Why Great Dads Start With Why

Jun 21, 2020 1 Min Read
Doting Father/dad
Source:Photo by Kelli McClintock https://unsplash.com/photos/wBgAVAGjzFg
Via asking a simple 'Why' is a stepping stone into becoming a Great Father thus born a Great Leader
Just as there are good and bad leaders out there, there are good and bad dads. My challenge to you is to aim for something better than good. Aim to be a great dad. And the great ones always start with why.

The Missing Why

Peter Quill: Where is Gamora?
Tony Stark: I’ll do you one better: who is Gamora?
Drax the Destroyer: I’ll do you one better! Why is Gamora?

The quote above is from a hilarious exchange between Iron Man, Starlord, and Drax. Drax is, well, not exactly the brightest of superheroes. But I think he said something so genius it flew right over our heads. (For the record, nothing goes over Drax’s head. His reflexes are too fast and he will catch it.)

That’s right, my dear friends. Today on Father’s Day, our homework is to start with why.

Putting the ‘why’ in fatherhood

If you think about it, fatherhood is essentially a form of leadership. You have some little people who follow you around. They do what you tell them. You have the power to invoke change, to influence them to do the right thing. You can start a movement, such as getting them to clean up after themselves, or switch off the lights when they leave the room. You wield enormous power in this little kingdom.

That got me thinking.
Aren’t there some leadership principles we can apply to fatherhood?

It seems that what makes you a great leader is also what makes you a great father. And great leaders always start with why.
There are two essential things we ask of our leaders: a Vision and a Purpose.

Have you ever asked yourself the question “Why do I wanna be a dad?”

A vision answers the question “Where are we going?”. And a purpose answers the question “Why do we do it?”. These two provide the foundation for the what and the how (also known as a strategy). I leave you to figure out the strategy yourself. Watch a video or read a book.

Having a vision for the kind of father you’ll like to be and the kind of kids you want to raise is essential. But even more important than that is the existence of a strong purpose. It is your raison d’être. It gives you passion and motivates you towards something greater.

Have you ever asked yourself the question “Why do I wanna be a dad?” Now, this is going to take much longer than the time it takes to read this article. Your why can be found by looking at your past experiences. Look at your highs and your lows. Gather your stories and look for a theme in them. As you reflect deeply you will start to notice and unpack your why.

*This article may pique your interest: A Change of Approach: Lessons from Journeying with Contemporary Youth

The Drifter and the Driven

As I reflected more on how I can be a great dad, I realized that you can do one of two things – you either drift or you drive. No one ever drifted towards the goals that they desire. No one ever drifted and ended up exactly where they wanted to be. Taking fitness as an example, everyone who has a dad bod got here by drifting.

You only drift because you don’t know where you want to go (lack of a Vision) and you don’t know why you are there in the first place (lack of a Purpose). People lose their way when they lose their why.

But if you want to get where you are going, you need to be driven. You have to be compelled by a strong why that gets you moving towards your goals. A strong why is the fuel that propels you towards your goals. Why do you want to be fit? It’s because you want to physically play with your kids. You don’t want to be that dad with aching knees unable to play football with your children.

That’s why being a great dad is all about being single-minded. Start with why and every action will be thoughtful, intentional, and meaningful.

It’s all about the feeling

I wanted to be a dad. It was something that I desired. I wanted to have 5 kids (I kid you not). My wife said no way. I disagreed. After 2 kids, I told her she was right. I’m a dad to an almost 4-year-old and a 6-month old. I love them to bits and there’s not a thing I wouldn’t do for them.

You see, once you have a strong why you will realize that being a dad is not about winning. It’s not about winning popularity contests or having the cutest baby or the most talented kids. You can either choose to give your kids the best in everything or to get them to be the best in everything. Choosing the latter we end up more obsessed with what we can do for our kids. That gets boring fast.

A quote commonly attributed to Maya Angelou says:

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

I’ve discovered that at the end of the day, your kids won’t care how much you worked to earn the money to buy them that Frozen toy they wanted. They care when you drop everything when they come up to you and ask “Can you play with me?” (A common occurence now that we are all stuck at home with our kids)

You can make them feel safe, happy, and fed. Most of all you can make them feel loved.

No other toy or person can replace you in making your child feel loved. Give your best and to them, that’s enough.

Just as there are good and bad leaders out there, there are good and bad dads in here at home. My challenge to you is to aim for something better than good. Aim to be a great dad. And the great ones always start with why.

**Check out this echoing article: 3 Leadership Lessons I Learnt From DIODE Kids 2018

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Samuel Cheong is a curious student of what makes us better people. He loves learning about productivity, habits and leadership. He’s worked with companies in sales and marketing roles. He’s enthusiastic about coffee and tech.

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