many.
Thoughts vary widely from person to person.
They help in situations too.
You can call on a thought. You could also have a visual thought.
As said before, thoughts give birth to more thoughts.

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  • $\begingroup$ Nice idea but if you read the comments, the children are physical things $\endgroup$ – Beastly Gerbil Jun 1 '16 at 16:01
  • $\begingroup$ Thoughts give rise to actions? That would still be abstract right? @BeastlyGerbil $\endgroup$ – jaydm26 Jun 1 '16 at 16:05
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Your answer doesn't address all the points made in the riddle. You're thinking a little too abstract. I'm looking for something specific. $\endgroup$ – dcfyj Jun 1 '16 at 16:28

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