5 Things A Dead Guy Could Teach My Children

what you know

I was about 14 the first time I met my friend Mr. Emerson but I didn’t like him.

Maybe it was because it was my 9th grade English class and I found his essay on Self-Reliance to be dull and uninspiring.

Or maybe it was because I thought a man who had died long ago had nothing useful to offer to modern society, especially one that was as advanced as the one I lived in.

Have I mentioned my children think of my childhood as being the province of ancient technology and old people?

Today I am many years removed from 14 and am happy to say I was wrong to disparage Mr. Emerson’s thoughts and ideas because many of them are timeless.

In fact I have used all of the quotes included in this post with my children, especially the one at the top of this.

It is always in the context of reminding them that if you are going to cite someone  or something you need to understand what you are saying and be able to tell people why it is significant.

That is more important than ever before because during a time when you can Google the answers to questions you need to be able to do more than cut and paste the answer to a question.


One of the most common complaints I hear from other parents is that our children have become too sedentary and that they never disconnect from their electronic devices.

A good walk isn’t just about the physical exercise, it is about the mental side too. It is about taking a moment to be alone with your thoughts and not tethered to something that beeps, whistles or plays music the entire time.


If you don’t believe this you haven’t spent any time with people, especially online.

Sometimes you have to remember that it doesn’t matter if you say the water is boiling the person you are talking to will refuse to acknowledge it even though the aforementioned water has been dumped upon their head.

There are times where you have to be willing to stand alone and accept that others won’t stand with you even though it is obvious.

Be YourselfDon’t be afraid to be your own person. While it is smart to go along with everyone so you can get along there is always a time where it is best to be your own man/woman.

old friend
Solitude is nice but life is meant to be shared with others, especially those who have shared many adventures/experiences with you.

Old friends are invaluable.

learnfrom others

I have been known to make fun of list posts and to suggest they are the low hanging fruit of the blogosphere.

Many are poorly written constructs whose primary purpose is to serve as linkbait to generate a quick burst of traffic for a blog.

I often wonder what the bounce rate is for those posts and how many new readers you obtain by putting those things out.

But I try to remind myself there is no single path to success in the blogosphere and even people we dislike can teach us something useful.

If the premise is to work smarter and not harder than one of the answers is to keep your eyes open to try and see what you can learn from the people you meet.

What do you think?

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  1. Darrell - Modern Father Online April 19, 2015 at 11:36 pm

    I really enjoyed this piece Joshua. You proved that lists aren’t necessarily the bane of the blogging world.

    • Joshua April 21, 2015 at 8:07 am

      Thank you Darrell.

      I have learned quite a bit from some list posts, they aren’t all bad. Unfortunately some lazy bloggers see them as an easy way to game the system and they put together posts that are poorly constructed.

  2. Larry April 19, 2015 at 8:02 pm

    I studied the transcendentalists in Grad School.
    Trust thyself.

    • Joshua April 21, 2015 at 8:05 am

      If I was to go back to school I think the transcendalists and I would have a different relationship than before. Trust thyself and the strings of ‘my’ heart feels entirely different now than when I was 14.

      Did you like them?

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