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  • Writer's pictureAllan Shedlin

Which Way Do You Go For Daddying?

Updated: Apr 19, 2023

Guest Post by Anthony Fleg, MD

D3F Circle of Friends and DCG DADvisory Team Member

Daddy and daughter return from their trip toward New Mexico's Sandia Mountains. PHOTO: Anthony Fleg

EDITOR'S NOTE: A version of the following post was first published on Anthony's Writing to Heal blog and titled "Directions," April 12, 2023. It has been reprinted here with his permission. The inaugural Daddying Film Forum will take place June 24 in Albuquerque, NM, in view of the Sandia Mountains, which, as you'll see, play a pivotal role in this piece. Running Medicine, which Anthony founded, is one of the kid/father/family-friendly organizations that has been invited to share info at the D3F Forum.

As an expert in the art of daddying, I decided it was time to teach my 5-year-old Sihasin about the cardinal directions. We were on our sweet, spray-painted daddy-daughter bike, and it went something like this:

Dad: Let’s talk about opposites. What's the opposite of down?

Sihasin: Up

Dad: And what’s the opposite of cold?

Sihasin: Hot

Dad: Okay, well when we face toward the mountains, we are going east. And when we face away from the mountains, we are going west. East and west are opposites. Got it?

Sihasin: Got it, dad.

Dad: So, when we bike this way, toward the mountains, which way are we going?

Sihasin: Straight.

Mic drop. (Or bike drop? Dad joke!)

As you can see, being a daddying "expert" does not mean my children will give me the answer I am looking for. Rather, an expert simply becomes less surprised when answers like "straight" are given.

Daddy knew to smile and resist the urge to correct. Instead, I spent a few moments quieting my inner voice that was saying "wrong answer" before it could rise to an audible response.

Today, life may give you a similarly surprising answer. An answer that at first seems completely wrong.

But maybe it is completely right.

Maybe it is a moment to find space and place to listen…

And then listen deeper to what the answer and the person giving the answer may be saying. It may be life sharing a gem that you need.

And when you walk/run/bike/dance toward the beautiful Sandia mountains today, remember Sihasin's teaching: You are heading straight.

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don't forget to Submit your films/videos to

Submit films or videos for D3F consideration by MAY 1st! Click the link below to visit our FilmFreeway site for more information and to upload your visual "love letters" to being or having an involved dad!


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.

1 Comment

Deborah E Boldt
Deborah E Boldt
Apr 21, 2023

Hey Anthony -- love this post! Sihasin's response reminds me of the editor for my film MIles to Go, which captures the turmoil of 8 women, 27 to 72, on a first-time wilderness adventure who get terribly lost in the Smoky Mountains. When asked about her own sense of direction, our New York editor replied -- It's great! North is always straight ahead."

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