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  • Writer's pictureAllan Shedlin

Please Remember the Embattled Families of Ukraine

By Allan Shedlin

Grampsy and Founder, DADvocacy Consulting Group

A father presses hands against a window as his 5-year-old daughter evacuates Kyiv in early March 2022. CREDIT: AP

The holidays that accompany the end of a calendar year always tend to be a season of what I'll call "pensivity" (yep, my newest made-up word) for me – and for many others, I’m sure. Why else do we have all these end-of-year lists?

As I think about the 51 previous Daddying blog posts we offered in 2022, I am struck by how many were in response to the needless pain human beings inflicted on other fellow humans, especially our children. Sure, we had many blogs that spoke of the joys of daddying, but it’s the ones that have dealt with man's inhumanity that continue to haunt my sleep – those manmade tragedies that bring far too many nightmares in the daytime.

The Daddying post that comes back to me most often was written more than eight months ago and titled "Another "Paneful" Plea For Relief for The Families Of Ukraine" (4/21/22). The fact that the horrors it described have only become more tragic in the time since the post was published makes it even more tragic. But the resilience of the Ukrainian people offers a hopefulness that, for me, outweighs the inhumanity. Their humanity – and all the “upstanders” throughout the world who offer aid and support – is the perspective I carry into 2023.

May we all be more mindful of and kinder to one another in the New Year. Be well, hug your child(ren) and/or grandchild(ren), and daddy on!

If you find the images of destruction and family suffering in Ukraine as disturbing as we do, we hope you will be moved to take action through one of the humanitarian organizations listed below or one of your own choosing:


thru TOMORROW 12/31/22


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 Daddying Film Festival & Forum 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.


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