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  • Writer's pictureAllan Shedlin

Our World Opens Up When We Let Our Kids Lead the Way

Guest Post by Anthony Fleg, MD

DCG DADvisory Team Member

“To be thankful for our health.”

These words from my daughter, days into the pandemic, set me on a journey. She was responding to my question, “What do you think the pandemic is here to teach us?”

It inspired me to write.

It challenged me to see beyond fear and sickness.

As dads, we know well that our children have special buttons that they and only they can push to inspire and challenge us.

As we have now turned the corner on two years since the pandemic began, the Writing to Heal project continues to breathe life into my world. The blog has 80 short pieces meant to inspire and challenge others, with a book coming out this month from the 2020 "Writing to Heal" pieces.

Not surprisingly, many of the writings over this two-year journey stem from me listening to and learning from my children. I will share a vignette here from a piece from November 2020:

Catching a glimpse of the children shuttling clean bowls to empty cabinets, I snuck with fatherly deftness around the kitchen’s perimeters.

Channeling my inner James Bond, looking over my shoulders for any sign of “bad guys,” I crouched low.

Ouch. A bit too low.

Should have stretched out before trying that.

Here is what I saw:

When life gives you imposing challenges today and in these next weeks, become the child you still are. Throw away ego and figure out who it is around you who can help you reach the cabinets.

As COVID roars, the cabinets seem higher than normal, the kitchen is lonely, and the bowls are staring at you. In those moments, become a little one again. Reach out, reach up for the support you need. Think about friends, family, neighbors who might be reaching for the cabinet, and offer a hand before they ask.

Fellow DADvocates, I hope that your journey this spring is one of healing. I say this as a physician, but also as a dad. I know that our children will provide each of us with more than enough inspiration this spring. They will challenge us in new ways, toward being better dads and dad figures, toward being better to ourselves and to those around us. All of it beautiful, healing energy in our lives.

We simply have to be present and for once, let our little ones lead the way.


Anthony Fleg, MD, is a proud daddy of four, husband, son, and brother. Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, he has called New Mexico home since 2008. He is a family physician and educator at the University of New Mexico's Department of Family and Community Medicine and College of Population Health. He's also a Coordinator/Co-Founder of the love-funded partnership, Native Health Initiative(NHI), and its Running Medicine program, both of which DCG's Daddy Appleseed Fund is a proud supporter. Follow Anthony’s Writing to Heal blog here. His book, Writing to Heal: A Pandemic Journey to Healing is available through Community Publishing.


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