Ciara and Russell Wilson Release Children's Book 'Why Not You' To Inspire All Kids 'To Pursue Their Dreams'

Celebrity parents Ciara and Russell Wilson spill the secret to the "organized chaos" of parenting three kids, their inspiration behind the picture book, Why Not You.

Ciara and Russell Wilson with Picture Book Why Not You
Photo: Demi Logan

Let's be real: Ciara and Russell Wilson are total #workingparentgoals.

The Seattle Seahawks star quarterback and Grammy-winning singer first connected in 2015, and it was an immediate meeting of minds and missions. Married in 2016, the pair have a full calendar between football games and recording sessions, clothing line launches, producing movies, and raising funds for children's cancer research.

That drive, the pair says, comes from growing up with parents who emphasized turning dreams into goals and making things happen. "Our parents challenged us to dream big and that everything is possible as long as we continue to work hard and believe in ourselves," says Willson, who's a Superbowl champ, and currently holds the record for the most wins of any NFL quarterback. "We both took this challenge to heart, and without this guiding principle, we wouldn't be where we are today."

It's a lesson they hope to share with their own kids—Future, 7, Sienna, 4, and Win, 1—and kids everywhere through their latest collaboration, a picture book called Why Not You? Illustrated by Jessica Gibson, the book teaches how mindset and motivation can help you achieve your biggest dreams.

The picture book is an extension of the couple's other brainchild, the Why Not You Foundation, a nonprofit created in 2014 to inspire and encourage kids everywhere to achieve by learning leadership skills. The foundation raises funds for aligned organizations, especially those centered on children's cancer, and helps support the Why Not You Academy, a charter high school in Seattle.

The duo caught up with Parents.com to chat about the mission behind Why Not You?, taking time to slow down, and "the organized chaos" of raising three kids with big dreams of their own.

What inspired you to write the picture book Why Not You?

Ciara: We were inspired by our three children, and we know just how important it is to share the gift of reading with kids, especially from an early age. We love reading with our kids and enjoying picture books together is a core part of our family time. Through this book, we hope to not only encourage kids everywhere to read but also inspire them to pursue their dreams with a "Why Not You" attitude. This is also a natural extension of our work through the Why Not You Foundation!

You've both achieved big dreams. What was that journey like?

Ciara: I had a passion for music at a young age and I was fortunate that my parents supported my dreams. My father would take me to auditions and stay with me in studios to record while I was in high school. I am a big believer in manifestation, so I wrote down my goals for being a successful music artist and with hard work and dedication I was able to make them come true. Over the course of my 15-plus-year journey, I have heard a lot more "nos" than "yeses." However, I always believed that anything that is meant for you cannot be taken away, so I continued to set goals and dream big!

Russell: I come from a family of educators, so education and learning were always key in my family. It was important for me to attend college and get that degree. And I knew from an early age that I loved sports—I played football and baseball all through my childhood and my dream was to go pro in one of the sports one day. It took a lot of hard work and dedication for me to achieve those dreams because the doors weren't always wide open for me. It still takes a lot of hard work, but I'm grateful that I get to be one of 32 men in the world doing what I do on the field every week.

Why Not You Book Cover by Ciara and Russell Wilson
Penguin Random House

You're parents to three children. How do you talk to them about dreams and goals?

Ciara: No dream is too big! We begin with building a foundation, that it comes from within. We also teach them that disappointing situations are just part of life, and there are lessons to be learned from them. It's never the end, and with determination and perseverance, they'll get through it all.

You created the Why Not You Foundation. What inspired that?

Russell: The foundation's name is inspired by the "Why Not You?" sentiment that was present in both of our homes growing up! The Why Not You Foundation was founded in 2014 and is a nonprofit dedicated to creating real and lasting change by empowering today's youth to be tomorrow's leaders. The foundation supports student access to equal education opportunities, children's health, and food security initiatives.

Advice for centering dreams and goals in intense times like these?

Ciara and Russell: We start each day with a prayer, giving gratitude for our blessings. We never lose sight of our blessings, even down to the smallest ones.

What has parenting during the pandemic been like, especially as working parents chasing big goals?

Ciara: We learned the importance of slowing down and enjoying moments at home together as a family. Although some days were quite chaotic, especially with the virtual learning, we were creative with spending time together whether it was movie nights at home, cooking together, or going for walks and bike rides.

Russell: It's what we called organized chaos!

What's the best parent advice you'd give? And the worst you've received?

Ciara and Russell: We are big believers in sleep training kids early and we like to share that advice with new parents. It is also important to remember every child is different, so advice is never one-size-fits-all. What worked for one of our kids did not always work for the others.

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