After Tom Watson suffered a
stroke seven years ago, he began to question what memories he would
leave his three sons. He didn’t want Father’s Day to become for them
what it had been for him: just another day without a real dad. He
wondered if they even knew his history of being physically and
emotionally abused while being shuffled through 13 foster homes by age
5. So Watson resigned to quietly detail his story in a journal and some
day give it to his sons.
Little did he know his riveting secret
diary would hold lessons not only for his sons, but also for fathers and
sons everywhere since the journal became a published book called Man Shoes.
“If I died tomorrow, I know I’ve left a
testimony and a witness to my boys about life,” he says. “I know that
my sons have my life stories and my journey; they know they are loved.”
Watson has a master’s degree and
started two successful businesses, but life has been an uphill battle.
Due to his tumultuous upbringing, he says, he was a “little monster.”
He’d bite, kick and steal, eating food straight out of packages at grocery stores.
Watson seemingly had little hope until
he arrived at his 13th foster home, where he stayed with a retired
pastor and a schoolteacher. Though nearing retirement, the couple
adopted him and introduced him to his heavenly Father. He says they
looked past his reckless actions and loved him into obedience. He says
they also taught him a lifelong principle: “Choice plus my action equals
Through Man Shoes, Watson hopes
his sons will do more than aim to fill his shoes; he wants them to
understand one of life’s major lessons: “Life will throw things at you,
good and bad. But Jesus Christ is there for you every day.”