Tom Watson's Blog

National Adoption Day

Tom Watson - Saturday, November 19, 2011

Today, November 19, is National Adoption Day. This awareness-raising day-long initiative began in 2000 throughout the U.S., Guam and Puerto Rico. It has been responsible for the adoption of more than 35,000 children, finding forever homes for children in the foster care system.

According to the website:

National Adoption Day is a collective national effort to raise awareness of the 114,000 children in foster care waiting to find permanent, loving families. For the last 11 years, National Adoption Day has made the dreams of thousands of children come true by working with courts, judges, attorneys, adoption professionals, child welfare agencies and advocates to finalize adoptions and find permanent, loving homes for children in foster care.
The goals of National Adoption Day are:
  • Finalize adoptions from foster care in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico
  • Celebrate and honor all families who adopt
  • Raise awareness about more the 107,000 children in foster care waiting for adoption
  • Encourage others to adopt children from foster care
  • Build collaboration among local adoption agencies, courts and advocacy organizations
  • Communicate availability and need for post-adoptive services

You can find out more about National Adoption Day here.

For anyone who has read my book Man Shoes, you know that I was adopted by a wonderful family out of the foster care system, after living through 13 foster homes and years of abuse. As you can imagine, I think this initiative is wonderful!

Life & Stuff - Links From Around The Web - Week of 11/14

Tom Watson - Friday, November 18, 2011

Each week I will highlight some inspiring, encouraging and/or humorous blog posts that I stumbled across and enjoyed. I hope you’ll find them enjoyable as well. Happy Reading! 

  • Craig at Daddy By Default shares some fantastic tips for traveling with children. Whether you're a seasoned pro at this activity or a novice, he's got some great advice!
  • I won't spoil it for you, so just trust me when I say you really must go read A letter from a runaway son to his anxious dad over at Chronicles of a Reluctant Housedad.
  • It's true that we need to watch our words when little ears are present. The post Controlling the Sailor from A Family of my Own reminds us exactly why this is so important.

So, what have you been reading or writing this week? Leave your favorite links in the comments so that I can check them out!

Spouse First, Children Second

Tom Watson - Friday, November 11, 2011

When we are in the throws of parenthood - spending long days cleaning messes, wiping bottoms and hugging squirming toddlers - it can be easy to lose touch with our spouse. After all, these little people in our care can be quite demanding. Even as they grow and become more independent, our children still require much of our time and attention. Now add in the rest of life’s realities, such as work, chores and familial obligations, and who has time to even think about our spouse, much less make him or her a priority?

But honestly, you must! There is no earthly relationship more important than the one with your spouse. This may seem counter-intuitive for parents since our children NEED us much more literally than our spouses. Yet when we make the effort to make relationship with our spouse the top priority, the whole family benefits.

Here are just a few of the many ways you and your family benefit from spouses putting each other first:

  1. Provide safety and stability. When mom and dad show love and affection for each other, their children notice. They feel secure that they are part of a loving home. Also, a marriage where each partner focuses on the other with respect is much more likely to provide a stable, long-lasting family home.

  2. Lead by example. There is no greater way to show children how to love, respect and show compassion than by modeling those behaviors on a regular basis. Seeing as how watching mom and dad interact is their first true look at the dynamics of a relationship, children will learn to treat others the same way their parents treat one another.

  3. Help your children to understand their place in the world. Children are not the center of the universe and the sooner they learn this, the easier their lives will be. When mom and dad make time for each other and display the importance of that time, their kids will quickly realize that they are not guaranteed 100% attention 100% of the time, and that that is okay!

  4. When mom and dad are happy, everyone else is happy. A home led by constantly arguing or unhappy parents is an unhappy home for all. When mom and dad make the decision to put each other above all else, including the children, their marriage thrives and the rest of the household falls in line.

  5. Create a lasting legacy. Children will grow up and likely get married themselves someday. They will learn what to do and what not to do based on the relationship they witnessed from their parents. A happy marriage, one where mom and dad always put each other first, is easy to emulate.

There is an old saying that says: “The greatest gift a father can give his children is to love their mother.” That simple truth goes both ways and it is absolutely worth the effort to remember and exhibit that every day.

Life & Stuff - Links From Around The Web - Week of 11/7

Tom Watson - Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Each week I will highlight some inspiring, encouraging and/or humorous blog posts that I stumbled across and enjoyed. I hope you’ll find them enjoyable as well. Happy Reading! 

So, what have you been reading or writing this week? Leave your favorite links in the comments so that I can check them out!

When It Comes To Family & Friends Share Time – Don't Just Spend Time (There's A Difference!)

