Welcome to Our Table (Transcript)

Dr. James Dobson: Well, hello everyone. I'm James Dobson and you're listening to Family Talk, a listener supported ministry. In fact, thank you so much for being part of that support for James Dobson Family Institute.

Roger Marsh: Well, greetings and happy Thanksgiving. I'm Roger Marsh. Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy day to join us for this special edition of Family Talk.

Now, before we dive into today's encouraging program, I'd like to share with you about one of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions, it involves food of course, and the movies. My mom and dad were both only children, so a big family gathering for us wasn't really big. It was my older sister, my younger brother, my mom's mother, sometimes my dad's parents and us family. We would get together and the ladies would go into the kitchen and they'd spend all morning and early afternoon cooking the meal and then we would have dinner around two or three o'clock in the afternoon. After we ate until we were all very well satisfied, my dad and my brother and I would go in and clean up the kitchen and then my dad would ask, "Who wants to go see a movie?" My mom was usually exhausted, so she'd stay home. And one year I remember my dad and me in particular, I going to see back to the future, just the two of us, and it was a very, very special and meaningful time. Always got to see a great movie with my dad on Thanksgiving Day.

If you have a fun or unique Thanksgiving or Christmas tradition, won't you tell us about it. Go to our Facebook page right now at facebook.com/DrJamesDobsonsFamilyTalk and share it with us. That's facebook.com/DrJamesDobsonsFamilyTalk. In today's classic broadcast, Dr. Dobson will be talking with his beloved wife, Shirley and their daughter Danae Dobson. The three will be discussing Shirley and Dena's book. Welcome to Our Table. Welcome to Our Table is as much a Dobson family heirloom as it is a cookbook. It offers lessons and tips for blessing others through hospitality. Here now is Dr. Dobson to introduce his daughter, Danae Dobson, on this installment of Family Talk.

Dr. James Dobson: I am so proud of you, you've now written 25 books starting with Woof in the early days, I still have people that come up to me on the street and say, "My kids love the Woof books."

Danae Dobson: Which you inspired in our carpool years ago when you used to tell us those stories and then-

Dr. James Dobson: About a dog.

Danae Dobson: About a dog named Woof. And then when I was 11, I decided to write my own Woof story and you helped me polish it up and we found a publisher that was willing to publish it and the rest is history.

Dr. James Dobson: Well, you were the youngest publisher in the 25-year history of Word Publishing and I am very proud of you. You've gone on to write many other books, some of them for teenagers and other things. But now you and your mom have written another book, which is really why we're here today. Tell us about Welcome to Our Table.

Danae Dobson: When I first came up with the idea to do a book on the topic of hospitality, I called mom to talk to her about it and I expected her to be really excited and, "Oh, that's a great idea." Her response was, "Danae, I don't have time. I have a year long task with the National Day of Prayer and I'm trying to help your dad start this new ministry and I just can't do it". So I twisted her arm hard enough and she agreed to do it.

Shirley Dobson: I think the book, not because we wrote it, but I wish I would've had this book when I was a young bride. And it's good for any ages, but if you really want to peek into the Dobson family, this is the book. We have our own recipes in this book, some that have been handed down from grandmothers. We have pictures of our family throughout it. We even have Jim Dobson in an apron cooking, he's-

Danae Dobson: Frying chicken.

Dr. James Dobson: Well, if you just look at the pictures in the book, and there are great lithographs throughout this book, the pictures are really the fun part of the book. But if you look at the picture of me barbecuing and frying chicken and doing other things, you'll think that that's all I do is I stay home and cook every day.

Shirley Dobson: Speaking of Jim cooking, I have to tell you he really is a good cook. He only cooks a few things, but they're his signature dishes, but they're really good. The only thing is when he fries his chicken, there's canola oil popping all over the stove and he has flour all over the kitchen floor and on his clothes, but you've never eaten better chicken in all your life, and the recipe is right in the book as his mother taught him when he was a small child.

Dr. James Dobson: Oh, my mother was a great cook and she passed a lot of that on to me and honestly, I am a good fryer of chicken.

Danae Dobson: We even have pictures with the steps, the individual steps listed on the pages.

Dr. James Dobson: Now, this book also has many stories in it. It's not just about photographs of the Dobsons doing their thing, but there's a lot of stories that relate to the times of the year, to the celebrations and holidays, and I think that's really neat. Share some of the stories that are in the book.

Shirley Dobson: Well, hospitality means a lot to me because I came from a very dysfunctional family. My father had a severe drinking problem and we never had friends or people from our church over because we never knew when my dad would come home and embarrass us all. And so when I was a sophomore in college, one of my girlfriends invited me home for the weekend and it really changed my life. I remember waking up on a Saturday morning to this wonderful aroma of home cooked breakfast. Her mother fixed scrambled eggs and bacon and rolls, and it just smelled wonderful. And the home was so loving and so together and it really made a big impression on me.

