Growing up in Greenville, South Carolina, former NFL Running Back George D. Jones had a rough childhood; one that was filled with poverty, abuse, angst, and homelessness, and was missing the one aspect of his life that he yearned for; a father.
Not only did Jones never meet his dad, he never knew anyone from his paternal side of the family and as a young boy he and his mom lived in poverty, with his mother frequently unable to pay the electric bill.
Stand-up comic, sketch writer, producer, and author Allan Sidley was also deeply impacted by the lack of a father after his dad, Joe, passed away when he was only nine-month-old. He did have an extremely caring, supportive mother and sought guidance from football and baseball coaches, as well as male family members.
Fast forward to today — Jones, of Austin, Texas, is the nurturing father of three sons, George Jr. 16., Max, (who has Down Syndrome and autism), 14, and Cooper, 11; and Sidley is the doting ‘girl dad’ of a six-month-old daughter, Sunny.
Children definitely look to their parents for advice and counsel to help them on their paths. One of them is Jason Tartick, a Wall Street Journal bestselling author, the host of Apple’s top charting business podcast, Trading Secrets, an entrepreneur involved in five companies, an influencer, and a motivational speaker. He is also known for his appearances on the two ABC reality series, The Bachelor and The Bachelorette.
When Tartick is not working on one of his many successful endeavors, he enjoys a competitive round of golf with his father, who provided him with a solid upbringing in Buffalo, New York; one that still resonates for him today.
He is also the author of the bestselling business book, The Restart Roadmap: Rewire and Reset Your Career. The eye-opening book was published in April 2022.
Each of these formidable men was shaped by the father figures they longed for, or in Tartick’s case, by his father’s support, and are eager to pass on their life lessons for Father’s Day 2023.
Why George D. Jones is ‘The Present Dad’
Moving to the projects at age 11, life became even more perilous when Jones was exposed to street fights, drugs, street crime, and more.
That was until in what sounds like the inspiring 2009 Academy Award-winning movie The Blind Side, Jones met a boy who also loved playing football and the boy’s dad, Monnie Broome, and the boy’s mom, Jackie, took him under their wing and transformed his life in a myriad of ways. All of this led to Jones attending college and going on to play professional football.
And not only is he a hands-on stay-at-home father, but he is also the epitome of The Present Dad, and happily celebrates his wife of 18 years, Katie, who he calls “his rock” for supporting all of his endeavors, including staying home with their three boys and providing them with a positive paternal role model.
In fact, he is so committed to making sure that boys everywhere have a father, or father figure, as a positive role model in their lives that he established the non-profit foundation, ThePresentDad.com/foundation to spread his important message based on his many life lessons of parenting.
He also wrote The Present Dad, a book released on Father’s Day 2022, to help others with his inspiring life story of poverty and homelessness to a successful NFL career, a rich family life, and making motivational speeches to high school and college students and other distinguished audiences.
Jones was also recently honored with two fatherhood awards at the International Fatherhood Conference held at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
His message focuses on the importance of fathers, father figures, and positive male role models is vital for both boys and girls to stem the tide of dire social and emotional problems.
“From my standpoint, a Present Dad is somebody not just there in the physical sense,” explained Jones. “But he is also there for the emotional, spiritual, and mental aspects; every part of the child’s life. Just being home is not enough if you have no idea what your child is doing in school or in sports. You must be present for everything the child is taking on and guide them in the best way possible.”
What is his wish for all fathers this year? “As my boys get older, I am recognizing how precious time is. My wish for all fathers is to slow down and truly enjoy the time they have with their children. Spend as much time as you possibly can with your kids,” Jones explained. “Treasure each moment and create positive memories. Time is against us as parents. I never knew my dad and it left a void in me. I don’t want that for any child.
When it comes to life lessons Jones does not believe in regrets. “No matter what happens in life, don’t ever let anything get you down. People ask me even with the flaws in my life, do I have regrets? I do not. I would not change anything. If I changed anything I would not be the father that I am,” he said.
“I use my mistakes as points of reflection and hopefully, life lessons for others. I try to stay positive and engaged. I try to be present as much as humanly possible, at all times,” said Jones. “Sure, I am going to make mistakes. I am not flawless. None of us are flawless. I am always going to try to be the best father to the boys. One of the best things I can teach your boys is to own your mistakes. “
Heading to the Links with Jason Tartick and his father
To celebrate Father’s Day 2023, Tartick will be at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro, N.C. with his father.
