A Long Year of Reflection and Daddy Blogging
By Allan Shedlin
Grampsy and Founder, DADvocacy Consulting Group
Just as daddying doesn’t take place in a vacuum, but within multiple contexts and social systems, so it has been with our Daddying blog as it recently celebrated its first anniversary. This week, we take a few moments to acknowledge and rest in the collected bits of wisdom and personal expression our writers offered up this past year. Many, no doubt, were realized, developed, and crystallized by their authors in the very process of writing them down.
It should be noted that all who have submitted a guest post have come willingly and with great exuberance. And all our writers have indicated an appreciation for the opportunity to reflect/think about their experiences with their fathers – or as fathers/mothers – and that the use of the term daddying sometimes released a tenderness that occasionally surprised them. These two things echo what I've learned during my decades-long research while interviewing 192 dads, granddads, and their kids.
Our first post appeared on February 19, 2020, just before the covidious shit hit the fan. The word “unprecedented” to describe all that has taken place in the interim has become basically redundant. So much in the world as we knew it has been scrambled. Things that seemed essential and of great importance, have become less so. And workers that were once deemed “non-essential” have proven themselves critical in this "new abnormal."
Many of us have reevaluated what is truly important to us. Some adjustments we have been forced to make; others, we’ve made because we learned we wanted to. We often found that it is the little things that have nourished us.
During this historic time, many of us have come face-to-face with how little control we have over many of the outside forces that impact – perhaps even control – our lives. Likewise, we’ve realized that what we do have control over is what’s most important after all. And so much of that is family and friendships.
We’ve realized that we are the “essential workers” in what we hold dearest: our children.
Many of us have moved from body counts to heart counts. Many of us may have discovered we have a malnourished spirit, a dehydrated soul. And suddenly – as if struck by a lightning bolt – we’ve realized that we are the “essential workers” tending to what we hold dearest: our children.
As we look over the 55 blogs we’ve shared this past year, written by men and women of diverse backgrounds, in a variety of styles and from different perspectives, what stands out is that the impact of daddying echoes through generations and that dads, granddads, and father figures are important in their presence and in their absence.
Now that we've entered our second year of daddy blogging, our optimism is strengthening and the number of people vaccinated ever-growing, let’s not keep the parents we most want to be waiting.
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.