But what made the bigger impression was that the family prayed together before the meal. I had never seen that done. Prayer was just not something that we did in our family and we never prayed before meals. And then we enjoyed the meal and then afterwards he took out the Bible, he read Scriptures, he talked about the Scriptures, and then he asked each one of us if we would kneel by our chairs and he prayed for each one of us. And that was such a unique blessing to me because I'd never seen it done. And I thought to myself that very day, if I'm ever blessed to have a husband and children, I want to replicate that in my home. And we have.

Dr. James Dobson: You never know what people who are in your home are going to pick up from watching how you live. I think we need to give credit where credit's due. That was the Wooten family and we went on later to know them and love them. But you just think that that father took the time, he's probably busy like everybody else, to pause and to talk to you all about the scripture and then to ask you to pray in that little setting and it had a profound impact on your life. Danae, let me get your take on it. I know that you love to have people come into your home and you have said in this book that your mother taught you to appreciate hospitality into participating in it, didn't she?

Danae Dobson: Yes, she did. The saying, a lot more is caught than taught. And growing up in an atmosphere where I saw my mom hosting women's Bible studies and having people over for meals and hosting my high school youth group on Sunday nights, I know that one of the main reasons why I like to do those things is because of the example that she set. So thank you, mom, for being a wonderful role model to me.

Shirley Dobson: It was a pleasure, Danae.

Dr. James Dobson: As a matter of fact, let's go to the heart of the book because the Scriptures tell us that it's God's will that we have people into our homes. The scripture mentions hospitality and Shirley that's what drew you to this project, this writing project.

Shirley Dobson: Absolutely. In fact, in Romans 12:13 it says, "Share with the Lord's people who are in need, practice hospitality." And then again in 1 Peter 4:9, "Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling." And there are many other Scriptures. But one reason that I wanted to do this book with Danae is because hospitality is a lost art. People don't have you into their homes anymore, you meet at a restaurant and you sit at the restaurant and you visit. But there's something magical that happens when you are invited into someone's home and you see the warmth of their home, even if it's for refreshments such as a cup of coffee and a cookie or a piece of pie, there's something that happens there. The Lord's blessing is there.

Danae Dobson: And as my friend Pastor Steve Wingfield says, Jesus used the table talk method throughout his ministry and it resulted in life-changing decisions. So something significant occurs when we break bread together and we experience love and communion around the table.

Shirley Dobson: I think what we're trying to get across to our listeners is that your home is not just a house, it's actually a place of ministry. It needs to be a safe place where people can come in and, like you said, Danae, find love and find stability and find the Lord.

Dr. James Dobson: So it's a tool for evangelism?

Shirley Dobson: Absolutely.

Danae Dobson: It's a sanctuary.

Shirley Dobson: All of us could serve a cup of tea and some cookies, but there's so many hurting people out there that just needed somebody to listen to them or somebody to put an arm around them. And especially in this day and age where we live, there are people that are in a lot of pain. And right on our street, they're not going to tell us, but sometimes when you have them into your home, they'll open up those wounds and let you know.

Dr. James Dobson: Danae, what about men and hospitality? I mean, is this just something for women? I'm sure that the book is intended for women, but what about the men?

Danae Dobson: Interesting you'd ask me that because at Bible study I was explaining to the group that my mom and I were working on a hospitality book for women, and one of the guys spoke up and said, "What about men who like to practice hospitality?" And this particular gentleman is single, he likes to have people over, he likes to plan events. And so yes, men have a responsibility too. Scripture gives us all a command to practice hospitality. It's not just for women.

Dr. James Dobson: And I like the idea of the men and women doing it together. You have another family over that come and the man has a role to play there and so does the woman. I can tell you that it is a fact, children love for their parents to have other families in, especially families with kids. And we're so isolated from each other today, everybody's whack, whacking on the computer and we don't take the time to just be together.

And I mentioned in my book, Bringing Up Boys, that it was not uncommon when I was a child to hear a rap, rap rap on the screen door and there would be somebody there that didn't have an appointment, that hadn't placed that moment into their calendars, and yet they dropped by for a visit. My mother would invite them to come in, she usually had some kind of pie in the refrigerator and she would put a coffee pot on the stove and people seemed to love it, and I loved it as a kid to have visitors that way.

Shirley, because you grew up in a home without a lot of hospitality, there weren't a lot of traditions either. And traditions give meaning and identity to families. It is a way of saying, this is who we are, this is what we do. And traditions are things that are done routinely once a year usually are things that occur at the time of the season. Share at least one of our traditions from the childhood years of our children.

