By Dr. James Dobson
Homosexual activists know that most Christians are uncomfortable in today’s highly charged political arena. We are, for the most part, peace-loving people who do not like angry confrontation and bitter debate. Our philosophical opponents understand this, which explains why they often react with in-your-face rhetoric and behavior. Their purpose is to intimidate those who oppose their agenda.
Each of us has a heartfelt need to be honored and respected. All too often, however, we take our spouses for granted at home. Is it any wonder that so many mothers hold down jobs in the workplace today? Many work for financial reasons, but some do so to find the recognition and praise they don’t get from their mates. Could this also be why many men spend excessive hours at work—to receive from colleagues the accolades that they don’t get at home?
By Shirley Dobson
When Jim and I were dating, I was pleased to discover his creative, romantic side. Little things he did, such as sending me a love note hidden in a Coke bottle, made me feel special. I treasured those romantic moments from our early days together.
The key word here is memorable. Look for opportunities to get out of the rut and routine for a couple of hours or a couple of days. A fresh setting and uncustomary activities can lift your time together out of the mundane and weave it into the stuff of memory.
Because of the critical nature of this discussion, we are going to turn to an expert for advice. Following is an edited version of an interview I conducted with Larry Burkett on a radio broadcast. Larry has devoted his life to helping families live within their means. I believe the advice that follows will be especially helpful to young couples who are establishing lifelong spending habits. Now is the time to lay hold of these fundamental principles.
No matter how hard we try to define romance, it remains in part a mystery. Yet Solomon’s Song of Songs does give us several clues to its nature. In this evocative description of romantic love, we see that it means both intimacy and intense emotional excitement:
The world seems to worship youth and is terrified of aging. But there was a time when getting older was associated with wisdom and experience. In fact, some of the greatest accomplishments in history came very late in life.
When I was a teenager I had a recurring dream which invariably delighted me: the episode would always begin by my noticing a shiny dime near the sidewalk where I walked. As I reached down to retrieve it, two quarters would be uncovered in the soil. By grabbing those two coins, at least four half-dollars would appear underneath, and it was obvious that I had stumbled onto a numismatic fortune. I would begin shoveling money by the handfuls, while looking over my shoulder. Always standing or walking nearby were dozens of people who hadn't noticed my discovery, and I was anxiously trying to stuff the cash in my pockets before being mobbed by competitors. There were slight variations to this theme (once I found millions of S&H Green Stamps,) but a distinct element of greed was always represented. Now, many years later, I'm happy to say that I've recovered from this greedy nature; instead, I frequently dream that I'm standing immobilized while everyone else finds the money! That's what decades of taxes and creditors have done to my adolescent aspirations.
When we hear the phrase “empty nest” we often think of mothers who are going through pain and depression as their children move away. But research shows that fathers feel the pain as well—in many cases even more intensely than their wives.
I would like to offer some evidence to show that men and women are biologically unique. The women's movement, in its assault on traditional sex roles, has repeatedly asserted that males and females are identical except for the ability to bear children. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Many years ago I saw a documentary television program that I never forgot. It focused on the life of an elderly woman named Elizabeth Holt Hartford, who lived alone in a Los Angeles slum. These were her parting words that were aired on videotape a few weeks after her death:
I will not soon forget a television program aired in Los Angeles which was devoted to the topic of aging. It was one of those unusual documentaries which burns its way into the viewer's memory forever. The subject for the half-hour program was an eighty-eight-year-old woman named Elizabeth Holt Hartford. She lived in a tiny room of a decrepit hotel in the slum section of Los Angeles. The film crew for the station selected Miss Hartford to dramatize the plight of the poverty-stricken, sick old people who populate the central part of the city. Though she was wrinkled and bowed by time, Miss Hartford was remarkably lucid and eloquent. Her message still rings in my ears, and it sounded like this: "You see me as an ancient old woman, but I want to tell you something. This is me inside here. I haven't changed; I'm just stuck within this body and I can't get out. It hurts me and it won't move right and it gets tired whenever I try to do anything. But the real me is not what you see. I am a prisoner within this decaying body".
