Episode #47 – The lost art of play!

Have you ever wondered what happened to ‘cowboys and indians’, cap guns, stamp collecting, kick the can, etc.?  In this episode we discuss the things WE played as kids, what was different, what we should bring back to todays children and what we should leave back in the ’70s.  Here is the quick summary:

  • Cowboys and Indians is no longer politically correct.  We frown on kids playing with toy guns.  Seen a cap gun lately?  We decided that kids will play this sort of violence no matter what.  Today it takes the form of nerf dart guns and super soakers and that is just fine with us.
  • Collecting stamps, coins, baseball cards, etc.  We agreed that these activities were pretty boring.  We understand why kids don’t do them any more.
  • Backyard Sports.  Kids are in so many activities now.  These activities are all structured with adults (referees) telling them what to do.  What happened to kick the can, kickball, touch football and the like?  This is one we would like to bring back.  Not only is it exercise, but kids learn to work things out amongst themselves.
  • Frisbee – John’s family loves this.  We need to do more of this.
  • Pen Pals – We had a short discussion on the demise of snail mail in a world of texting, instagram and facebook.
  • Boxes – we all swear by them.  Matt’s facebook pics are full of fantastic box fort creations (couch cushions, blankets and air mattresses too).  This art is alive an well in all the Owens’ homes. Is it alive in yours?

It was good to get back in the swing of things and catch up with my bros.  Thanks for listening! Mark


Episode #46 – Date Night

We all know how important it is to spend time with our special ladies (you know who you are).  This is one of those things that we all agree is important, but that is still difficult to do.  Here are some of the ideas we had:

  • It is great to set a consistent time (hopefully weekly).  This is hard, but if you can pull it off (John does) it is great!
  • Babysitters are key – cultivate good ones.  Ask neighbors, etc.
  • Matt is young and has a social life so he and Mary also do stuff with friends.  This is good, but not as good as a date night.
  • If you are desperate, you can have date night at home.  Just feed the kids early and whack them on the head with a rubber mallet at bedtime.  Then you and your wife can have a nice dinner and talk or watch a movie.
  • John suggested going out to ‘watch the stars’.  You can bring your food and just sit out in the car somewhere and talk and munch.

All this and more.  Mark even added a live song at the end that just might make you cry.


Episode #45 – Independance

When is your child old enough to stay home alone?  When is your child old enough to babysit?  We discuss these and other issues relating to children and independence.  Sort of a fourth or July special… This is Mark’s topic.  Alex (age 12) stays alone after school sometimes and now that the summer has started up, he can go to the pool on his own with his friends.  We know all this depends on the maturity of your child, but we discussed it in depth anyway.  Here was the breakdown by ‘milestone’ –

  • Going to a public bathroom on their own – I suppose this depends on where the bathroom is.  A bathroom at the airport – no way!  At you favorite restaurant with you standing outside?  Maybe.  I suppose this is in the age of 6-10 yrs
  • Staying home alone – They need to know your cell number and be able to use the phone certainly.  Also, there is a difference between leaving them for an hour in the afternoon and leaving them alone at night.  I think we pegged this one at 10-12 yrs.
  • Babysitting – It is easier if they are simply watching a younger sibling.  They are in their own house and they know the routine.  Watching another person’s child is a whole different ball game.  We found references to children as young as 11 babysitting.  The Red Cross class is open to kids starting at age 12.  I think age 12 is too young.  Maybe 13-14 is a good age to start under favorable circumstances.
  • Staying in the car while you run into a store – This is tough one.  Matt had a situation with a sleeping baby.  We all know you are never supposed to wake a sleeping baby.  We had differing views on this one, but we all decided that society definitely frowns on young children left in a car.  We all agreed that it should be locked and the keys should not be in it.  The controversy came up when mark read some guidelines on the internet that said it was illegal to leave children under the age of 16 in a motor vehicle.  This seemed ridiculous to all of us.  If a child is old enough to babysit another human being, they should be able to sit in a car safely.

So there you go.  Three real life dads giving another wise opinion on something they know very little about.  Independence is good for a child.  If you shelter them too much they will have no idea how to act when they leave the nest.  This is why kids have so much trouble going off to college if they have never had any independence before.  No one wants to take risks, but at some point you need to trust your child. Moments are include but no rants.  We will bring them back soon though. Enjoy! Mark

Engineering Fatherhood Episode 45

Amazon Link – Help Support Engineering Fatherhood

Hello all,

I am trying to set this up so that we can support EF with all our Amazon purchases.  This is a hot topic for WordPress blogs because Wordpress does not allow merchant websites, but I found the following text on their Affliliate links Support Page (http://en.support.wordpress.com/affiliate-links/)

There are exceptions to this policy. Amazon.com and other select affiliate links are permitted so long as they are not the primary content of the blog in question. Other exceptions are made on a case-by-case basis.

Obviously the primary purpose of this blog is to support the awesome Podcast – Engineering Fatherhood.  The Amazon Banner is just a side thingy that might (at best) help us to pay for the WordPress annual hosting fees.


If you buy stuff from Amazon (we know you do!) and you want to support EF, just click through the banner on the right before making your purchase.  Its as easy as that!  Thanks Amazon. I wish I had done this before xmas!



Episode #38 – Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from EF HQ!  We talk about Christmas preparations, Christmas letter dos and don’ts, how great Amazon is and all that.  Oh and that dratted elf!  Tune in for some quick dorky fun.

Also, listen to our moments and rants.

We Owens Brothers thank you for listening all year and wish you a very dorky Christmas.


Three Brothers

Three Brothers

Luke and Emily are Fine

Hey all,

Just a quick update to let you know that Luke totally bounced back Thursday and was almost his old self by the time I came back from work.  I just got a text from Matt saying Emily is doing well too. 

Just thought we might have worried some folks…


P.S. remember – no matter how many germs we have in our houses, you cannot get sick from listeing to EF