You’re going to fail — that doesn’t make you a failure

Published 8:54 pm Wednesday, November 7, 2018

My middle daughter has been a little stressed lately. She’s a senior in high school taking three college prep classes, working five hours most days at a local restaurant, singing in three bands/choirs through her church and getting ready to attend a university next year to work ultimately toward a doctorate.

And she’s trying not to let her boyfriend think she’s forgotten about him.

She’s beautiful, very intelligent, has a great singing voice and is a favorite employee at her job. She has a great head on her shoulders and has done so much to make me proud I don’t know where to start.

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But she’s stressed.

She’s not worried that she’s doing too much or not enough, or not good enough at what she’s doing, etc. She’s concerned — anxious even — that through her college education and being thrust into the “adult” world she at some points might not do enough to be proud of herself or happy with her results.

So I tried to encourage her.

Her mother, stepfather, stepmom and I have all reinforced for years her abilities and the proper use of them, her positive attitude toward work and sports, her genuine love and concern for other people, her drive to be the best reflection of Christ she can be. But we all need continued and renewed encouragement.

So I told her she was right — she was going to fail.

And that’s OK.

I told her she was going to take college courses she didn’t like at all, and she was going to do poorly. She was going to take courses she was excited about, and do poorly in them, too. Thankfully, she laughed.

But she was also going to take courses she loved and abhorred at which she excelled. And life was going to be just fine.

When she makes a poor choice or doesn’t perform as well as she’d like to, she has to keep going — learn from her mistakes and grow.

You’ll fail, but that doesn’t make you a failure. You have got to get up and keep going.

“Easier said than done, Dad.”

I know.

A couple of weekends ago, my wife and I accompanied her to a college preview day at one of her top school choices. She toured the campus, talked to professors and had questions answered she didn’t know she had. As we walked toward the car with her arms full of information and swag, she blurted out, “Why am I expected to make life choices? I’m only 17!”

A valid question, but she’s been clicking right along.

She inherited her father’s anxious tendencies, poor thing. But she said the reminder that it was OK to fail made her feel better.

Me, too. She’ll be just fine.

Lifestyles editor Brett Campbell can be reached at