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  • Writer's pictureAllan Shedlin

Why Not Ask Consumers Of Daddying for Their Heartfelt "Reviews?"

Updated: Feb 14, 2022

Announcing the Inaugural KIDS FIRST! Daddying Film Festival Call for Entries

By Allan Shedlin

Grampsy and Founder, DADvocacy Consulting Group

This June 19th will be the third pandemic Father’s Day.

For many of us, the pandemic has provided a time to reflect, process; and, sometimes, to discover what’s really most important. And with so much beyond our control, we may have come to better appreciate what is within our control.

Perhaps, with so many of us spending so much more time with our immediate family, we have come to appreciate and value the importance of our closest relationships.

Among those relationships, parenting floats – or forces its way – to the top.

Our relationship with our father – in its presence or its absence – is one of the most important relationships in our lives. It is foundational in our youth and can echo through generations.

Getting support I need from my daughters.

Daddying” is the process that occurs when fatherhood and nurturing converge in service to one’s child. A daddying role can be played by significant people in a person’s life, including a granddad, uncle, older sibling, coach, or teacher.

One day, when I was searching for a different way to help a group of dads become the dads they want to be, I suggested they think of daddying as a product. And invited them to consult with the consumers of that product in order to improve theirs.

And of course, their kids are the consumers. Taking that concept to a broader audience was a no-brainer.

Because kids are most directly impacted by a dad’s involvement – or his absence – we wanted to provide students, including college students, with a creative opportunity to express their daddying perspectives: how they feel about the relationship they have or wish they had with their dads and/or father figures. As in my own decades of research and interviews with kids of all ages, we want to know what qualities are most important to them and provide them a bigger platform to express how they feel about the relationship they have or wish they had with their dads or other father figures.

Recently, when former President Barack Obama eulogized Sidney Poitier, he said that the acting great "reveal[ed] the power of movies to bring us closer together." This truth is one of the primary reasons that led DADvocacy Consulting Group's Daddy Appleseed Fund to create the inaugural KIDS FIRST! Daddying Film Festival (KFDFF) in collaboration with KIDS FIRST!, architect of the world’s largest film festivals for kids.

This week, DCG and KIDS FIRST! announced the official call for entries for the KFDFF, which will take place this June 13-20, the week leading up to and through Father’s Day weekend. KFDFF Awards will be presented to one winner in each of four grade-level categories (1st through 4th grades, 5th through 8th, 9th through 12th, and college undergraduates) at a virtual event on Father's Day.

Atticus, Scout, and Jem Finch
Gregory Peck as the iconic Atticus Finch.

Winners in each category will receive an “Atticus,” which symbolizes Atticus Finch from Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Finch, an iconic single dad, represents several ideal daddying qualities. Specifically, he is attuned to his children’s feelings and ideas and takes the children as seriously as they take themselves. To many, his character symbolizes morality and justice. The fact that the story is narrated by his young daughter, Scout, adds to the importance of the symbolism of the Award.

The KFDFF encourages students, 1st grade through college undergraduates, to express themselves and their relationships with their dads or father figures by creating and submitting 1- to 5-minute short films or videos to the Festival for FREE with the theme “A Letter to My Father/Father Figure.” Starting next Monday, Valentine's Day, students can begin submitting their short films/videos for KFDFF consideration on the FilmFreeway site:

In the meantime, you and your kids/grandkids/"bonus kids" can go to FilmFreeway's KFDFF page HERE for more Festival details. In addition to spreading the word about the Festival, DCG and KIDS FIRST! continue to recruit additional corporate, industry, and nonprofit sponsors, as well as VIP judges and Award presenters from the entertainment, sports, news, and political worlds.

Keep watching this space for future KFDFF news (entry deadlines, VIP judge/presenter confirmations, naming of finalists, etc), keep sharing our updates, and keep daddying/mommying on!


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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