“My dad and I have an ongoing competition of who is going to win the belt, and the winner can walk around the house with pride saying he won the championship. I love that golf is a family event, a social event, and it’s really just about having good times with the people who mean the most to me.”
When it comes to receiving advice from his father that he took to heart, Tartick said that “One of the big things my dad’s always taught me is to expect the unexpected and poor prior planning will catch up.”
He added that those lessons helped him in the corporate world when he was working as a banker as well as his turn in the reality TV world and beyond.
“So, it’s all about the idea of just being proactive as opposed to being reactive and preparing for all situations,” said Tartick. “Then through those situations, finding resilience, it’s just so important in all areas, professional world, personal world, and financial world.”
New ‘Girl Dad’ Allan Sidley on the Sweet and Funny Side of Parenthood
When comedian and author Allan Sidley does a gig about Daddy Issues, the new father of a beautiful baby girl has quite a bit of material to add to his fodder.
Looking forward to his upcoming headlining set at the Church of Satire in Hanover, PA., a lot has happened since Sidley’s last show. His six-month-old daughter Sunny’s arrival has upended his life in countless ways.
“I had a baby; I lost some people close to me. Life feels very different. New problems with a fresh perspective are what makes comedy great.”
Sidley, a man whose father passed away when he was nine months old, is exploring the father-child relationship from his own perspective.
“The dad jokes are flowing through me at a rate that I can’t keep up with. I’m ‘softer’ than I’ve ever been,” admits Sidley. “I’ve been slowing down so I can enjoy the little moments with my daughter. They are so precious. Exciting new things are happening all of the time.”
Sidley’s humor is dry, and a little wet from perspiration, usually. His highly relatable material includes jokes and one-liners that are “edgy, provocative, corny, genius, and stupid.” He loves sprinkling in top-notch wordplay much to his audience’s delight and dismay.
Sidley is celebrating a post-Covid return to live entertainment and laughter with his comedy gigs around the nation, including his own stand-up in Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia, Richmond, Baltimore, and Hanover, with Philadelphia on the horizon.
Overcoming stage fright and writer’s block, Sidley, an expert punster, is a true inspiration to all of us who have had difficulties in our bumpy life journeys.
So, what advice does he have for his daughter when she is older based on his own journey? “I want her to feel like she can do any job/hobby/passion she wants, live by her own rules, make mistakes, but also not be afraid to stand up for herself. Anything she needs to hear so she can be smarter and more successful than me,” he joked, “and support me in my old age!”
Since his father passed away so young, Father’s Day was his least favorite day of the year for 31 years. “I started turning it around by performing comedy on Father’s Day weekend, which was a blast. I’m still in a bit of disbelief about being a dad, but my daughter looks a lot like me… This year I’m excited to be “off from work” and spend a nice afternoon with my wife and daughter, and my wife can’t say no to the board games that she hates to play! “
His wish for fathers everywhere is “That nobody gets a tie for Father’s Day! Or that their jokes at the dinner table get laughs. But seriously, I think having a ‘good’ Dad can make such a positive impact on people. So just hoping they can spend time with their children, and love and support them.”
For Father’s Day 2023, Sidley celebrates the father that he never knew, (and invites us to celebrate our own fathers or father figures), and shares his irrepressible voice with all of us who need to laugh.
Today, at 33, Sidley, a native of Vienna, Virginia, is a stand-up comic, sketch comedy writer, podcaster, motivational speaker, business consultant, and the author of Daddy Issues: A Fatherless Comedian’s Original Jokes Paperback. (Released April 2021).
Sidley’s 186-page book of original jokes and puns came out just at the right time to help us find our funny bone. A second book is planned in the next year and Sidley plans to turn his Father’s Day show into a special, along with headlining some clubs in June and July and then going on tour.
Now that he is a dad, what would Sidley tell those basking in the glow of new fatherhood? “The early days are especially tough. One thing that has helped me is to bring out my competitive side and turn things into a game- like when putting my daughter down for her nap or bedtime, I make it my goal to outlast her and “win” bedtime. It’s unconventional, but that mentality has helped me a lot.”
As for practical advice, he says, “I will just repeat when my wife says, ‘Don’t ask how you can help; just do what’s needed.’ “