Josh Misner, PhD

Mindful Living in a Distracted World


Striking Realizations

5 Steps Toward Parental Perfection

What do nearly all parents have in common with Heath Ledger’s Joker?  Take a look at the following quote:

a8cbd262a627a304e694027ae9f5b65f4c090c3145f558322492098b8d2bec2dWhat this quote from Ledger’s legendary portrayal of Batman’s nemesis does is perfectly encapsulate the essence of chaos, and what this has in common with most of us is the pursuit of perfection, for most of us wouldn’t know what to do with it, IF we ever caught it, but continue to chase it, we must.

Earlier today (thanks in part to‘s post on Hindsight Parenting and how wise parents become when looking at our experiences in retrospect), I asked my wife what, if anything, she would advise our children someday, when the time comes for them to become parents.  Her response was a brilliantly simple as it was beautifully profound. Continue reading “5 Steps Toward Parental Perfection”

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.


Someone my son can believe in

Thinking back to my childhood, I scour the recesses of my fuzzy mind to retrieve a list of my male heroes and role models, summed up here:

  • Indiana Jones: To me, Indy was the quintessential action hero.  Witty when necessary, but more often than not, only as wordy as he had to be, Indy exemplified the balance between intellectualism (come on, he was an archaeology prof by day) and brawn.  We saw Indy get hurt, both emotionally and physically.  He was human in a way that other action heroes failed to achieve, and somehow, as a child, I believed in him.  More to the point, I believed that my pursuit of intellectual prowess would eventually lead me to live a life like his. Continue reading “Someone my son can believe in”

10 Lessons I Want to Leave My Children

Andy Smithson, at TRU Parenting, recently wrote an inspiring list, titled “10 Things I Need to Teach My Children Before They Leave Home,” and it got me thinking.

If I sat down to compile a list of the 10 most important things that I, as their father (not just their parent in general), would want to leave them, not just by the time they leave home, which would be ideal, of course, but as lifelong lessons that will stick with them and be passed on to the next generation as well.

So, I did.  I’m sitting here now, reflecting on those 10 most important lessons, and here they are: Continue reading “10 Lessons I Want to Leave My Children”

Accepting the emptiness that pride provides

When I was about six or seven years old, my dad asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  A harmless question for sure, but one nobody had ever asked me before.  No one had ever taken an interest in finding out what I wanted out of life.

I mulled the thought over as I cut my pancakes, and the first thing I could think of was, “A judge.”  The reason in my mind for such a goal was that I wanted to be in charge of everyone and everything.  I wanted things my way.

From this early age, I had a heavy-handed sense of ambition, which was really more of an unchecked ambition, run amok.  Without much in the way of parental guidance for the rest of my childhood, my ambition continued to grow without boundaries or limitations, so I found myself always wanting more.

I would set goals for myself, and once those goals were attained, I was done with them, moving on to the next goal.  Nobody, and I do mean nobody got in the way of my goals, and nobody told me where I should stop or worse, what I could not do. Continue reading “Accepting the emptiness that pride provides”

The Bus Ride & That Smile

At the risk of submitting student grades for the week late for one of the universities generous enough to continue to employ my services, I closed up the ol’ Macbook today in favor of taking my six year-old son and his cousin to a special event.

For the first time in many years, our community brought back the excitement of hydroplane racing.  If you haven’t seen these machines race before, it is truly something to behold, as these drivers harness themselves into a fiberglass and carbon fiber contraption with a turbojet engine strapped to it, searing ahead at speeds of well over 200 miles per hour.  The sound of them alone is well worth the trip.


Continue reading “The Bus Ride & That Smile”

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