>Fatherhood is generative.
Generative is a term that was coined in a study by Dollahite, Hawkins, and Brotherson (1997) (1) in their research to develop a strengths- and responsibility-based framework for fathering. Basically, “generative” means being concerned for developing the next generation through effective fathering. Here are some of the key points from this framework:
- Relationship work (working to create a healthy relationship)
- Stewardship work (providing for the physical needs and safety of children)
- Development work (changing to meet changing needs)
- Ethical work (teaching children values and helping them to relate with others in moral ways)
- Spiritual work (working to help child obtain purpose and joy)
- Recreation work (helping children relax and have fun)
- Mentoring work (Helping older children learn skills to be a successful parent) (2)
Deuteronomy 6:1-9 illustrates the biblical mandate to be generative as parents. Fathers in particular have a responsibility to build the next generation. According to Ken Canfield in They Call Me Dad (2005) (3), fathers are the “ancient paths” mentioned in Jeremiah 6:16 that children are to look to. The state of fatherhood will have to change significantly to see generative work become a priority and a reality.