Shirley Dobson: Well, one of our favorite traditions is at Christmastime. In fact, on Christmas Eve after dinner, we gather in the living room with our family, and if we have friends there, they join us, and everyone is given a votive candle. It's not lit. And that represents Jesus who is the light of the world. And we always choose someone to be the candlelighter, it's usually Ryan and Ryan lights the first candle and that person shares a blessing of the previous year and something they would like the Lord to do in their life the following year, for instance, maybe build a closer relationship with someone that you have maybe had a tense relationship with or maybe you want to have a closer walk with the Lord, you want Him to do something special in your life, whatever it is they share. And then that person turns to the next person and lights their candle. And then after the next person has shared, they turn and light the next person's candle until we have gone all the way around the circle.

And the amazing thing is that the presence of the Lord always comes and there are tears, people open their hearts and they share intimate things. And it's like the Lord said, "I see you. I see you trying to honor me." Because Christmas is such a chaotic time with wrapping and baking and shopping, and Jesus just gets left out and after all, it's His special day, it's his birthday. And so I wanted to make it a point to honor Him in our family and that He didn't get forgotten on His special day.

Dr. James Dobson: And that has become a tradition.

Danae Dobson: In fact, I even implemented that in my own life. There have been years in the past where I hosted a Christmas candlelight ceremony for my own friends and it was a very significant time of sharing.

Dr. James Dobson: We're almost out of time, but Shirley, would you, as a way of putting a ribbon, on this talk about having Mammie come to our house at Christmastime, that meant a lot to me and it meant even more to her.

Shirley Dobson: Well, it goes along with Romans 12:13, "Share with the Lord's people who are in need." We have a very close family, and Jim, if you remember, your folks really didn't want outsiders at Christmastime, on Christmas day. They wanted-

Dr. James Dobson: That's my mother. Yeah, she didn't.

Shirley Dobson: ... they just wanted it to be family.

Danae Dobson: Part of their generation.

Shirley Dobson: We became acquainted with an 80-year-old lady at our church, she was a former missionary, and just talking with her, I found out that she had nowhere to go on Christmas Eve. So I came home and I talked to our family and I said, "We really need to have her over." And at first the kids were against it, they said, "Oh, it's our family Christmas and blah, blah, blah." But then they gave in.

Danae Dobson: We thought it would delay the presents.

Dr. James Dobson: Now we're getting to the heart of it.

Shirley Dobson: But anyway, her name was Mammie Hendricks and we had her over and we thought we were going to give to her, but in the long run she gave so much more to us. She brought her scrapbooks over. Probably no one had wanted to see them for years, but she went through them page by page. Everyone had a story on it of her work in the mission fields.

Dr. James Dobson: And she was a widow and her husband was a missionary, so that was an era that was long gone and nobody had asked about it.

Shirley Dobson: Right. And the kids got involved in it and she was really quite a fascinating lady and had quite a ministry. But when she left, she said that that was one of the happiest nights of her life and made me tear up because I didn't realize it meant so much to her, but it did. And when she left, we realized that we got far more than we gave to her, and I just want to encourage our listeners out there, the Lord says He has a tender heart for the orphans and for the widows, to look around in your church and make sure on those special days or any days that you include widows in your hospitality.

Dr. James Dobson: What made that so successful is that we didn't talk about ourselves at all. We focused on Mammie. We all sat, the kids too sat looking at these pictures. They had been missionaries in the Virgin Islands and they had all these photographs of their church and her husband fishing and doing all those things, and she loved being able to talk about those things. We sat there for a couple of hours and it was very meaningful to us, believe it or not.

Danae and Shirley, this is a very good book. Welcome to Our Table: Sharing Favorite Recipes, Inspirational Stories, and Heartwarming Gatherings with Family and Friends.

Danae Dobson: One of my favorite chapters in the book is titled Seasoned Hostesses, and this is a chapter that centers around three women whom I interviewed, and they have all been through adversities of biblical proportion and yet they have held onto their faith and they continue to serve even in the midst of their trials. And their stories are just so touching and so amazing, and I thought it was a great way to end the book. Plus, they shared some of their own hospitality tips after years of experience.

Dr. James Dobson: Danae and Shirley, thank you for coming to be our guests. It's really good to have you here. Both of you have been on Family Talk before and will be here again in the future, but Danae, welcome to Colorado Springs. We're going to get you to stay. We're not even going to allow you to go home.

Danae Dobson: And you know what I'm going to get you to do? Fry me some of that chicken.

Dr. James Dobson: All right. It's a deal. It's a deal.

Danae Dobson: I mean it.

Dr. James Dobson: Okay. Blessings to you guys. I love you both more than you can know and we'll talk again.

Shirley Dobson: Thank you, Jim.

Danae Dobson: Thank you.

Roger Marsh: Well, what heartwarming stories filled with love and laughter. Of course, you've been listening to our own Dr. James Dobson, his wife Shirley and their daughter Danae Dobson, right here on this Thanksgiving Day edition of Family Talk. Now remember the words of Hebrews 13:2, "Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing so, some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it." Whether you're inviting a new person from your church to have dinner with you today along with your family or maybe an old friend that you're having over for board games or a backyard barbecue, if the weather permits, hospitality is an important part of our Christian walk.

