Jay Williams, a successful video producer living in Atlanta, has been working with life coach Iyanla Vanzant to help sort through the mess he has created as a father of 34 children. Since beginning the work, he has broken down over the pain in his childhood, listened to his mother blame herself for her role in his situation, been confronted by several of his older children and come face-to-face with several of the 17 women he got pregnant over the years. But the one thing Jay hasn't done is address the cycle of abandonment that he experienced as a child and now perpetuates as an adult.
When Jay was just a boy himself, his parents, Wes and Stacey, divorced after several years in a dysfunctional relationship. Then, when Wes had problems with his second wife, he left town -- and left Jay behind. Years later, Jay hasn't been there for his own children and now, his son Jay Wes could be at risk for continuing the pattern.
In order to help Jay Wes avoid the same mistakes made by the two generations before him, Iyanla has all three men sit down to get clarity. Wes begins.
"Son, I failed you," Wes says to Jay. "You needed support and I didn't give it to you. And you needed me to set an example of a man, of a father."
Jay listens quietly and then speaks to his own son.
"[You] needed a real model that you could connect with and relate to, and I did not make myself available for you in that way," Jay says. "You needed my leadership. You needed my guidance. I absolutely failed to teach you anything productive in terms of relationships with women."
Jay Wes nods. "I just want to see you become a better person who's able to deal with what you created," he says. "I love you. That's it. I've got love for you, I'm here for you."
"I didn't get to know my father until I was 33," Jay tells him. "And here you are, you're really just getting to know me and that's not fair... So, please forgive me."
Very deliberately, Iyanla guides Jay to stand up. She has Jay Wes stand as well. Facing each other, the two men embrace.
"Just hold your son," Iyanla says gently, as Wes looks on with a tearful smile. "Hold him. Just hold him."