Dr James Dobson Daily Devotional for Parents

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Dr. Dobson's Parenting Devotional - May 23

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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 reserved. Used with permission.

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