Devotionals by Dr. James Dobson

Afternoon Hike

He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.
Psalm 23:2–3

I (SMD) know of a grandmother who set out on a hike with her almost-two-year-old granddaughter, Carter. She figured that by keeping a steady pace, they could walk the mile to a meadow and back to Carter’s house by the end of the afternoon.

Carter, however, had other ideas. Not long after the hike began, she stopped to examine two sticks on the trail. A few minutes later, she stopped to pick some flowers. Farther down the trail, she halted again to rest on a rock. And the grandmother began to remember that the rhythm of life for a little child is very different than the determined pace set by sophisticated adults.

Because of Carter’s frequent stops, grandmother and granddaughter walked no more than a half mile that afternoon. But by the end of the hike, that was just fine with this grandmother. With Carter’s help, she’d collected sticks, flowers, pebbles, and a dead butterfly. She’d also been reminded that life for a child—and perhaps for grown-ups, too—isn’t so much about completion as it is about the process of getting there. When we slow our pace enough to take in the “green pastures” and “quiet waters” along the way, we’ll find God right beside us, restoring our souls—just as He promised.

Before you say good night…

  • When was the last time you took a family walk?
  • When did you last point out any of God’s handiwork to your kids?
  • Is it time to slow down the pace of your lives?

Please, Lord, set the pace for our family. Help us to see again through the eyes of a child. Take upon Your shoulders the worries and strains that squeeze delight and joy from our lives. And please remind us to let our kids be kids. Amen.

Illustration adapted from “A Walk with a Child” by Faith Andrews Bedford, Country Living, May 1998.

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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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