Men should give their families first priority, said James Dobson last month at the Roman Catholic Religious Education Congress in Anaheim, California. “If the family is going to survive,” he challenged the males in his audience, “it will be because husbands and fathers again begin to assume the lead in the family.”
That being said, the noted pediatrician revealed that he would be taking his own advice. Dobson, who has been making public appearances for the last fifteen years, said this would be his last speaking engagement. He wanted to spend more time with his 10-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter.
On the staff of the University of Southern California School of Medicine and author of such child-rearing books as Dare to Discipline and The Strong-Willed Child, Dobson cited a Cornell University study showing that fathers of preschool children on the average spend 37.7 seconds per day in real contact with their youngsters. In contrast, the study indicated that children watch television approximately fifty-four hours per week.
While traveling to his dying father’s bedside, Dobson recalled to his audience, he had thought how much his father had influenced his life—especially during the times when they tramped the woods together. At that time Dobson asked himself, “What will my kids recall when I’m dying?” Since then, Dobson has rearranged his schedule to allow more time at home and has decided to record his radio program entirely in Los Angeles, which is nearer his home.
Dobson’s “The Strong-Willed Child,” was one of 135 workshops in a five-day program that included four general assemblies and fourteen liturgies. There were 100 congress participants and over 22,000 delegates, from the United States, Canada, and overseas.1
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