Last year, I decided to set the month of June aside to spotlight amazing men. This month, I’m excited to introduce to some and re-introduce to others our June Daddy of the Month, Anthony D. Sparks.
Tell me about yourself.
Anthony D. Sparks, 33. I grew up in Birmingham; I have a four-year old son named Aidan, and we’re expecting our new addition, Ashton, to be here in July. From 2010 to 2016, I served as executive director of the YMCA Youth Development Center; I left that post in September 2016 to take the role of Jefferson County site coordinator for The Dannon Project’s Re-Entry Demonstration Program. In addition to that, I’m also an author, speaker, and development coach under my own LLC (Anthony D. Sparks, LLC).
What do you want your children to learn from your life?
From my life, I want my children to learn to have an amazing relationship with Christ. I want them to know that nothing can ever separate them from His love and that a relationship with Him is the best thing they can have–and pass on. I also want them to learn that being yourself is enough; if you have to completely change who you are to get attention or a job or recognition, then it’s not worth it. Being content with who you were created to be—and following your path—is one of the most freeing feelings in the world, and I want them to know that feeling and keep it for their entire lives.
What are the best and worst things about living in Birmingham?
Best thing about living in Birmingham is that the majority of my family is right here. I love the fact that my sons will grow up with their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins literally 10 miles away. That kind of presence and support can’t be understated. Aside from family, the food scene in Birmingham is definitely one of the city’s best features (anybody that knows me, knows I love good food)! Worst thing about living in Birmingham is lack of consistent entertainment. Don’t get me wrong, we get great shows and sporting events from time to time, but most times to see the biggest acts consistently, you have to drive to Nashville, Memphis, or Atlanta.
If you could change one thing about Birmingham, what would it be and why?
If I could change one thing about Birmingham, I’d get handguns off the street. I know it may sound cliche, but that doesn’t make it invalid. So many have resorted to violence to settle disagreements and it’s taking away too many people, especially our youth, prematurely. We don’t know how to disagree without being disagreeable anymore and it’s sad. Every time gun violence rears its head, at least two lives are lost–the victim that’s been shot and the shooter. Each time a bullet meets a body, we lose somebody who could be an answer to a problem, and I’m tired of it.
What is your proudest dad moment?
My proudest moment as a dad is so hard to drill down because I have one every day! I hate to take the easy way out in answering this question, but I’m just proud of the fact that my son wants to be like his daddy. Literally, whether it’s something silly or serious, I notice my son trying to emulate what I do; that’s a source of great pride for me, but it’s also a source of immense pressure! It keeps me on my toes because I know at the end of the day, my example will mean more than my advice; so I’m just proud every day that my son sees me as somebody he wants to be like.
What is your proudest husband moment?
My proudest husband moment is another that’s tough to pinpoint because over the course of 7 years of marriage, we’ve had soooooo many amazing times. But, if I had to select only one—and it’s literally the first one that comes to mind—I’d have to say when my wife was named Teacher of the Year for her school. To be universally beloved by students, parents, co-workers, and administration is an absolute blessing–and no easy feat. She puts her heart into what she does and for her efforts to be validated in that way, I was just ecstatic for her.
What advice do you have for men juggling pursuing their dreams with taking care of their families?
The advice I’d give to men who are juggling chasing their dreams with the demands of taking care of their families is this: balance. Don’t get so caught up trying to make all this money for your family that you end up withholding the thing they want most from you–your presence. There’s a time to work, but also a time to relax; I think we as men get it twisted and we feel like if we’re not constantly grinding, on-the-go, giving 110% all day, then we’re not being productive. I think that’s killing us; we have to get more focused on making a life instead of making a living, and the best way to do that is to balance—work when it’s time to work, but always make time for play (spending time with family, relaxing, enjoying the fruits of your labor, etc.).
What’s next for Anthony Sparks?
What’s next for Anthony Sparks? Well, I’m praying—and working—to make my dream reality. I really feel that my purpose is to help others live a life OF purpose, ON purpose, and the vehicle God has given me to do that is by being an author, speaker, and life coach. I absolutely love speaking to audiences, coaching people to live better lives, helping couples improve their relationship, and writing books that impact individuals all around the world! To say this is my passion is an understatement! So, I look forward to Anthony D. Sparks, LLC taking off and being not only a fulfillment of a dream, but also the way I support my family. When God wants that to happen, it’ll happen.
Is there anything you would like to add?
I just want everyone out there to keep looking up. I know things might seem bad and life can be unfair, but if you’re still here, there’s still a purpose for you and people still need what you have to give. So don’t just sit on the sidelines wasting away…get out there and live!