Now, if you've been inspired by the stories that you heard today here on Family Talk and you're interested in adding Shirley and Danae's book, Welcome To Our Table, to your home library, you can have a copy sent to your door. The book has the Dobson Family Recipes as well, and also some creative and fun ideas for how to make your home a warm and welcoming place. To reserve your copy of the book, welcome to our Table, just go to our website at drjamesdobson.org/familytalk and then click the link at the bottom of today's program page. Again, that's drjamesdobson.org/familytalk or simply select the resources tab at the top of the page and then select store. And once you're there, search for the book, Welcome to Our Table. We'll be happy to send you a copy as our way of thanking you for your gift of any amount in support of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute. So why not consider getting a couple copies of this book and use one as a gift during Christmastime as well?

Like Shirley Dobson said on today's program, your home is not just a house, it is a place of ministry. That's something we all should remember. And here at Family Talk, you are part of our family and we would absolutely love to hear from you and your stories of giving or receiving hospitality. Go ahead and put them in written form and drop us a line. Our ministry mailing address is The Dr. James Dobson Family Institute, P.O. Box 39000, Colorado Springs, Colorado, the zip code 80949. Along with your stories, feel free to pass along any questions or prayer requests you might have as well. Again, our ministry mailing address is The Dr. James Dobson Family Institute, P.O. Box 39000, Colorado Springs, Colorado, the zip code 80949.

Now, before we leave the air for today, I've got a suggestion for you. Throughout this holiday season, why not pray and ask the Lord if He would like you and your family to invite someone specifically into your home to celebrate with you this holiday season. You never know what a blessing it can be when you practice hospitality.

Well, I'm Roger Marsh and on behalf of Dr. Dobson, his wife, Shirley, his family, and all of us here at Family Talk and The Dr. James Dobson Family Institute, we hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. May God continue to bless you, and may he bless your table and your food, and may it be a time of gathering and gratitude as we honor the Lord in our celebrations this year. Amen.

Announcer: This has been a presentation of the Dr. James Dobson Family Institute.

Dr. James Dobson: It's not the quantity of time that you spend with your children, it's the quality that counts, or is it?

Roger Marsh: Dr. James Dobson for Family Talk.

Dr. James Dobson: Maybe you've heard that argument, that it doesn't matter how much time you spend with your children as long as your few moments together are of high quality, whatever that means. But the logic of that concept seems rather suspect to me. The question is why do we have to choose between those virtues of quantity versus quality? We won't accept that forced choice in any other area of our lives, so why is it relevant only to our children?

Let me give you an example. Let's suppose you've looked forward all day to going to one of the finest restaurants in town, and when you get there, the waiter brings you a menu and you order the most expensive steak dinner in the house. But when the meal arrives, you see this tiny little piece of meat in the center of the plate about one inch square. When you complain about the size of the steak, the waiter says, "Sir, I recognize that the portion is small, but that's the finest corn fed beef money can buy. And after all, it's not the quantity that matters, it's the quality that counts." Well, you would certainly object and for good reason. Both quantity and quality are important in many areas of our lives, including how we relate to children. In fact, the quantity versus quality argument might be a rationalization for giving our children neither.

Roger Marsh: Hear more drjamesdobson.org.

Hi, this is Roger Marsh for The James Dobson Family Institute, a ministry that is completely supported by listeners just like you. Learn how you can stand with us financially in our fight for righteousness in the culture by going to drjamesdobson.org. That's drjamesdobson.org or call toll free 877-732-6825. That's 877-732-6825. Thanks so much for your prayers and your continued financial support of Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk.

Dr. James Dobson: Human hands. They perform marvelous labor related functions, but they also carry great meaning for us emotionally. With the thumb opposite the fingers to facilitate grasping and with the concentration of sensory nerves in the pads for evaluating the texture and the temperature of our world, human hands are a marvel of workable complexity. But hands are much more than well-designed machinery. They carry great significance for us because of what they represent to us in our memory bank. My mother had soft feminine hands. Her touch conveyed love to me in a way that compared with nothing else. What I remember most about my father in my early childhood was the size of his hands, they engulfed mine and made me proud and secure as I trotted along beside him on the street. He used those hands to teach me how to cast with a rod and reel, how to draw and how to paint.

As parents, the pressing question is, how will your children remember your hands? Hopefully, you'll use them to convey warmth and security and protection, or you can use them to provide comfort and affirmation and help, but never for purposes of abuse. If you do your job correctly as parents, then your hands, like my mother's, will leave a lasting legacy of love.

Roger Marsh: To get involved, go to drjamesdobson.org.
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