Finding Success in Failures

So, it’s been a super long time since I’ve wrote but something happened today that was well worth writing about.

My daughter is now 23. (Yeah, 23, as in years.) She graduated nursing school in December (so proud!) and took her board exam yesterday. She messaged last night, devastated that she did not pass. Being the Mom I am, I immediately spouted words of encouragement: ‘suck it up buttercup‘, ‘failure is only when you quit tryin‘…blah blah blah…but I could tell it wasn’t what she really wanted to hear at that moment. She was hurting. Sometimes the last thing you want to hear is ‘keep your head up’. Sometimes you’re just hurt and you just need to feel the pain. It was tough, but I shut up, told her I love her, and let her be. Sometimes we need to be mad at ourselves. We need time to reflect…we just aren’t supposed to stay there.

This morning she texted and confirmed she did not pass. My heart wept inside. I sympathized and started with the encouragements: she can try again; not the first to fail. Then she texted something that shocked me “I’m trying to stay positive. I’m surprisingly happier than I would have anticipated.” I assumed she had come to terms with it and was relieved. My girl is not one to give up.

We continued texting and I told her that I’m a big believer that things happen for a reason, even in what appears to be bad. I told her that maybe there is something she needed to learn yet that will help her save a life one day. This is God’s way of making sure she knows it. Her reply? She’s actually happy she didn’t pass – she didn’t want to ‘barely’ become a nurse, she wants to knock it out of the park.

Then I saw that she announced to the Facebook world: “Well folks, I didn’t pass this time around. but I’m staying in good spirits. Some of the best nurses I know had to take the exam twice. I’m just gonna study my tail off and kill it next time.”

Bottom line is, it’s hard as a parent to watch our kids struggle or fail. We want to help them, heal the boo-boo’s, wrap them in bubble wrap and shield them from the pains of the world…but we can’t and we shouldn’t. Sometimes we need to fall. It’s only after a cold that you realize how great it is to be able to breathe without your mouth open. When we fall we learn the most, both about the world, and more importantly, about ourselves. The world is rough; the world is harsh. We are flawed, but we are also resilient. Attitude is truly everything. You can be down on yourself, beat yourself up, but don’t stay there; at some point we need to admit what we did wrong, let it go, and truly resolve to do better the next time. We have to find the light in the dark, even if that means being the one who builds a fire.

I thought I was proud when she graduated, but surprisingly, I’m actually more proud of her attitude after not passing the board exam. It shows she has the ability to turn failure into success; to see the good even in the most painful of times. It shows that she is resilient…mature. I feel confident that when failure strikes again, she will prevail. As a parent, that is one of the best attribute we can hope our children possess: perseverance. The only true form of failure is when we stop trying and she isn’t stopping. That’s my girl!



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