Dr. and Mrs. Dobson are out of the Family Talk office for a few weeks while he finishes his newest book. He says it will be the “capstone” for everything he has written or spoken in the past 40 years. I can’t wait to read it.
In his absence, he asked me if I would write Family Talk’s monthly newsletter. Being the newest member of the Family Talk team I’d like to tell you why I chose to serve alongside the Family Talk ministry.
I am a pediatrician, a mother of four grown children, and a grandmother to one amazing little girl. I have been married to my husband and medical partner, Walt, for almost 33 years. He is a pediatrician and an internist. I came to Family Talk in a most unusual way. One year ago I was invited to speak at a Family Talk conference in La Quinta, California, after being on the radio program with Dr. Dobson. He and I have a mutual passion for:
- the institution of the family,
- for the sanctity of human life,
- for righteousness in the culture,
- and for Jesus Christ.
After I had spoken in California, my husband looked at me and said, “You and Dr. Dobson are championing the exact same things for parents and children. Perhaps you should offer your help.”
I was stunned by his suggestion because he is my partner in our medical practice. We have worked together over 20 years, and I have loved serving patients with him side by side.
“But Family Talk is in Colorado,” I replied “and we’re in Michigan. Are you suggesting we move?”
“Nope. Just pray about it,” he said. And so I did.
Several weeks later I wrote Dr. Dobson, fully expecting my letter to end up at the bottom of thousands of others he receives. But sometimes God reaches down from heaven and rearranges things on our desks. Four short days after I wrote him, Dr. Dobson called me on the phone. He said he needed help – and just the kind I can offer. Each of us sensed when we talked that the Lord wanted us to work together.
What developed was a long-distance assignment. I fly to Colorado Springs when I can, and do Family Talk radio programs and other work by phone and the Internet. It has been a very successful arrangement.
Since joining the team, I have gotten to know the staff at Family Talk like members of my family. Indulge me if you will while I boast about this group of energetic and extraordinary people. I have worked with many organizations and started my own business, and I can honestly say that I have never seen a more cohesive, committed group of folks. Ryan is a bundle of brilliant, shining energy who runs circles around all of us.
Dr. Dobson is the most humble and godly man I have ever met (next to my husband, of course.) The workload that he carries is enormous, but he seems to thrive on it. Fortunately, the Lord has given him the health and strength to meet the challenge.
Michael Tomlinson (MT) is the Chief Operating Officer for Family Talk. Watching him work is akin to what I imagine working at Google is like. MT is a gifted professional, and we love working with him.
Shirley Dobson is a strong presence who prays, I think, even while she sleeps. She has great influence on her husband and supports him wonderfully. Shirley has her own responsibilities as chairman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force. Their lives together are a whirlwind of activity. They have been married for 53 years, and as Dr. Dobson says, “I think it’s gonna work.” There’s no doubt about that.
Those working in other assignments come together every morning for devotions, because they, like everyone in leadership, know that seeking the mind of God is critical to everything we do. The energy at Family Talk is palpable. There is excitement here that seems to have a divine ordination to it. I have worked with other high-energy people, but this is unique. You’d have to be here to sense it. Those of us who have been called to Family Talk are committed to a mission and a message. We are here, we believe, to serve the Cause of Christ and His people. That includes you and your family.
Our nation is under siege today like never before. Christianity itself is under assault, and parents are involved in a tug of war for the hearts and minds of their children. Life for young parents has never been as difficult, overwhelming and confusing as it is today. As a mother with adult children, I would love to say that raising kids in the Eighties was harder, but it wasn’t. We didn’t have to compete with digital devices for our children’s attention. There were only two sexually transmitted diseases in the Seventies – syphilis and gonorrhea. Both of them could be treated successfully with penicillin. Many kids who were raised in strong churches and good homes remained virgins until marriage. Now, a high percentage of young people are living together out of wedlock, and more than 30 sexually transmitted infections are at epidemic levels. Many teens and college-aged individuals carry sexually transmitted viruses that have no known cures.
