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Roger Marsh: Hello everyone. You're listening to Family Talk, a part of the James Dobson Family Institute. I'm Roger Marsh, and I want you to know how much we appreciate your generous support of our ministry. Your faithful prayers and your financial gifts sustain this ministry and ensure its future. In fact, your assistance has allowed our radio network to expand to even more cities all across America. Family Talk can now be heard on 1300 outlets in all 50 States as well as in Puerto Rico. Recently we added key affiliates in places like New York, San Francisco, Houston, and Denver. You can see our full list of radio partners by using our station finder feature at drjamesdobson.org. Or if you prefer, tune into our daily broadcast on our app or through your Amazon Alexa.
We're excited to see how God is using this ministry to reach families all around the world. See how you can support us by going to drjamesdobson.org or by calling 877-732-6825. And with that, now let me tell you about this special Family Talk broadcast. In just a moment, you're going to hear a very sincere conversation between Dr. James Dobson and his daughter, Danae. Danae is now a successful author and a prominent Christian speaker. Their discussion is going to center on Danae's book, Let's Talk, which is geared toward the issues that teenage girls face. As a father of two daughters, I know the tremendous anxieties that many young women endure, and that doesn't stop when they're in elementary or middle school. It carries on into their young adult years, too.
Sadly, societal demands have become drastically worse in this social media and digital age. Girls and young women are mercilessly pressured into sleeping with their boyfriends or dressing more provocatively than they're comfortable. It really blows me away. Well, I hope this program will be a great resource for you as a parent to know that young girls need a great deal of guidance to navigate this pivotal time of life. Otherwise, they'll be paying for it as they get older. Okay. Without any further delay, let's listen to this insightful broadcast here on Family Talk. As we begin, Danae Dobson explains the context and background for writing this book.
Danae Dobson: I would say between the ages of about 11 and 17, it deals with a lot of different issues that teen girls are up against, and it specifically focuses on relationships of all kinds. Relationships with your family, your friends, God, yourself, dating. So I really tried to cover all the bases.
Dr. Dobson: Now, there are 40 little essays in them. I don't like the word essays because that sounds boring. And these are filled with illustrations and concepts where each one is dedicated to a different topic.
Danae Dobson: Yes, that's correct. I would probably refer to them as chapters, although they're short chapters.
Dr. Dobson: Why don't you describe how you wrote your first book.
Danae Dobson: Oh, I love to talk about how I wrote my first book because you were an active player in that. And actually my career in writing grew out of my relationship with you. When I was about six or seven years of age, you had that carpool and Ryan and I were in it along with some other kids and you used to tell us these fascinating stories about different animals, different adventures, and we loved to hear you talk. But there was one series of stories that we enjoyed more than any other. And that was about a dog named Woof.
Dr. Dobson: W-O-O-F. Woof.
Danae Dobson: W-O-O-F. And you told us a number of Woof stories and we really grew attached to that playful little animal who existed only in our minds. And so when I was about 11 years of age, I decided that I wanted to write my own story about Woof. And you were all for it. You thought it'd be a good idea. So I wrote the first draft and you helped me and we found a publishing company that was willing to publish it and that was Word and at the time they were located in Waco. So, that was the beginning of my very first story.
Dr. Dobson: Yeah, you were 12 years old at the time.
Danae Dobson: Yes.
Dr. Dobson: You were the youngest author in the 25 year history of Word Publishers and that record may stand for all I know. And what was the title of the first book?
Danae Dobson: I'm very proud of the title of my first children's book. It was entitled, Woof: A Bedtime Story about a Dog, by Danae Dobson, aged 12, with a little help from her dad, Dr. James Dobson.
Dr. Dobson: Well, you went on to Azusa Pacific University and graduated with a degree in communication, and that is how you're spending your life serving the Lord. You are not only a writer, but you're a speaker and you are speaking to various groups. Describe it.
Danae Dobson: Yes. Well, for many years, I would say 10 or 15, I spoke to children's groups at Christian schools and I felt like that was my calling for that season of my life. And for about the past three or four years, I felt the Lord shifting me more towards women's groups. And every time I pray about it, I continue to get green lights. So it seems like the Lord is in favor of this calling.
