A Grandfather's Grand Current Of Love
Updated: Dec 7, 2022
By Allan Shedlin
Grampsy and Founder, DADvocacy Consulting Group
A quarter century ago your arrival, as my first grandchild, made me a generation older and
released a depth of feelings that had been previously inadvertently primed by the birth of your mom’s generation. Until your arrival I thought of my life as divided into two phases: BD (before daddying) and AD (after daddying).
As my first grandchild, you heralded a new generation of feelings, one that moved my heart to new depths. Your birth added a third phase, AG (after grandchildren). Your birth enabled my heart to find its core, to release feelings unlike any others. I still struggle to find words to do justice to describe the intense new palette of feelings that are sometimes confusing and disorienting in their intensity. It has been like my heart found a new, unimagined dimension.
My mind wants to understand this new heart turf. The birth of my daughters a generation prior, gave my heart permission to pierce a protective shell created over a lifetime in which feelings were held at some distance and societal norms inculcated a sense that such feelings were somehow "unmanly."
The shell was like a dam that keeps one’s deepest feelings from fully flowing. But although a dam may be viewed as a barrier, it can also create a reservoir. So you, dear firstborn grandchild in your third decade (and me in my ninth), have released my need to truly “understand” the feelings and, instead, permit me to savor them.
With the dam breached, the reservoir of love is released in a way that flows over my four
subsequent grandchildren – your sister and cousins – and somehow seems to flow over various others who have come into my life. It’s almost as if a current has been created which carries along so many others, including those who have been timid to enter these waters of the heart.
As the holidays approach, it is my heartfelt hope that others may find a loving flow to soften
the edges of a world that is just too hard for way too many.
Allan Shedlin has devoted his life’s work to improving the odds for children and families. He has three daughters, and five grandchildren, as well as numerous "bonus" sons/daughters and grandchildren. Trained as an educator, Allan has alternated between classroom service, school leadership, parenting coaching, policy development, and advising at the local, state, and national levels. 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 has conducted daddying workshops in such diverse settings as Native American pueblos, veterans groups, nursery schools, penitentiaries, Head Start centers, corporate boardrooms, and various elementary schools, signifying the widespread interest in men in becoming the best possible dad. In 2022, Allan founded and co-directed the inaugural Daddying Film Festival to enable students, dads, and other indie filmmakers to use film as a vehicle to communicate the importance of fathers or father figures in each others' lives. Allan 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 and GRAND D-A-D the most important “degrees” of all.