Isn’t it curious how in the midst of a nasty family argument we can shake out of the bad mood the instant the telephone rings or a neighbor knocks on the door?
The Bible places great emphasis on prayer. We read many examples of how important prayer was to Jesus (Luke 5:16). We are taught that prayer should be for God’s benefit and not to gain favor in the eyes of men (Matthew 6:5–6), and that we need not use “many words” in an attempt to impress Him (v. 7). We are even given examples of the words we should use (vv. 9–13).
The Bible teaches the existence of a potentially disastrous flaw in the character of man, which urges him toward sinful behavior even though he may desire to serve God. Paul referred to this inner struggle in Romans 7:21-24: "So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?"
When the chemistry is right, fathers make contributions to the welfare of their daughters in almost every dimension of life. Here is a quick overview of some ﬁndings in that regard. After reading it, you’ll see again why you matter as a dad to your daughter.
If character training is a primary goal of parenting, and I believe it is, then the best way to instill it is through the demeanor and behavior of a father. Identification with him is a far more efficient teacher than lecturing, scolding, punishing, bribing, and cajoling. Boys watch their dads intently, noting every minor detail of behavior and values. Your sons will imitate much of what you do. If you blow up regularly and insult your wife, your boys will treat their mother and other females disrespectfully. If you drink to excess, your kids will be at risk for chemical substance abuse. If you curse or smoke or fight with your coworkers, your boys will probably follow suit. If you are selfish or mean or angry, you’ll see those characteristics displayed in the next generation.
Simply reading and understanding God’s will for us isn’t enough. We must also choose in obedience to follow it—and that’s the difficult part. So often, we are too headstrong to submit.
We can no more be perfect parents than we can be perfect human beings. The task of raising kids in a fast-paced world is infinitely complex, and life itself takes a toll on our good intentions. But kids are resilient, and they usually manage to turn out rather well. Remember that the Creator in the Garden of Eden also had “children” who were rebellious. In that instance, Adam and Eve had no television, pornography, bad peers, or other unsavory influences to lead them astray. And yet they were headstrong and went their own way. It is the nature of mankind. What I am saying is that it would be a mistake for you to wallow in guilt for everything your children do wrong.
Their first-born child is conceived in love and born in great joy. They will neither talk nor think of much else for the next three years. The first smile; the first word; the first birthday; the first step. Every milestone is a cause for celebration. They buy him a tricycle and they teach him to fly a kite. And they patch up the bird with the broken wing. Only the best will do for this inheritor of the family name. They buy him Child-Craft books and teach him to sing. They show him how to pray. It is a labor of love that knows no limits.
Justice In The Home
Never Give Up
"Above All Else"
The Influence of Friends
From Mourning to Morning
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Connect With Dr. James Dobson
Dr. James Dobson is the Founder and President of Family Talk, a nonprofit organization that produces his radio program, “Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk.” He is the author of more than 30 books dedicated to the preservation of the family, including The New Dare to Discipline; Love for a Lifetime; Life on the Edge; Love Must Be Tough; The New Strong-Willed Child; When God Doesn’t Make Sense; Bringing Up Boys; Marriage Under Fire; Bringing Up Girls; and, most recently, Head Over Heels.
Dr. Dobson served as an associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Southern California School of Medicine for 14 years and on the attending staff of Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles for 17 years. He has been active in governmental affairs and has advised three U.S. presidents on family matters. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California (1967) in the field of child development. He holds 17 honorary doctoral degrees, and was inducted in 2008 into The National Radio Hall of Fame. Dr. Dobson recently received the “Great American Award” from The Awakening.
Dr. Dobson is married to Shirley and they have two grown children, Danae and Ryan, and two grandchildren. The Dobsons reside in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
How to Raise a Brat
A Message To Husbands and Wives
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