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Josh Misner, PhD

Mindful Living in a Distracted World

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Setting Standards

23 Father’s Days, and These 7 Lessons Are All I Have to Show For It

A dozen years passed between the first time I witnessed the birth of one of my children and the last time I cut an umbilical cord. I was a mere 19 years old the first time, blissfully ignorant, arrogant, and ready to take on the world, while at 31, for my last child’s birth, I had grown, changed, and matured considerably. In fact, I was barely the same person.

This Father’s Day marks the 23rd time I’ve claimed my right to the holiday, and although my entire world changed between the first and last birth, even more has changed from the last birth until today (almost exactly a decade). Continue reading “23 Father’s Days, and These 7 Lessons Are All I Have to Show For It”

Chatting About Fatherhood With Masterchef’s Stephen Lee

MASTERCHEF: L-R: Contestant Stephen and Judge Gordon Ramsay in the all-new “Top 22 Compete” episode of MASTERCHEF airing Wednesday, May 27 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. Greg Gayne / FOX. © 2015 FOX Broadcasting Co.
MASTERCHEF: L-R: Contestant Stephen and Judge Gordon Ramsay in the all-new “Top 22 Compete” episode of MASTERCHEF airing Wednesday, May 27 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. Greg Gayne / FOX. © 2015 FOX Broadcasting Co.
What is it like working with Gordon Ramsay? I always heard he is extra-coarse in front of the camera, but off-camera, one of the most compassionate and caring fathers we could hope to see. Do you get that from working around him?

Continue reading “Chatting About Fatherhood With Masterchef’s Stephen Lee”

Suppressing the Screen to Set the Standard

is-screen-addiction-realTake a look at the following litany of quotes taken from actual interactions I’ve had with people close to me over the last week or so:

  • “Hang on a sec, I have to check us in.”
  • “Do that again, I want to get a picture of it!”
  • “That is so funny! I absolutely have to post that!”
  • “Of course I was listening! I just had to check to see if an important email came through yet.”

I’d like to think we all have those people in our lives. We all know these types – the ones so addicted to their phones or tablets that they actually plan their time around their interaction with the screen. Continue reading “Suppressing the Screen to Set the Standard”

Let’s Talk About Sex (and Puberty): No More Fear

10847965_10100239826338173_8101031413829458817_nWe showed up at the elementary school in our pajamas, my daughter and I. The smell of freshly delivered pizza wafted through the air, drawing us into the lunchroom, which would soon be overflowing with about 30 giddy, energetic fifth-grade girls, along with 30 quietly nervous, fidgeting parents.

The event attended was called “Girls Night Out,” which was described as a “...program to offer information on the growing up process, as well as some preparation for the changes that will be taking place in the students’ lives and their bodies.” Continue reading “Let’s Talk About Sex (and Puberty): No More Fear”

The 12 Days of Fatherhood

Jonathan Safran Foer wrote, “A few days after we came home from the hospital, I sent a letter to a friend, including a photo of my son and some first impressions of fatherhood. He responded, simply, ‘Everything is possible again.’ It was the perfect thing to write because that was exactly how it felt.”

Parenthood is all about possibility and new beginnings. Many of us, myself included, may have grown up in less than ideal conditions when it comes to the father-child bond, but that doesn’t mean that those patterns have to continue. Each and every day we wake up again, we have the opportunity in front of us to do it all over again, or as the Auschwitz survivor, Viktor Frankl said, we can “Live as if you were living a second time, and as though you had acted wrongly the first time.”

Personally, I am a walking example of this. Being one of four children myself, as well as the youngest, I grew up pretty independent and fending for myself. Though I didn’t suffer or starve, I found myself on many occasions craving something from my parents that they weren’t equipped to provide, and that was the gift of presence. Ever since becoming a father myself, now a father of four, I have seen firsthand the impact a father’s presence can have upon his children.

In today’s media, you may read that fathers are more important now than ever before. I believe that is misleading. Fathers have always been important throughout history, fathers are important today, and fathers will continue to be important tomorrow.

Today, I’d like to share with you a plan I call “The 12 Days of Fatherhood.” These are simple, down-to-earth activities that we can all do with kids of any age, once a day, starting on the 14th of December. I have done all of them before, by the way, but I plan on sharing with you stories from my experience on how they have impacted my relationship with my children. If we merely spend a fraction of our time committing to the once-a-day activities on this list, that minuscule investment of time will have greater returns on your investment than you could ever imagine.

