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What Happens When You Don’t Have All The Answers? by Jolette Jai

It was the end of a perfect afternoon.  My five-year-old son and I had just spent the day hiking in nature, eating picnics, riding scooters, and now we were back at home drawing.

He wanted to draw the entire alphabet, from A to Z.  So he does, concentrating hard on each letter as he forms it.  Then, he finally arrives at ‘Z’ and his face gets all twisted, trying to remember how to write a ‘Z.’

‘Twisted’ becomes ‘confused’ that turns into ‘searching’, which ultimately became ‘frustrated and mad.’

He throws the pen down, ’I can’t do it! I’ll never get it right!’

And then, the words that flew out of his mouth next slapped me right in the face.

‘I hate myself!’

It was a huge wake up call.  We wonder as parents what’s really going on below the surface as to what our kids are really thinking.   This day, I felt like I just got to see through a huge looking glass into my son’s mind and his beliefs.

I woke up in that moment.

I wanted him to know that this wasn’t true.  I felt like there was some huge belief system in his mind that was about to take root and we could shift it in that moment so that he could have a different belief.  So that he didn’t have to ‘hate himself.’   Maybe we could plant a new belief that would completely support and nourish him, instead of drag him down.

I dedicated my whole being to becoming present in that moment.

I immediately drew a picture of a stick figure boy with his insides all twisted and beside him I wrote ‘I hate myself’ then next to him I drew another stick figure boy with the words ‘I love myself’ next to him without any tangled insides.

I wasn’t sure where this was all going, honestly, but something greater within wanted to make sure that I helped him turn the tides.

So, I told him a story of when I first began writing the letter, ‘Z’ and I started drawing all of the times that I tried to write the letter ‘Z’…..Here was the first Z I ever made…it looked like this (insert funny scribble) then the next Z I made looked like this…and so on…

And then, the words that flew out of his mouth next slapped me right in the face.
‘I hate myself!’

I completely let go of having to do ANYTHING right or be perfect.  One of my biggest patterns growing up was feeling this need to do everything ‘perfect.’   You could say that I’m a recovering perfectionist.

I continued to stumble along, scribbling letters on the page, and as I showed him how I wrote certain letters, I made up funny squiggles off of my letters and called them ‘unique.’  He began smiling and then cracking up every time I would write one of them.

The page turned into art.  Something creative was being born.  Something that took the place of perfection.

Because something shifted in that moment.  I became human in his eyes.  Not someone who has all the answers.  But someone who messes up and allows herself to get creative.

In our achievement-oriented culture, we sometimes forget to not take ourselves so seriously and be able to mess up.  To not have all the answers.  To allow for the mistakes and messiness to emerge.

Then, as I messed up drawing the letters, I would say ’I can’t draw this but I still love myself.’  Over and over with every drawing.

And, you know what?

Soon, he started saying the same thing. ‘I can’t draw this but I still love myself.’

And he proceeded to draw every letter, having a blast.

Then, together, we crossed out the picture of ‘I hate myself’ and that was when I felt like he had just turned a huge corner. Something touched his soul and we could both relax and laugh.  That’s what it felt like.  A soul hug.

We laughed so hard drawing funny alphabets over and over until he grabbed me around the neck, hugging me and said, ‘I love you!’

I felt like he was saying ‘thanks’ for hanging in there with me, and for showing me that I don’t have to be right or perfect.  I can just be me.

In a moment, you can turn the tides.

In a moment, you can break a limiting pattern.

In a moment, you can actually become grace….

And perfect imperfection.



JOLETTE JAI is the founder of The Jai Institute for Parenting, where, since 2011, she and her team have trained conscious Parenting Coaches around the world, from all over the U.S. to Canada, Brazil to South Africa, and the UK to Dubai, to help parents raise caring, capable & confident kids with her 10-step Jai Process. This process is the first of it’s kind, helping parents experience authentic, deep connection with their children while setting limits in a way that enhances the long-term relationship between parent and child. Jolette is a passionate speaker, entrepreneur, and paradigm-shifter. She lives with her husband and wonderfully spirited son in Southern California.

For more information about the Jai Institute’s Parenting Training Program visit