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10 Things Our Daughters Could Learn From Whitney Houston

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English: Whitney Houston talking to the audien...

Multi-award winning singer and entertainer Whitney Houston was born on this day in 1963.

Her fairytale-turned-tumultuous life, complete with a bad-boy husband and admitted drug use, ended in tragedy in a hotel bathtub on February 11, 2012.

According to Wikipedia:

“…the Los Angeles County coroner’s office reported the cause of Houston’s death was drowning and the “effects of atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use”. The office stated the amount of cocaine found in Houston’s body indicated that she used the substance shortly before her death. Toxicology results revealed additional drugs in her system: Benadryl, Xanax, marijuana and Flexeril.The manner of death was listed as an “accident”.

To mark her birth date, I featured Ms Houston on AmazingWomenRock.com’s Facebook page. One of the page’s fans commented:

“Unfortunately this woman did not rock. She was a successful singer that was coked up most of the time. It’s sad but true. She’s not worth admiring. A person like her who wasted her talent and life away is not worth praise, what does that teach our daughters.”

These types of comments (often generated when I feature “controversial” women such as Margaret Thatcher, Marilyn Monroe, and Mother Teresa among others) cause me to reflect on the ease, speed, and frequency with which we sinners cast stones.

Last time I checked, I wasn’t perfect. Not even close. In fact, I suck hugely at lots of stuff (living a saintly life chief among them). I have failed more times than I’ve succeeded. I’ve sinned. Oh Lord I surely have. I’m imperfect. I’m human.

Yes, I have vices (naughty me!), but I also have virtues.

In addition to being incredibly flawed, I’m also amazing — as was Whitney Houston. She was an extraordinary beauty, a ginormous talent with the voice of an angel. Sadly, at some point, she took a turn down a dark path. She wasn’t able to get back on the “right” track. Tragic? Oh yes. Trashy? No way.

I answered the comment above with a comment of my own suggesting what our daughters might learn from theΒ  Whitney Houston story. Here are 10 of them:

  1. no one is perfect

  2. things (and people) are not always what they seem

  3. life’s challenges can sometimes be overwhelming

  4. the road to “success” is fraught with potential pitfalls

  5. we all have something to learn from the successes AND failures of others, as well as our own successes and failures

  6. fame and fortune do not guarantee peace and happiness

  7. even “great” people are flawed (just as I am flawed and everyone else I know is flawed)

  8. we all fall prey to all sorts of evil / the devil wears many disguises

  9. even beauty and talent do not protect one from despair, pain and tragedy

  10. be careful who you hang out with

Bonus lessons:

  1. anything is possible

  2. crack is whack

  3. it’s easy to judge, less easy to be judged

  4. there but for the grace of God go I

  5. compassion, empathy and understanding are easier to talk about than they are to practice

RIP Whitney Houston. Your life’s lessons live on.

Susan Macaulay created and curates SheQuotesMy Alzheimer’s Story,  Amazing Women RockAmazingSusan.com, and Succeed With Susan. She is a feminist, global citizen, lifelong learner and the author of Everyday Feminine Wisdom and soon-to-be-published “the dogs’ breakfast.”






10 Responses to “10 Things Our Daughters Could Learn From Whitney Houston”

  1. heidi says:

    What a lovely, well written post. I think that many women believe that they have to be perfect just to be okay and project those expectations onto all of us, without realizing that they are doing it. It’s a heavy burden and keeps us from being able to appreciate each other. Thank you for the kind, compassionate post. Whitney rocks, you rock, and the commenter who inspired your thoughtful reply rocks. You’ve made my morning, do I think I’ll go rock some too. πŸ™‚

    • AmazingSusan says:

      And thank YOU, Heidi, for the lovely, well-written and thoughtful comment. You are SO right about the burden of expectations.

      Go on out there and rock, rock, rock and keep at it until your life in this life is over and it’s on to the next πŸ™‚

      Don’t be good. Be amazing!

      Susan πŸ˜‰

  2. Lisa says:

    Thanks for this post! It is soooo on target for today. There is so much judging and I’m beginning to realize that if I just listen to the judging, and don’t speak out against it, I am complicit in it. I don’t want to be complicit in it any longer. You are a great role model for how to respond when we see/hear this kind of cutting, critical spirit. None of us are angels- we all have both dark and light sides. We can teach our kids this, too. They can understand that people are human- even our heroines are human. We can learn so much from their mistakes and their successes.

    • AmazingSusan says:

      Thanks Lisa.

      And, besides NOT being angels, we are likewise all angels to others at times and in many ways, sometimes in ways we might least expect or not even realize… We are all both human and divine, I think.

      Having been judged and vilified myself, I know what it feels like to be on the receiving end. The gift in that for me is it has made me more aware, and sometimes helps me to find compassion instead of condemnation. I still struggle though, in every sense, to be a better person. Just like most people.

      I hope to keep learning until my last breath.

      <3 <3 <3

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