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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.

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 Videos

Family Talk is a Christian non-profit organization located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Founded in 2010 by Dr. James Dobson, the ministry promotes and teaches biblical principles that support marriage, family, and child-development. Since its inception, Family Talk has served millions of families with broadcasts, monthly newsletters, feature articles, videos, blogs, books and other resources available on demand via its website, mobile apps, and social media platforms.

About 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, Head Over Heels and, most recently, Your Legacy: The Greatest Gift. 

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 five 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 following awards: Winston Churchill Lifetime Achievement Award from the Faith & Freedom Coalition (2017), Daniel Award from AZ Christian University (2016), and the Defender of Life Award from the Justice Foundation (2015). 

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.

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