Dr. Dobson’s speech wows 4,000 at Toronto’s Convention Centre

Several thousand people, cordially greeted by 100 volunteers poured into the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on December 5 to spend an “Evening In December” with Dr. James Dobson, founder and President of the non-profit Christian organization Focus on the Family.

The excellent 20 minute video on the history of Focus on the Family since its founding in 1977 showed its beginnings with Dr. Dobson and a few helpers to its present day headquarters in Colorado which houses a 215,000 sq. ft.  Administration Building a 150,000 sq. ft. distribution centre mailing 130,000 packages a day.

Dr. Dobson’s concern for the family resulted in his resignation from the staff at Los Angeles’ Children’s Hospital to launch an organization to help support families.  Seventeen years later Dr. Dobson has written 13 books including the Strong-Willed Child, Straight Talk to Men and Their Wives, and Love Must Be Tough. Focus on the Family produces his nationally syndicated radio programs heard on hundreds of radio stations across North America and magazines for the whole family, children, teens, teachers, parents, physicians.

Dr. Dobson’s inspiration was his own father and the great love and respect they had for each other.  His father, a praying man, was known for wearing out the toes of his shoes before the soles.

Focus on the Family has been very vocal in government policies to protect the family.  Presidents Reagan and Bush, both interviewed by Dr. Dobson, expressed gratitude for the organization’s support for their family policies.

Spontaneous applause broke out during the video presentation when Dr. Dobson was shown passionately addressing a large crowd, that he would never vote for anyone who would ever take the life of even one innocent human being.  He does not vote for parties.

When Dr. Dobson came on stage he thanked everyone for coming since they could have chosen to see Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones playing in town.  “If you want folks, I can take off my shirt and dance around, after all Mick Jagger is about my age.”  His hour-long talk was filled with humorous anecdotes about family life (his own included) and some very poignant, tear-filled stories.  He read excerpts from letters received at Focus on the Family.

The main message of his talk he geared towards the men in the audience for men need to realize their vital role as husbands and fathers.

One of his books What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew about Women, was written to help men understand women.

“Sigmund Freud spent 30 years studying women and then wondered what it was that women really want.  Sigmund Freud didn’t talk to my wife Shirley.  She could have told him in 15 minutes what women want!”

1.Women are incurable romantics. On Valentine’s Day of their first year of marriage, Dr. Dobson worked at the hospital until 10 p.m., then stopped by to visit his parents on his way home.  Meanwhile Shirley had a candlelight dinner with a heart-shaped cake waiting at home “Have you men ever come home to a ‘buzz-saw?’” he asked.  He didn’t forget Valentine’s Day the following year!  After buying their first home, Dr. Dobson, proudly brought home for Shirley’s birthday a barbeque table and four seats on the top of their Volkswagen.  He was left in dismay as she burst into tears and ran in the house.  He learned from experience what gifts Shirley likes.

2. Security, not success and achievement, is important to women.  Women are not impressed with their husband’s promotions when it requires them to be away from home for long hours.

3. Women are more drawn to spiritual things than are men.  The most common complaint Dr. Dobson has heard from women about their husbands is that they wish their husbands would take seriously the spiritual leadership in the family.  He stated that 52% of Evangelicals do not believe in moral absolutes and “If you are feeding this kind of watery soup to your children, the culture will take them straight to hell.”

At this point Dr. Dobson’s talk became very serious as he related one of the most profound incidents in his own life.  A 40-year-old retired basketball star, who had five years earlier given his life to Jesus, collapsed while playing basketball with Dr. Dobson and died in his arms.  He had the sad task of telling the wife and children of his friend’s death.

Then Dr. Dobson had a heart-to-heart talk with his own son Ryan about what was really important to him.  Whatever Ryan did with his life Dr. Dobson would be proud, but most importantly on the day of resurrection Dr. Dobson would be looking in Heaven for Ryan and he wanted to make sure that Ryan understood that he must “Be There.”

That was the purpose in Ryan’s life to “Be There.”  And to everyone in the audience he said “Folks, let’s say that together, ‘Be There.’”