Tom Watson - Tuesday, October 18, 2011
With a struggling economy, it’s seemingly impossible to get ahead.  Many of us spend most of our time juggling our career, family and personal lives.  It's a difficult balance at the best of times!  These days, if we're lucky enough to have a job most of us are spending more hours there than we were before.  Unfortunately, escalating numbers are without work these days and are spending a good chunk of their lives worrying and trying to find jobs.  As parents and heads of the household, it seems that our “To-Do Lists” are never-ending and its very difficult to meet the growing financial and time crunch issues we are facing. Many of us are stressed out and running on fumes and because of that something has to give!  Often – family time is what is being sacrificed and in many cases time spent with family is done in an agitated, distracted fashion.

Maybe now more than ever we need to rethink family time and realize that it is about sharing time – not spending time; and it’s important for us and our children to understand there is a difference.  The word “spend” often holds a negative connotation which I believe we should avoid linking with family time.  To often we hear people say "I have to go and spend time with my family" like it's a bad thing.  We need to realize that being with our loved ones is a blessing and we're not losing anything; in fact we're gaining invaluable support and stability by being with them.  I encourage you to share time with your family, because sharing indicates that both your family and you are getting something positive out of that time.  Your spouse and kids need to know that you aren’t paying attention to them out of obligation, but rather, because you need to be with them as much as
they need to be with you.  Sharing family time builds a better relationship between you, your spouse and your children.  Sharing laughs together, sharing challenges as they arise, and sharing everyday achievements, strengthens your bond with your loved ones and helps all family members keep what’s most important in perspective.

If you’re lucky enough to have a family, remind yourself and them daily of how fortunate you are.  Remember, family time is a blessing, not an obligation.  Make sure you schedule in -share time- with your family weekly if not daily – you'll all be better off because you did!

Living in the Moment

Tom Watson - Tuesday, October 11, 2011
I’m a big believer in intentionality - living our lives with intention.  Some people I’m sure would classify me as a “down the road planner”, but what most people don’t realize is that I really believe that “living each moment to it’s fullest” is the key to living successful lives.  We are surrounded daily by so many things to be thankful for – special people, breathtaking nature, and personal growth opportunities – that sometimes we take for granted our many blessings.

Living in the moment for me means becoming fully aware of our surroundings, whether big or small.  I encourage you to pause for a moment and recall the good things in your life and all that you have completed today.  Life’s simplest things, such as waking up and taking on a new day with the people you hold most dear, are reason enough to smile.

I believe each of us has been created to fulfill many purposes in our lives.  For me, I believe my main purpose is to be a loving and supportive husband to my wife and a positive influence for my boys. If I only accomplish one of the purposes I was created to fulfill – I want to make sure this key purpose is the one I succeed at.

Taking the time to reflect on my faith and being thankful for everything that comes my way helps me to see the best in all life’s situations.  I believe we as individuals are asked by our creator to take full advantage of each moment before it passes us by.  If we overlook common everyday successes, how are we able to be fully
thankful for our biggest successes as they come along?  I encourage you to live your life with intention.  See your life as an opportunity to impact the world in a positive way – and act on that today.

Increase Quality Family Time Through Unique Family Traditions

Tom Watson - Friday, September 30, 2011

On September 22, Diane Sawyer aired a segment that highlighted the benefits of regular sit-down family dinners.  The piece claimed that arranging family meals lead to both positive behavior and reduced risky behavior among teenagers.  Being a father, husband and son, I was truly inspired by Diane’s report and left pondering additional ways I can instill positive attributes in my sons’ lives.

I began thinking to myself that each of my children are different.  As a father, I need to make myself available to partake in each of their individual interests.  Family traditions, as goofy as they might be – in fact, I’ve found the goofier ones to be the ones that my family and I are most eager to continue - have always been huge in my family.  So I ask you, what interests do your children hold that you can use to construct a family tradition? 

Those of you who know me or have read Man Shoes, realize I have a creative approach to building unique traditions around special events.  When the boys were younger, we celebrated customs, such as bringing the Santa tradition to life by dressing as him and handing out family awards - better known as the Watson “You Are Special” plate - for individual achievements.   I realize that it's these types of customs or traditions that my family and I share with one another that keep us connected and interested as a group, as well as open to individual growth.

I think having a family really helps form traditions - but I also think traditions help form a family.  So enjoy forming your own traditions with your family.  Most of all, remember to have fun with it.  In twenty years, your kids will keep coming home to share in those traditions and you'll realize how important those little traditions were to raising those children into fine young people I'm sure.

Tom Watson's Interviews

Tom Watson - Monday, June 13, 2011

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Tom Watson - Monday, June 06, 2011
Hi, I'm Tom Watson and welcome to the new Man Shoes blog.

Stay tuned for up to date, relevant information about my book and other exciting events relating to my recent book Man Shoes.