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6 More Daddying Field Notes From Grandparentdom

Another installment in our series of occasional reflections from a loving land


By Allan Shedlin

Grampsy and Founder, DADvocacy Consulting Group


From December 2012:



If there is a greater joy than three grandchildren racing each other to the curb outside their house to be the first to gleefully greet “Grampsy” upon my arrival for a visit, I do not know it! If they do not fully yet understand that my joy at seeing them is as powerful as theirs at seeing me, I’m confident that they feel it at a fundamental, visceral level.


My arms seem to magically expand to swoop all three up in an exuberant and giggling embrace that makes this moment the most important ever…until the next time!

I’m at a different place in my ongoing development as an adult – not engaged in the daily, unrelenting, intense demands of parenting – and thus able to be more fully present, in the moment, with grandkids.

The other day, while toasting my oldest granddaughter as she became a teenager, I told her that she put the grand in grand-parenting – the loving look we exchanged in that instant was the kind that resonates through the years.


Grandparenting love is like a parenting love “twofer.” It's a new dimension of parenting love. For me, it magnifies the lifelong and undiminished love I feel for my three daughters. The following field notes are some of the elements that magnify it:

  1. My awareness that the depth of love my children feel for their children enables them to appreciate the depth of love I felt and feel for them.

  2. I’m at a different place in my ongoing development as an adult – not engaged in the daily, unrelenting, intense demands of parenting – and thus able to be more fully present, in the moment, with grandkids.

  3. I’m relieved of the self-imposed burden of thinking that my young children’s behavior is a direct reflection of my parenting skills.

  4. I can quietly exalt when I note that one of my loving parenting “techniques” is being employed by a new generation.

  5. I’m more quickly able to get to the grandparenting zenith: feeling nourished by the nurturing I provide. Because it took me a while to figure that out and savor it as a parent, it’s much more consciously present and appreciated.

  6. The intensity of my grandparental love is a constant reminder of our heart’s capacity to expand infinitely, boundlessly – that provides a hopefulness when less attractive human qualities are constantly trumpeted and more popularly noted.



Join us again later this summer for even more Field Notes from Grandparentdom.


Allan Shedlin has devoted his life’s work to improving the odds for children and families. He has three daughters, a “bonus” son, five grandchildren, and three “bonus” grandchildren. Trained as an educator, Allan has alternated between classroom service, policy development, and advising. After eight years as an elementary school principal, Allan founded and headed the National Elementary School Center for 10 years. In the 1980s, he began writing about education and parenting for major news outlets and education trade publications, as well as appearing on radio and TV. In 2008, he was honored as a "Living Treasure" by Mothering Magazine and founded REEL Fathers in Santa Fe, NM, where he now serves as president emeritus. In 2017, he founded the DADvocacy Consulting Group. In 2018, he launched the DADDY Wishes Fund and Daddy Appleseed Fund. In 2019 he co-created and began co-facilitating the Armor Down/Daddy Up! and Mommy Up! programs. He earned his elementary and high school diplomas from NYC’s Ethical Culture Schools, BA at Colgate University, MA at Columbia University’s Teachers College, and an ABD at Fordham University. But he considers his D-A-D the most important “degree” of all.