For decades, Juba, Chon and Isaam have tried to mend their relationship with their often absent father, John Houston. Not only would John disappear from their lives for years at a time, but he also lied so much to his sons that they eventually began questioning everything about him, including his having a stroke.
In an effort to help all four men find the path to healing, Iyanla Vanzant traveled to their hometown of Newark, N.J., on an episode of "Iyanla: Fix My Life." Father and sons sat down together for a raw, emotional conversation about John's absence and lies -- a conversation that turned explosive.
Chon, the middle son, begins by explaining to John how his constant lies affected the family. "When you told us you had a stroke, we didn't believe you," Chon says. "We laughed about it. And I feel horrible about that now because we actually sat and joked about you having a stroke."
John seems to get defensive, but Iyanla stops him and says it's quite simple: The fact remains that he lied to his sons. Chon agrees, telling his father, "We don't need the grand speech. We need you to be straight up. Just like I'm being straight up with you, you need to be straight up with us."
Oldest son Juba begins to speak and reminds John of something Juba told him, but John interrupts. "Excuse me, Juba, I really don't need to hear any more of what people asked me or what people told me," John says. "What I really, truly need--"
"Pa, stop," Juba says. "That's selfish."
For a moment, both men stand their ground to speak at the same time, but then John explodes. "You don't know me!" he yells, slamming down a notebook and jumping to his feet. "You don't know me because of the fact [that] I didn't tell you about me!"
"No, you didn't show up! You wasn't there!" Juba exclaims.
Father and son continue to shout, airing their frustrations. Iyanla tries to intervene, but John picks up his notebook and looks as if he is about to storm off. Iyanla isn't haven't it. "Mr. Houston," she says to him calmly, "you are not going to leave your sons again."