When I was in medical school in the Eighties, homosexuality was recognized as a psychiatric disorder. Today it is a cause célèbre. Physicians alone gave stimulants to children with ADHD, and HIV hadn’t reared its head. How quickly life has changed since then. Parents are faced with so many baffling issues. Should they teach their children moral principles or let them decide for themselves? Should they make their kids attend church even if they don’t want to go? And should they spank when a child is naughty? What do they tell their five year-old about Aunt Susan’s live-in girlfriend? How should they respond when their kindergartner learns about HIV/AIDs from a classmate – or worse – a well-intentioned teacher at school?
I have practiced pediatrics for thirty years now, and I observe that many parents are anxious, confused, and lacking in confidence. The Internet and peer pressure twist and warp their values, and pornography stalks the land. Many of us at Family Talk are, shall I say, “seasoned” when it comes to parenting. Best of all, we have in our presence, the master of childrearing, Dr. Dobson, continuing to offer sage advice and godly guidance. I remember turning the radio on with a child on my hip, hearing his southern, calming drawl tell me how to take charge in my home, to be like Jesus or challenge my strong-willed child. I would turn the radio off, heed his advice and try out his words. Every single time, his words worked. And they’re still working.
We are also concerned about today’s families for another reason. Our government and our judiciary are undermining cherished principles that have been honored in law and custom for hundreds of years. Marriage, for example, is changing before our eyes. In December 2013, a judge in Utah ruled that a ban on polygamy is unconstitutional. It was established by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1898 and has been the law of the land ever since. If this new ruling stands, the family, as we have known it, will be irreparably damaged.
On another troubling matter, there is a mandate within the regulations for Obamacare that requires Christian non-profit organizations, including Family Talk, to provide morning after pills to its female employees. Dr. Dobson has dug in his heels, even though the fine for not complying is $36,000 per employee per year. Undaunted, he wrote last year, “We will not do what is evil, Mr. President. Come and get me if you wish.” Family Talk and the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) are suing Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and the Department of Health and Human Services in federal court. If Family Talk loses that case, the ministry will likely close its doors. Please be in prayer for us as we oppose this assault on religious liberty.
This lawsuit illustrates the commitment of Family Talk to biblical truth. As you would expect, the opposition is fierce. Just three weeks ago, USA TODAY criticized Dr. Dobson in its lead editorial for taking the stands he does. He will not yield to this kind of pressure. I am grateful that we have a Christian leader who is determined to defend his (and our) beliefs against vicious opposition. He has done it for four decades.
Finally, we are here to have your back. As you move forward in your mission – whether with your kids, your spouse, your mother, coworker or employees – you need a sounding board that will help you stand strong in troubled times. We will make mistakes, but if you graciously forgive us, we will seek God’s face and do better the next time.
So there you have it. We want to hear from you so we can know what you need. If you have a two year-old, what do you worry most about? If you are a grandparent raising your son’s child, what stresses you? Please let us know. I have a “Dear Dr. Meg” column, so please write. We want to know your thoughts and hear what your needs are so that we can serve you better.
Healthy families delight God and that includes immediate families, extended families and ministry families. I am living this reality in a painful way right now. I am privileged to have a very large extended family that lives within miles of one another. At any birthday or holiday, it isn’t unusual to have 25-35 people eating together. Sometimes, having one another so close is hard because we argue and disagree, but usually we love each other. And it is always a blessing from God.
One member of our family, my sister-in-law, is currently battling terminal cancer. She is a single mother of four children, and she is only 57. She is beautiful in every sense of the word. We have watched her hair fall out and not return. We have seen her continue to work and smile at guests in her shop, all the while offering kind words to each of them. I have never heard her criticize her ex-husband who left her alone with four young children. And I have never, ever, seen self-pity come from her demeanor or speech.
My sister-in-law is a remarkable woman. She says she is ready to see her Lord. We aren’t ready to let her go, but she is resolved. She is “dying well” and showing us the face of Jesus.
Your prayers for her and for Family Talk would be appreciated. If you can help us financially here in February, that would be wonderful. Come see us in Colorado Springs when you can. This is a great place to visit.
God be with you all,
Meg Meeker, M.D.
Co-Host of Family Talk Radio and
Physician in Residence