Five Important "Why" Questions Every Parent Should Ask
April 30, 2018
Some days, parenting feels like a treadmill of tending to kids, running to activities, and keeping up with responsibilities at home and work. But rather than reacting to their circumstances, effective parents look at a bigger picture and ask "Why?"

Here are a few important why questions every parent should consider.

1. Why are we here? Asking (and answering) this big-picture question gets to our purpose and will help give our kids a vision for our family. Philippians 2:15 tells us that we are to shine the light of Christ into a “crooked and twisted” world (ESV). Helping our kids see our purpose as a family—a purpose that is much bigger than ourselves—helps them get a vision for how they can serve Christ in the future.

2. Why are we involved in these activities (and not some others)? Asking this question helps us think about how we can reach out to our neighbors. Putting four-year-old Johnny in a soccer league isn’t necessarily about Johnny’s someday soccer scholarship—there’s a bigger purpose, and that purpose might just be to get to know your neighbors. Parents who carefully think through their child’s involvements recognize that their family is built for so much more than the activities we choose.

3. Why are we choosing busy over bonded? This question examines our intentions. Do we value our family time, or are we avoiding each other? Do we believe that strengthening our family really matters? Are our kids showing signs of burnout? If we’re spinning our wheels being busy for the sake of “one more thing,” perhaps we need to reevaluate.

4. Why do we worship? This question targets what we value. Worship causes us to reset and focus our hearts on a God who is worthy of our praise. As parents, it’s our responsibility to model what’s ultimately important so that worship becomes a habit for our kids. And this is one habit that needs to be established early in their lives.

5. Why should I let go when it’s so very hard? While it may feel uncomfortable, asking this question helps us define our idols. Are we clinging to the past? Holding on too tightly? Trying too hard to control? By loosening our grip and letting go, we demonstrate trust in a sovereign God who has a plan for our kids. Ultimately, letting go is best for us, our kids, and the world.
First Ask Why
Raising Kids to Love God Through Intentional Discipleship

It's no secret that parenting is tricky business. With advice flooding in from all sides, strong-willed children pushing against boundaries, and our own human flaws, it's easy to get bogged down in every how-to that we're not doing well. But maybe that isn't the right approach. Maybe the first step is not to ask "how" but to ask "why."

Our ultimate calling as parents is to train up our children to know and love Jesus. How we go about doing that is different for each family. Asking why will help you focus on your family’s unique purpose and challenge you to consider areas of discipleship that you want to emphasize with your kids.
Shelly Wildman is a former writing instructor and author of First Ask Why: Raising Kids to Love God Through Intentional Discipleship. Shelly holds degrees from Wheaton College (BA) and University of Illinois at Chicago (MA), but her most important life’s work has been raising her three adult daughters. She and her husband, Brian, have been married for thirty-three years and live in Wheaton, Illinois. Connect with Shelly at her website: