Why Failure Can Be Good

I called my Dad last week in tears. I was convinced that I had failed my Econ test. I had studied nonstop for days. “I am an idiot. Maybe I need to change my major. I just don’t get it.” and on and on and on. My Dad just said, “So what? It’s one test. Calm down, meet with your teacher after you get it back, and figure out what you got wrong.  Don’t leave until you understand it. Good luck.” This was not exactly the response I was looking for. I also know that it must have been hard for him to say it, especially with his hysterical daughter on the other end of the line. And that got me thinking….


Our parents want to protect us and provide for us every opportunity that they can. But, can our parents go too far? The answer is yes, and at times most probably have to a minor degree. However, there are a few parents that have taken their involvement in their children’s lives too far. The recent college admissions cheating scandal that has plastered social media and is dominating the news cycle, seems to be a perfect example: parents buying, bribing, and cheating their children’s way into some of our country’s most elite universities. Obviously, such activity is illegal, and the parents - as well as others involved - are facing great repercussions.


I’ve heard claims that their actions were driven by love and concern. Maybe that is true, but I have a feeling that their actions have a lot more to do with their own image being convolutedly intertwined with their child’s success. It is all smoke and mirrors. Let’s be honest - this is probably not the first time that these parents have cheated or manipulated on behalf of their children. These are some of the most privileged people in the world and means is not really in question. Perception of reality, however, is in question. These parents have created a delusional world without failure, and an inflated sense of accomplishment and personal self-worth. A world robbed of failure is really a world without honest success. I am just glad most of us do not live in that world.