Making Room for Failure — Dads Helping Daughters Succeed

Those who are successful are those who learn from their failures and do not give up. Quitting is a very easily learned habit. People who quit when they fail at something never accomplish anything in life. Rick Johnson

My good friend and author, Rick Johnson, has just released another excellent resource titled, That’s My Girl: How a Father’s Love Protects and Empowers His Daughter, which I, as a mother, a daughter, and as woman found to be instructive and positively practical.

One of Johnson’s premises is that today’s world is a dangerous one for girls. He’s right.

Johnson cites how many girls are falling prey to eating disorders, poor body image, cutting, depression and other emotional trauma. The media’s unhealthy attention on attaining perfection places unrealistic expectations upon girls, teens, and young adult women.

The message our girls hear is that unless they are perfect, they are total failures. Dads, however, can combat and offset this constant and destructive onslaught by offering simple (yet consistently spoken) words of affirmation.

Johnson writes

What daughters need most is affirmation from a male who adores and loves her unconditionally and in spite of any real or perceived imperfections. Too many girls only see disappointment, judgment, and criticism when they look in their daddy’s face.

But it isn’t enough to simply affirm daughters says Johnson. In order to fully prepare girls for the world they’re going to face, fathers need to share their own failures with their children. Kids seem to think fathers are capable of achieving anything…but they often miss the uphill climb (filled with mistakes and failures) their dads made to get where they are today.

People learn best by trial and error, falling and getting back up and trying again and again until we achieve success. Our children learn this best by our example. Too many parents (fathers especially) want to project a perfect image to their children. They only want to model a perfect example. But our kids learn great lessons from our failures.

Johnson’s call to fathers is twofold.

1. Dismantle the inaccurate pursuit of perfection by offering affirmation and unconditional love to daughters.
2. Commit to a life of transparency where daughters can observe how failure makes way for success.


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