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Why I’m Happy When My Kids Fail

The other day my daughter made a series of bad decisions and I was happy when it happened.

True story.

I was genuinely happy when she messed up. I wasn’t happy “that” she messed up but I was happy “when” she messed up because failure is such a great platform for love and grace to shine.

See, it’s so easy for my daughter to run into my arms when she’s hitting home runs, and it doesn’t require much for her to believe I’m for her when she makes good choices.

But the moment she fails, everything she knows to be true of our relationship seems to go out the window.

She doesn’t say much when she fails, but her slumped head and defeated demeanor tells me all I need to know.

Is dad still for me? Is he still proud of me? Does he still love me?

If you pay close attention, you can almost hear those words beneath her apologies.

But that’s not a kid thing is it? No, it’s not. It’s a human thing. I’ve been there and so have you.

Failure stinks. No one likes to feel like a mess-up and no one likes to disappoint the ones they love, especially dad. There’s just something about the feeling of failing dad that stings a little more than normal, isn’t there?

I can tell she feels distant. 

So I smile and lean close. I let my joy overshadow her weakness. I smile with delight at what is about to happen as I whisper these words in my soul. 

Thank you, failure. Thank you.

Thanks for giving me an opportunity to remind my daughter how much I love her. Thank you for lending me your mic, stage and platform.

Thank you for giving me the emotional leverage to remind my girl of her true identity. Thank you for letting me make a “grace investment” in my daughter’s future. 

You see this was just a small boo-boo. The bad choice I speak of is one we’ll all soon forget, but that won’t always be the case. Someday it’ll be different. Someday she’ll strike out in a big way.

I don’t know how or when, but someday soon my daughter will mess up in a big way, and when she does I want her to know that she can come to daddy.

I want her to know that no matter what she did or where she’s been, she can always come to daddy.

I’ve told her that several times. I’ve told her that, when she fails, I hope the first thought that crosses her mind is “go to daddy.”

I don’t know if she believes me. In fact I’m pretty sure she doesn’t … YET! 

But that’s okay, and that’s also why I am happy when she fails now like she just did.

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Sammy grew up in Nigeria. He is currently the Young Adult Pastor at North Point Church. He's also a national speaker for The Mocha Club. He lives in Ohio with his wife Ashley, daughter Bebe and saint bernards MJ and Milo.