Continue reading “The 12 Days of Fatherhood”

A Testament to Teachers & Social Media

About a month or so ago, I wrote an article in praise of my sixth-grade teacher, Mr. Ray, partly because I was reminiscing about him with my daughter, explaining how he played a vital father-figure-esque role in my childhood, but also partly because of a case of mistaken identity.  At my daughter’s behest, I Googled Mr. Ray and found what I thought was his obituary, so I did what any of his former students would have done, considering his profound influence on our lives: I eulogized him on my site.

Not more than a few hours later, I received a message from Mr. Ray, correcting my blunder and noting that it was his brother’s obituary that I found.  See, his brother was also a teacher in the same city where I grew up, but also looked remarkably like the man I thought I remembered, so the mistake was understandable.  Nevertheless, I retracted the article immediately and rewrote it, but that was only the beginning of the story.

Today, I had the chance to spend some time with Mr. Ray, who still teaches elementary school to this day.  We met at a local coffee shop and bakery, settled into a dark corner on a couch in the back of the house, and lobbed stories back and forth in an effort to catch-up.  We swapped tales about life since our last meeting, nearly 30 years ago, and after that, we fished out our old stories from the dark recesses of our minds, dusted them off, and reminisced about playing battle ball, butts up, and ruthlessly difficult research-based trivia games.

As I reflect on the experience even now, I feel as though the meeting may have been a surreal dream, because it is almost unbelievable that, what started as a leisurely conversation with my daughter on our way to school about a month ago ended with a reunion among mentor and mentee, where I was able to introduce my children to the man from whom many of their lessons in morality, sportsmanship, and character originated.

We truly live in an amazing time, in which we have the powerful potential to connect with one another by way of the very tools that also threaten to separate us.  Let my story be a reminder that social media is a tool, just like a hammer.  As the old saying goes, to the little boy with a hammer, everything looks like a nail, but to the mindful carpenter, the hammer can be used to create beauty.

If we are mindful of how we wield this tool, we may allow it fill our lives with the same grace and wonder as this stranger-than-fiction story provided me.

To Mr. Ray, thank you for allowing me to tell you a little bit about how much you meant to me, while I still had the chance.

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Ditch the Agenda: A Father’s Day Challenge

research_agenda

If any of you are like me (which I’d like to think most people are, otherwise, I’m simply an anomaly), then whenever you spend time with your loved ones, there is an agenda.  For example, whenever my daughter asks me to perform one of Mike Adamick’s Awesome Science Projects with her, in the back of my mind, I’m thinking about the next thing I have to do, once we’re done, like grading assignments in my online classes or mowing the lawn before it gets dark.  So what, you might ask?  We all do this.  Well, here’s the problem with it… Continue reading “Ditch the Agenda: A Father’s Day Challenge”

Write Your Own Obituary

Deep in thoughtThe topic of death terrifies most of us. Facing our own mortality is neither a pleasant thought, nor is it one that most of us would choose to entertain on a daily basis. Even as I type the word “death,” I am suddenly reminded of the absolute truth that all of us will die, including myself and all of those whom I love — or not.

With this week’s passing of Westboro’s infamous Fred Phelps, I am reminded once again that death comes for us all. It matters not how we live our lives, for death is an immutable event and one of life’s few universal commonalities, though the chosen trajectories of each life may dictate the timing of our day of ultimate atonement. Continue reading “Write Your Own Obituary”

A New Definition of Leadership

Female Leader

Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, recently proposed that we ban the word “bossy.”  Her reasoning?

“When a little boy asserts himself, he’s called a ‘leader.’ Yet when a little girl does the same, she risks being branded ‘bossy.’ Words like bossy send a message: don’t raise your hand or speak up. By middle school, girls are less interested in leading than boys—a trend that continues into adulthood.”

A little over a month ago, I posted a quote from Sandberg on my website’s Facebook page: “I want every little girl who is told she is bossy to be told she has leadership skills.”  The post ignited a firestorm of commentary.  However, my reasoning behind the post was for my daughters.  I want them to grow up in a world that values their leadership skills, especially considering the level of time and effort I am investing in teaching them these skills.  As a professor whose doctorate is in leadership studies, it was only a matter of time before I waded into the issue. Continue reading “A New Definition of Leadership”

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