Dr. Dobson: Well, getting back to the origins of your writing career, Danae, it is really interesting that those casual conversations that I had with the children in the carpool led to a career for you, and who would have known it? I mean, as an adult, as a father, who would have known those things that I was making up as I went along, I was pulling this stuff out of the air, would stick? And all the kids that were in that carpool at the time still remember Woof and some of those other characters. But I told you a lot of stories in those days.
Danae Dobson: You did. You were really a master at getting into a child's imagination, dad. And one of my favorite stories that you used to tell was about a lady named Mrs. White who owned a sweet shop. And you used that as a ploy to get Ryan and me to go to sleep at night. And I remember you said that Mrs. White's husband, who was known as Old Man White, used to sit in the back of the room sucking chocolate syrup through a straw.
Dr. Dobson: We called that Mrs. White's party. And the only way you could go to Mrs. White's party was to go to sleep because you were invited to the party when you were asleep. And so we would use that to entice you and Ryan to want to go to sleep and-
Danae Dobson: Nothing like a psychologist using psychology on his own children.
Dr. Dobson: I told you that you can eat all you want, you can eat all day long of chocolate sundaes, ice cream, all kinds of good things, apple pie, blueberry pie, and you'd never get tired of it and you'd never get sick and you'd never gain weight and-
Danae Dobson: Your eyes just dilate while you're asleep, but-
Dr. Dobson: We were riding in the car one day, we'd been on a trip and you and Ryan had just about worn us out. You were in a rambunctious period of childhood.
Danae Dobson: That only happened once.
Dr. Dobson: Yeah. We wanted you to go to sleep. And so I made up that story and it was really funny because the two of you could not wait to get to sleep. You curled up in two little balls in the back seat and were gone in a minute because you wanted to go to Mrs. White's party. Hey, let's get back to the book. Let's talk, and describe a little bit about what you were trying to do there.
Danae Dobson: Well, I finally came to a place in my life where I felt like the Lord was asking me to write a nonfiction book because all of my preceding books had been fiction stories. And I felt him specifically calling me to write a teen devotional, or an inspirational book for teens, if you will. And this was born out of a concern that I had for teens in the current day and age because it seems like there's a lot more pressures, difficulties, temptations than there were when I was a teen. And I just felt like I should probably tackle some of those issues and use some of my own experiences to help guide young girls in how they can make right choices in the modern day.
Dr. Dobson: They're all very, very practical, aren't they? They're the kind of things that young people go through every day. Well, instead of talking about the book, let's read the book. I'm going to ask you to read one of the 40 entries here and give people a feel for what you were trying to do. I think that'll help us understand better.
Danae Dobson: I'd love to. One of my favorite chapters is entitled "Cut."
It began as just another night at the movies, some college girlfriends and I drove to the local theater to check out a popular comedy. When we got there, I recognized three guys from school. They happened to be sitting in the row behind us, so we chatted with them a while before the show started. 30 minutes into the film, I was feeling pretty uncomfortable. We had already heard foul language and sexual jokes and we had witnessed a couple tasteless scenes. It was about this time that I turned around to say something to one of the guys and I was surprised to see that all three of them were gone. They had walked out of the theater, obviously as a result of the disturbing content.
Their response had a profound impact on me. I really admired the guys, football players no less, for adhering to their convictions. It also provoked some interesting thoughts. Was there a standard that all Christians should follow? Shouldn't my girlfriends and I have walked out too? Why were we still watching the film? Since that experience, I've become much more selective when it comes to movies. We need to make a conscious decision about what types of films are off our must-see list. Whenever I go to the video rental store, I'm amazed by some of the junk that's on display. Words like "nudity," "strong language," and "violence" are frequently used to describe subject matter.
Another disturbing aspect about today's movies is how often Christianity is made fun of. Jesus is our Savior and Friend. It's upsetting to see Him mocked or to hear His name raked through the gutter. This sort of thing seems to be occurring more frequently these days. A number of films I saw this year included at least one jab or another against Christ. So what do you think is required of us in regard to entertainment? One thing is certain, Psalm 101:3 makes it very clear when it says, quote, "I will set before my eyes no vile thing." That means we must decide ahead of time not to watch anything evil or obscene. We can't always know the content before we see a movie, but in most cases we have a pretty good idea.
