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The Power of “Why” When it Comes to Being a Single Dad

2 min read

Like any kid, my daughter’s favorite word is “why.” She’s constantly questioning the world around her and always looking for an explanation—especially when she can’t have something or doesn’t get her way. And while it can get frustrating always answering “why,” I can’t fault her tenacity. I too often pose the same question to myself. Why?

There’s power in the word “why.” In fact, it’s the driving force behind most of the things I do as a single dad. Funny enough, the answer is always the same, no matter what the situation. “Why” is always followed by “for her.” Why do I get up an hour earlier than I have to in the morning? So I can make a nutritious breakfast for her. Why pass on a guy’s weekend? So I can be there for her as a dad, spending meaningful moments as a present parent.

Being a single parent can be hard. If you don’t stop to ask yourself “why” every once in a while, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s most important. You start to go through the motions without thinking. You make a few concessions here and there, because it’s not a big deal. You start to drift away from being present and engaged, to autopilot. Stopping to ask “why” you’re doing what you do makes you refocus. It puts everything back in perspective. It makes you focus on her.

The power of “why” isn’t just about being present and accountable as a parent. It’s also invigorating. I’ve started looking at the decisions I’m making through a more refined lens. “Why” creates objectives beyond just “for her.” Why are we eating keto-friendly tonight? For her health. Why did we spend an hour building a fort and reading stories? For her imagination. I’ve started harnessing the power of “why” to focus on specific ways I can be a better parent for my daughter. In focusing on “why” I’m teaching myself how to be a better dad. I’m parenting with a purpose.

I’ve talked with lots of other dads who feel lost. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I felt lost myself every once in a while. The trick—and the thing I constantly tell other dads—is to refocus with “why” and make engaged decisions with a clear objective in mind. The “why” is always going to be your child. If you can harness it directly, “why” becomes everything you need to know as a good parent. When you’re unsure or uncertain, just ask yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. If the answer is for the benefit of your child, chances are, you’re doing the right thing.

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