Devotionals by Dr. James Dobson


The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know.
1 Corinthians 8:2

We’ve been encouraging you this week to seek a better understanding of your children. We readily admit, however, that no matter how hard you try, your kids will still surprise you. I (JCD) remember calling home years ago from an out-of-state speaking engagement. Danae, who was then thirteen, informed me that she was going to be running in the 880-yard race at a track meet that Saturday. I gasped. “Danae,” I said, “that is a very grueling race. Have you ever run that far before?” She admitted that she hadn’t, even in practice. Though I advised against it, she decided to run in the race anyway.

Well, you can guess what happened—she won the race. The following year, she triumphed in the 880 again, setting a school record in the process. Now I began to get excited.  The kid has talent,  I thought.  She’ll be a great runner someday.  Wrong again. Danae ran three more races, winning two of them, and then lost interest in track. So much for fatherly wisdom.

Even if you dedicate yourself to knowing and understanding your children, you won’t always succeed. God has designed our ever-changing sons and daughters as complex, unique human beings. Parents must take to heart the Scripture that says “A patient man has great understanding” (Proverbs 14:29). Your ability to recognize who your children are—and who they will become—will only occur with generous measures of patience and reliance on the Lord.

Before you say good night…

  • How often do your kids surprise you?
  • Are you patient in seeking to understand your kids?

Heavenly Father, we know we must rely on You as we seek to know our children. Grant us patience when our understanding seems inadequate. Enable us to enjoy even the surprising moments with our precious children. Amen.

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

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