You might be asking, "What's the big deal anyway? It's only entertainment. Why does it matter what we expose ourselves to?" Let me try to explain with a story. A father of three teenagers set a rule that the family could not watch R rated movies. This created a problem when a certain popular film opened in local theaters. All the teens were bent on seeing the film despite its R rating. The teens interviewed friends and even members of their church to compile a list of pros and cons about the movie. They hoped that the list would convince their dad that they should be allowed to attend. The cons were that it contained only a few swear words that misuse God's name. Only one act of violence, quote, "Which you can see on TV all the time," they said, and only one sex scene and it was mostly implied sex, off-camera.
The pros were that it was a popular movie, a blockbuster, and if the teens saw the movie, then they would not feel left out when their friends discussed it. The movie contained a good plot and two hours of nonstop action and suspense. There were fantastic special effects. The movie also featured some of the most talented actors in Hollywood, and the teens were certain that the film would be nominated for several awards. Their Christian friends at their church who had seen the movie said it wasn't, quote, 'that bad'. Therefore, since there were more pros than cons, the teens asked their father to reconsider his position just this once. The father looked at the list and ask if he could have a day to think about it before making this decision, the teens were thrilled. "Now we've got him," they thought, "our argument is too good, dad can't turn us down."
So, they agreed to give him a day to think about their request. The next day, the father called his three teenagers who were smiling smugly into the living room. They were puzzled to see a plate of brownies on the coffee table. The father said he had decided that if they would eat a brownie, then he would let them go to the movie, but just like the movie, the brownies had pros and cons. The pros were that they had been made with fresh walnuts and the finest chocolate. These moist frosted brownies had been created with an award-winning recipe.
- Sounds like Mrs. White's party, doesn't it? -
Dr. Dobson: Mrs. White's party.
Danae Dobson: Best of all, they had been made with care by the hands of the teen's own father. The brownies only had one con. They had just a little bit of dog poop in them.
Dr. Dobson: Oh, goodness.
Danae Dobson: But the dough had been mixed very well, the teens probably would not even be able to taste it, and their father had baked the brownies at 350 degrees, so any bacteria or germs had probably been destroyed. Therefore, if any of his children could stand to eat a brownie that included just a little bit of poop, then they would also be permitted to see the movie with just a little bit of smut. By now, the teens had lost their smug expressions. They turned down the tainted brownies and only dad was smiling smugly as they left the room.
Philippians 4:8 says, "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things."
It's hard to concentrate on things that are noble and lovely while watching a smutty film. The bottom line is that those who love the Lord and want to please him should, quote, "Keep themselves from being polluted by the world." James 1:27. If we're exposing our minds to violence, sex outside of marriage, greed, foul language, and other worldly sins, is there any room left to be filled with the Holy Spirit? Can we truly experience satisfaction in our communion with God? Think about it.
Dr. Dobson: Danae, that is so good and it's captivating. It's really clear that you're trying to serve the Lord through this ministry of your own. You're trying to introduce these concepts to young people in a way that will be palatable to them.
Danae Dobson: Yes. I really have a heart for young girls and what they're going through, what they're up against. And it hasn't been that long since I was at that stage of my life. I can remember the various pressures, and it's just hard at that age. You've got puberty to deal with, you're trying to break free a little bit from your parents, but you still have to abide by the household rules. You've got peer pressure coming at you from friends. You're trying to figure out who you are, what you're supposed to do with your life.
Dr. Dobson: Well, you're trying to have an influence on the other end of the ledger. What are some of the other general topics? We don't have time to read another one, but what are some of the other topics that you dealt with?
Danae Dobson: Oh, there's quite a variety. I've got a chapter on eating disorders, one on cussing, prayer, forgiveness, moral relativism, gossiping, slumber party parameters, dating and courtship. I've written one on grandparents, one on parents, one on siblings and how to get along. And my favorite chapter that I did came out of an interview that I conducted with four guys. They're all about the high school age and I asked them numerous questions about girls and dating, what they like, what they don't like, and they gave me some real candid answers and I think that's the chapter I'm the most proud of. I really liked how that came out.
