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  • Writer's pictureAllan Shedlin

To Ease the Suffering of Ukrainian Refugees (and Our Own Guilt)

Poetry by Allan Shedlin

Grampsy and Founder, DADvocacy Consulting Group

Ukrainian man walking past homes destroyed by Russian military
PHOTO Credit: BBC News

AUTHOR'S NOTE: I wrote the following piece earlier this week as I tried in vain to fall asleep. My mind and heart ached with helpless thoughts of families and a country being terrorized and torn apart by a dictator thousands of miles away. These words I've written came unbidden before sleep could overtake. May they inspire you to some humanitarian action, big or small, to help ease the suffering of Ukrainian fathers, mothers, and children. But for the current misfortune of their geography, they are us. If you have the means, below the poem I've listed a few relief organizations worth considering for your donations.

Mommy and Daddy on.

It's Not Rational I Know

It’s not rational I know To feel guilty while turning up the thermostat a degree Because I felt a chill in my cozy bedroom With the clean sheets, The running water in my shower, And the lamp I could turn on so I could read Before nodding off in the quiet of my neighborhood

No bombs dropping while air raid sirens wailed While children whimpered clutching teddy bears And traumatized strangers huddled together underground

wondering How this brutal, unprovoked assault could be happening It’s not rational I know To somehow feel guilty About turning up the thermostat for my comfort During a time when across the ocean a Madman without a conscience holds the world hostage As his young soldiers following orders pummel and mercilessly maim

the innocent Likely never having heard the admonition “Never again” And yet Again.

- Allan Shedlin

Ukrainian mother and son stand in front of apartment destroyed by Russian military
PHOTO credit: Alex Lourie of Redux for Politico

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:


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 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.


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