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Josh Misner, PhD

Mindful Living in a Distracted World

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The Gift of Presence

The Damaging, Dangerous Illusion of Choice

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All too often, I’ve been in the position of either participating in or being a spectator to the following arguments:

  • Addiction is a choice. Why should my tax dollars go toward providing rehab and therapy for someone who chose to get high and party?
  • A lot of people choose to be homeless. I don’t know why, but maybe they’re just lazy and don’t want to work for a living. McDonald’s is always hiring, so I can’t understand why they don’t just get a job instead of holding a cardboard sign and begging all day.
  • I don’t believe in tipping waitstaff, baristas, or delivery drivers. They chose to work in a profession that pays horribly and relies on tips. If they don’t like it, just go find a better job.

Perhaps you have as well.

While each argument has numerous points deserving of debate, there’s a common denominator running through each that arguments fail to address: the illusion of choice. Continue reading “The Damaging, Dangerous Illusion of Choice”

Opportunity of a Lifetime: Sometimes More than a Clichè

Image may contain: ocean, sky, cloud, table, twilight, outdoor and water

August 2003: It was my third semester of college as an undergrad, and I was starting at a new college. My first class was a speech class at 7-bloody-30 in the freaking morning on a Tuesday. Regardless, as I attempted to be a good student, I showed up early. Problem was, even at 15 minutes early, I was still the only one there.

If any of you vaguely recall 2003, you might remember that, back then, cell phones had one or two main functions: calling and texting. Sure, some came with simple games or ludicrously slow access to the internet, but those were only for the uber-wealthy, and that was most certainly not a group of which I was a member. Continue reading “Opportunity of a Lifetime: Sometimes More than a Clichè”

The Greatest Picture I Never Took

Image result for parents on phones at concert

On the eve before my youngest son’s first day of second grade at a new school, I spent the better part of an hour cuddled up next to him before bed, listening to him as he discussed his fears and worries with me, including everything from getting lost, to having a mean teacher, to dealing with playground bullies and worrying about whether the kids at the new school would accept him or not. Continue reading “The Greatest Picture I Never Took”

Everything I Know About Forgiveness, I Learned From My Dog

Allow me to begin this story by emphatically declaring that I am much more of a cat person than a dog person. I’ve always identified with the following quote from Robert De Niro’s character in Meet the Parents:

You see, Greg, when you yell at a dog, his tail will go between his legs and cover his genitals, his ears will go down. A dog is very easy to break, but cats make you work for their affection. They don’t sell out the way dogs do.

I genuinely admire the way I have to earn a cat’s love and affection. In fact, I have a cat at this moment who did not warm up to me for at least a few years, but once I earned her trust slowly and methodically, I became her best friend (until I rub her belly, and then all bets are off). Continue reading “Everything I Know About Forgiveness, I Learned From My Dog”

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”

Why I Will Never Carpe Diem Again

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“Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.” The moment I heard those words fall from Mr. Keating’s lips in Dead Poets Society, I felt myself come alive. Even as a headstrong teenager, I knew Keating was right, and I set out to suck the marrow out of life, to seize each day, and to make it extraordinary. From that day forward, back in 1989, I committed myself to those two familiar words, made immortal through a near-extinct language: carpe diem. Continue reading “Why I Will Never Carpe Diem Again”

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”

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