Dr. Dobson: Well, my favorite chapter has to do with the things you said about me.
Danae Dobson: Oh, yes.
Dr. Dobson: You did talk about our relationship a lot, didn't you?
Danae Dobson: I did. I wrote a chapter entitled, Daddy's Girl, because I consider myself to be a daddy's girl to an extent. And I discussed my childhood and the special relationship, the bond that I had with you, and how that has now become a sweet friendship that you and I share and I wish everybody had a wonderful relationship with their dad. But I know that even if some teen girls aren't blessed with having a good relationship with their fathers, they still have that one with their heavenly Father, and He is a Father to the fatherless.
Dr. Dobson: You also talked in very positive terms about your mother and the relationship that you've had with her.
Danae Dobson: Yes, I did. My mom and I both say that we're one another's best friend, and we had a few little bumps when I was in my early teens and-
Dr. Dobson: But that allowed you to talk about that, the mother-daughter relationship.
Danae Dobson: Yes, it did. And I wrote a chapter in the book about my mother called, "Everlasting Beauty," and how she's not only beautiful on the outside, but she has that kind of inner beauty that we should all strive for as females. A love for the Lord, a love for our family, a desire to do some type of service for God in some way. Mom being chairman of the National Day of Prayer has poured her energy into that task and has done a remarkable job. I'm so proud of her. And that's part of the beauty that I see within her.
Dr. Dobson: Well, Danae, I'm proud of you. I'm proud of your brother. God has blessed both of you and I'm most pleased that you're using your talent for Him. And I believe this book is going to make an impact.
Danae Dobson: Yes. Dad, my goal for this book is that at least one girl will write to me and tell me that she accepted Jesus Christ into her heart after reading it. You helped me with the last chapter and we laid out the plan of salvation and even wrote the sinner's prayer down so that if somebody wanted to accept Christ, all they would have to do is read and repeat. And I'm really hoping that that's going to bring at least one person to Christ and hopefully many girls who read the book.
Dr. Dobson: You have tears in your eyes, Danae. This means a lot to you, doesn't it?
Danae Dobson: Yes, it does. That's what it's all about. Things of eternal consequence.
Dr. Dobson: Danae, it occurs to me that there will be young people, especially young girls who will listen to this broadcast or hear it on tape or a CD who don't know Jesus Christ. Some of them didn't grow up in a Christian home. They have never really had the plan of salvation given to them. They don't know why they should ask his forgiveness and seek a relationship with Christ. Anything you'd like to say to them in closing today? Anything from your heart that you would love to get across directly to those who have not had this wonderful experience?
Danae Dobson: Well, let me talk directly to those girls. Some of you I know are experiencing a lot of confusion. You're going through pressures, you're trying to figure out the meaning in your life and where you go from here. Maybe you're even going through a crisis in your life, and the Lord says that He will come to you as a friend when you call on Him and He will be there for you. And all you have to do is just reach out and talk to Him and cast your cares upon Him. And more importantly, if you haven't done so, invite Him into your heart so that He will be Lord of your life and be your eternal friend. And all you have to do is just accept what He's offering to you.
If you haven't done that before now, I hope you'll do it at this moment. That's the most important decision that you will ever, ever make.
Dr. Dobson: Well, that's a very important place to end this interchange about your new book, Danae. It's called, Let's Talk! Good Stuff for Girlfriends About God, Guys, and Growing Up. Published by Tyndale.
Danae Dobson: And there're some good stories and a couple of little jokes about dad too, so you'll enjoy that. Of course, he-
Dr. Dobson: We're going to edit those out.
Danae Dobson: Of course, he approved everything in the editing stage, but-
Dr. Dobson: Yeah. If I didn't like what you said about me, it never made it.
Danae Dobson: Yeah, it got cut.
Roger Marsh: Well, I'm Roger Marsh, and you've been listening to a very heartfelt program featuring Dr. James Dobson and his daughter Danae, here on Family Talk. Visit today's broadcast page at drjamesdobson.org to request a copy of Danae's book called, Let's Talk. This is a great resource for any mom or dad with daughters, especially those who are in the teenage years. So, go to drjamesdobson.org and then click on the broadcast icon at the top of the page.
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