Allan Shedlin, M.A. is the founder and former president of Reel Fathers. Shedlin combined his experience as an educator, freelance writer, parenting coach, and national educational consultant in creating the parenting organization. Shedlin coined the term “daddying” in 1994 to describe the convergence of fatherhood and nurturing. Fathering, he says, is a one-time biological act requiring no commitment whatsoever, while daddying is a lifelong process. Shedlin wants to use the power of cinema to deepen the connection between fathers and their kids.
Reel Fathers, founded in 2008, inspires men to love, nurture and care for their children and to be skillful co-parents. They collaborate with community organizations in Santa Fe and northern New Mexico. Reel Fathers provides innovative programs that tap the appeal of popular culture by using ‘story’ told through film and poetry as a focal point. The facilitators uses film story themes as a springboard to impart skills that improve communication, build closer relationships, and strengthen families.
In this interview, Allan revisits traditional masculine roles and stereotypes.He demystifies parenting asking what it takes to become the "dad you want to be." When men act in a nurturing way, it is not a feminine quality. Shedlin emphasizes the importance of presence between fathers and their children. He says that, when asked about their own fathering, many men say "there is a hole in my heart the shape of my father."
Allan Shedlin is an educational reformer and was founding Executive Director of the National Elementary School Center. A former school principal of Ethical Culture School in New York, he is the father of three adult "children" and three young grandchildren.
Allan explores the role of fathers for his book Lifelong DADDYING: Practical Guidance for Being the Parent You Want to Be. Allan says that the term "Fathering" is a one-time act, but "Daddying" is a lifetime journey.