Devotionals by Dr. James Dobson

IMPRINTING

“Teach them to your children…so that your days and the days of your children may be many.”  >Deuteronomy 11:19–21

We recommended last night that you give extra attention to the spiritual training of your children at age five, when they are most open to your teaching. This idea may concern you. You might prefer that your child be allowed to decide for himself on matters of faith and God. We can respond to this concern with an illustration from nature. After a gosling hatches from his shell, he will become attached, or “imprinted,” to the first thing he sees moving near him—which is ordinarily mother goose. If mama goose is absent, however, any mobile substitute will do. In fact, a gosling will become imprinted easily to a blue football bladder dragged by on a string. A week later, he will fall in line behind the bladder as it scoots past. Time is the critical factor; the gosling is vulnerable to imprinting for only a few seconds after he hatches. If that opportunity is lost, it cannot be regained.

In a similar way, there is a brief period when children are most receptive to instruction about God and about right and wrong. When parents choose to withhold religious training from their small child, allowing him to “decide for himself,” they almost guarantee that he will “decide” in the negative. If you want your kids to enjoy a meaningful faith, you must give up any attempts at objectivity and instead “teach [these words of Mine] to your children” (Deuteronomy 11:19).

Before you say good night…

  • Are we holding back in the spiritual training of our kids? If so, why?
  • Can we harm our kids by withholding our instruction?

Dear God, thank You for the privilege of teaching our children about You. Let us make the most of the opportunities You give us, not allowing anything to come between our kids and an intimate relationship with You. Amen.

Listen to today's broadcast of Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk at OnePlace.com.  For more from Dr. Dobson, visit the resource center at drjamesdobson.org.

This devotional is taken from Night Light for Parents. Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reservedUsed with permission.

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About Family Talk

Packed with the same wisdom Dr. Dobson has provided audiences for more than 30 years, Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk is designed to help families and influence the culture — all flowing out of a heart for spiritual transformation thru trust in Christ for every life. It's the voice you trust...for the family you love!

About Dr. James Dobson

About the Hosts:
Dr. James Dobson:

James Dobson is the host of Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk. He is also the founder of Focus on the Family, where he served for more than 30 years.

A licensed psychologist and marriage, family, and child counselor, he was an associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Southern California for 14 years. He invested 17 years on the attending staff of Children's Hospital Los Angeles in the Division of Child Development and Medical Genetics.

Earning a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California, he's authored more than 30 books, including his most recent bestseller, Bringing Up Girls. Dr. Dobson has also been heavily involved in governmental activities related to the family. He was elected in 2008 to the National Radio Hall of Fame.

Dr. Dobson is married to Shirley, the father of two grown children, Danae and Ryan, and the grandfather of Lincoln and Luci.

 

Dr. Meg Meeker:
Dr. Meg is a pediatrician, who has practiced pediatric and adolescent medicine for 25 years. She is the author of six books including the best-selling Strong Fathers/Strong Daughters: Ten Secrets Every Father Should Know, and its companions Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: The 30 Day Challenge and Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters, 8 part DVD Small Group Study and WorkbookBoys Should Be BoysYour Kids At Risk, and The 10 Habits of Happy Mothers: Reclaiming Our Passion, Purpose and Sanity. She is a popular speaker on pediatric health issues and child-parent relationships. Dr. Meeker has the heart of a mother and the wisdom of a pediatrician. 
Meg is an Assistant Clinical Professor at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine and currently teaches medical students and physicians in residency training. She has been married to her husband, Walter for 31 years. They have shared a medical practice for 20 years. They have three daughters ages 29, 27 and 25 and a son who is 21. She lives in northern Michigan.

 

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