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Fatherwork - Family Studies Center at BYU

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FatherWork at BYU Courtesy of the Family Studies Center at BYU

What FatherWork Is:

FatherWork is a team of faculty members and researchers from the Family Studies Center at Brigham Young University that focuses on collecting stories and doing research on generative fathering.

Generative Fathering Defined:

Generative fathering is a commitment to caring for the next generation through working to meet children's needs. Generative fathering is a process of fathers turing their hearts to the children to bless the lives of children, their own lives, and their communities.

Generative fathering has seven key components, all of which are the focus of research at FatherWork. These are:

  • 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)

Stories Found at FatherWork:

Part of the mission of FatherWork is to collect stories that help inform academics and practitioners in the family life field as they work with fathers and families and do research into fatherhood issues, including generative fathering. The stories cataloged on FatherWorks fall into several key categories:
  • Fathering Across the Lifespan - stories based on the age of children and fathers

  • Fathering in Challenging Circumstances - stories about fathering special needs children, non-custodial children, adopted children and fathering in tough economic situations

  • Fathering as Work - these stories relate to the seven key "works" of fathers that form the basis for generative fathering

  • Special Story Topics - the stories in this section relate to experiences with faith, caring for a child's mother, moral development, physical and athletic development, and employment issues.

Uses of FatherWork's Research:

FatherWork, being an academic site, offers help for researchers in social work, marriage and family therapy and religious studies. The site is full of references to scholarly work in the areas of parenting and fatherhood which can be of particular help to academics and students involved in such research.

Practitioners are also a key focus of the resources of FatherWork. As therapists work with families and individuals, and particularly with fathers, they will find the research, case studies and stories to be of particular help. Whether a counselor or social worker or clergy member is trying to help a family heal from abuse, recover from infidelity, repair broken relationships, deal with troubled teens or address any of the myriad other social challenges facing families today, these professionals can find stories that help illustrate the principles and practices they are trying to teach.

Faith-Based Framework:

FatherWork's underlying philosophy is based on the doctrine about the importance of the family that is a part of the basic beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, BYU's sponsoring institution. The Church's The Family: A Proclamation to the World teaches about the importance of fathers and families and defines the doctrinal keys to successful family life.

The Bottom Line:

Social workers, academics, students, counselors, therapists and just plain fathers can gain a greater appreciation for the importance of fathers in the life of a family at FatherWork. The stories help provide a framework for research, counseling, or just working to make families better and stronger by helping fathers be more focused on the needs of their families.

The work done by FatherWork and its team of academics, researchers and practitioners, can be of benefit to anyone interested in being a better father and in making a positive difference for families and fathers now and for the benefit of future generations.

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