Devotionals by Dr. James Dobson

Raised in a Minivan

This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
Ecclesiastes 4:4

Are you burning out your kids with too many scheduled activities? Are you, like Martha (Luke 10:40), allowing busyness to distract you and your family from what is truly important? These are questions worth asking. Many of today’s parents want their children to experience everything that’s available—motivated in part so that their kids will be able to “compete” with their peers when college scholarships are handed out. Those are laudable intentions. But are all the sports practices, singing lessons, and dance recitals worth the price?

According to recent studies, free time for kids is down to only six hours a week. Moms average more than five car trips a day running errands and chauffeuring their children. Typical of this scene, perhaps, is one Chicago-area mother of four busy children. She admitted recently that her one-year-old was practically being raised in the family minivan. “When he’s not in the van, he’s somewhat disoriented,” she said.

When kids aren’t sure which is home, the house or the family car, something is definitely wrong. Give your children downtime to play, to wonder, to “waste some time,” and to just be kids. Solomon describes the relentless pursuit of knowledge and achievement, when not inspired by God, as “meaningless, a chasing after the wind” (>Ecclesiastes 1:16–18; 4:4). We agree.

Before you say good night…

  • Do your kids have free time every day?
  • Do they enjoy their outside activities? Do you?
  • What activities might you consider cutting from their schedule?

Slow us down, dear Lord. We’ve been like Martha, worried and distracted, instead of Mary, who spent time at Your feet, enjoying and adoring You. Please change our hearts by Your indwelling Holy Spirit. Amen.

Statistics and illustration from “The Parent Trap,” Newsweek, 29 January 2001; and the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research and the Surface Transportation Policy Project of Washington, D.C., as reported by Cox News Service, 26 July 2000.

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 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 Host:
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.


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