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"An eagle, you stupid!" - My 5-year-old son (Short story)

written by JIBRAN EL BAZI |

Just now, I was working on some content processes while feeling thirsty. So I walked downstairs to grab a cup of tea and heard my 5-year-old son making a fuss. Which is not uncommon. I came into the room and saw he was frustrating over what seemed to be a paper cube surrounded by duct tape with a hole in it. At the same time, he was irritatingly telling his mom that she had to "cut a droplet shape piece of paper instead of a circle!"

crafted grey cube-like shape


As is often the case, our son has something in his mind that he wants to make, but he doesn't have the physical ability to make it yet—the struggle of so many people.

But he's so hard on himself at those times, many times my son believes everything he's making is a failure because it's not like he imagines it is. Then he destroys it or throws it around the room. Which happened this time too.

So I asked, "what are you making, son?" Which only got me a mumbling answer. From that, I assumed he was trying to make a robot.

"I'm making an eagle, you stupid!"

Feeling a little bad that I said the wrong thing, I tried comforting him, which didn't go that well. I asked what he wanted to make. "An eagle!"

I then asked if it looked different in his mind's eye. "Yes!" After that, I tried to tell him that all people first need to practice things before they can create what they visualize.

He refused to accept this and went to the couch, still frustrated. There he grabbed my wife's bullet journal—which is full of beautiful drawings she made—and he started flipping through it. But he was not relaxed at all. He resentfully said, "This is beautiful, this is beautiful, this is beautiful," on and on.

My wife then took the opportunity to tell some stories about each drawing she had made, and suddenly I had a great idea!

drawing of jail by 6 year old

The attic

I remember I had all my own drawings and creative stuff from when I was a kid. My dad brought it to me 14 years ago or so. But I never really looked at it. I put it all away in boxes in the attic.

So I went upstairs and started looking for something that I made while I was almost the same age as my son. I found a drawing I made for my dad and his co-workers—a prison with burglar behind bars (my dad was and still is a cop). Then I took the drawing downstairs to show to my son and tell a story about it.

I explained to him that I drew this when I was a little older than him and that nowadays, I improved my drawing abilities. But it only happened because I kept drawing. And that he, too, will get better at the things he wants to achieve, so long as he keeps at it. That it's OK to make something not exactly as you imagine it.

He relaxed visibly and asked if he could have the drawing. "Of course," I said. We then took a picture together and sent it to his grandfather, my dad.

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What others think about my writing

"This is absolutely beautiful. I'm lucky to have met you and so many of the other friends you mentioned! 💙"

Alex Criddle

Philosopher & Writer

"Lovely, Jibran. 💜 I hope you are not wrong about me."

Eyal Shay

Host of Deep Dive Podcast

"Just read that and it's beautiful. So glad to have crossed paths with you."


Writer & Visual storyteller