Before I'd even fully conceptualized my answer, I realized I was raising my hand to interject during the panel I was on last week. The question was on being a role model for our daughters because we were working moms. I wanted to point out that while I want my children (not just my daughter, by the way) to be proud of my successes, I want them to be proud of the things I learn from my failures too.
It's a concept I remember hearing about in grad school, that companies and individuals with the most long-term success had managed to learn important lessons from failures along the way.
And then...I stopped writing this post. Because admitting failure is hard.
I want to preserve the shiny veneer and say, look, look at me, I'm hugely successful in all that I do. I'm super lucky and blessed and grateful for all of it. I've been fortunate that any fails I've had along the way weren't bad enough to derail me, didn't stop me from moving on to the next thing and trying to achieve my goals.
But that isn't the example I want to show my children. I want them to know that I'm not perfect, that I've struggled with working hard, being patient, waiting my turn. That I've learned when things didn't go my way.
Since the fall, my town has seen three of its teenagers commit suicide. I haven't been connected to any of the families, but I haven't been able to stop thinking about them, especially since the third one is from a Jewish family, so close to my circles. My "lean in" circle, a group of women that have been meeting for about a year now, discussed the stress and pressure that these teens were presumed to be under. Again, I found myself saying that we need to help our children understand that we can survive failure, that we have seen it and beaten it ourselves.
And then Idina Menzel blew it at the Oscars. Her name was flubbed, maybe she had a cold, who knows, but I knew she missed her big note and the performance in total seemed off. Hannah watched with me, and I told her the missed note made me love Idina even more. A day later, she saw Idina's performance with Jimmy Fallon, and heard her hit that big note just fine. She saw her get up, go to work, and get it right this time.
Failing is hard work. Learning to appreciate it when we do fail is even harder.