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

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Episode #44 – Healthy Kids!

Obesity is a real problem with kids today.  We go through and give our ‘guys opinion’ on how to keep kids healthy and happy.

As dads it all seems simple.  Make them go outside and dont let them eat too much much.  It all comes down to this – ‘Be the Parent!’

We are oversimplifying of course.  Families are busier today than ever and both parents work in a lot of families.  It takes effort to make a real meal every night and even more effort to get kids away from video games or the Disney Channel.

Here are our big points to ponder.  Most of these seem obvious:

  • Make them go outside
  • Minimize eating out
  • Dont let them drink huge sodas
  • Be reasonable about the food you keep in the house
  • Fruits and vegetables – make them eat at least some
  • Excercise doesnt have to mean a routine at the gym – get them involved in sports, go on walks, play kickball!

In other news

  • Mark is in St Louis – The arch is cool!
  • Matt wants the new xbox
  • We are all jealous of John’s basement
  • We are going to bring rants back – repeats welcome

Thanks for listening!

Mark

Episode #42 – Politics ‘OFF THE LEASH’ Part 1

The big political episode.  Can you handle it!  Actually it wasnt all that crazy.  We went ‘lightning round’ and tore through topics in ‘town hall’ style.  Here were the hot topics we covered:

  • Gun Control – Matt and John are pro gun and therefore anti gun control.  Mark hates guns, but realizes that the laws are pretty dumb and will never achieve anything
  • Death Penalty – John and Mark are pro.  Matt wasnt sure.
  • Family/Child Support/Adoption – Matt started us off by saying our adoption rules cause potential couples to adopt children from other countries rather than here.  Mark agreed – Parental rights are important, but we go too far.  The child has rights too.  John took it more as a child support therefore a govt support issue and you KNOW how he feels about that…
  • Immigration – We all agreed that we should just let more people in.  As for amnesty, we were all against.  Let more people in but only legal immigration.
  • Gay Marriage – Why does anyone care?  Two people love each other and pay their taxes, their gender shouldnt matter.  John says marriage can be defined as a union of a man and a woman but only by religion, not by the government.
  • Foreign Policy – Why do we give money to so many other countries.  We all agreed that this did not achieve much.  Matt did not want military bases around the globe but Mark and John disagreed.  We all felt that the recent wars in the middle east are/were unwinnable.
  • Abortion – We are all against in our hearts of course.  Mark felt it was murder.  We all agreed however that any law forbidding abortion would cause more trouble than good.  John did not feel that the government should pay for it.
  • Marijuana – No brainer.  It is no worse than alcohol – make it legal.  So much effort goes into enforcement, so many people arrested and so much potential tax revenue wasted.

We actually agreed for almost everything.  Go figure.  It was a great time.  Also moments and a great opening parody song.

Thanks for listening,

Mark

Engineering Fatherhood Episode 42

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Episode #41 – Women in Science w/ Special Guest – Dr. Bob Cook!

We finally brought in an expert!  Dr. Bob Cook, professor of Computer Science at Georgia Southern University.  Dr. Bob has been teaching college students about technology for over 35 years!  In addition to GSU, Dr. Bob has taught at Ole Miss, UVa and the University of Wisconsin.

Dr. Cook’s take on the issue of women in science and engineering was an eye opener.  He started by reminding us that in the later part of the 20th century, we (the USA) were building GREAT things like nuclear power plants, interstate highways, and bridges.  There was also the space race.  These were inspiring projects that drove a lot of people into technical fields.  He suggested a few inspiring projects that might reignite the spark and drive new engineers of both genders back to school.  He best idea (I thought) was an underwater city.  Sort of like a moon colony, but somewhere in (under?) the Pacific.  Dr. Cook also suggested that the way we teach science pre college might be a factor.  He suggested more ‘hands on’ learning in the technical fields such as experiments and field trips.

We also talked a lot about ‘Nature vs. Nurture.’  This is an age old question.  Bob was more on the side of nurture, suggesting that part of the problem was that we hand our daughters dolls right away and dress them in pink.  Certainly this is a factor, but Mark and Matt felt that mother nature’s influence was stronger.  We have both seen boy children gravitate to cars and hammers while girls will gravitate towards dolls and kitchens.  This is simply based on observation of my own children and their friends.  Certainly these are not hard and fast rules, just gender statistical tendencies.  To be on the safe side though, you might want to give your daughter a calculator to go along with that ‘polly pocket’.

Then Mark went to nsf.gov (http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/wmpd/2013/digest/theme4.cfm) and read off some statistics.  Women made up a huge percentage nurses, dietitions and teachers and an incredibly small percentage of engineers.  This is the heart of the issue.  How do we fix this?  Is it really a problem or just indicative of gender differences?  Matt felt that any sort of strong manipulation (read – affirmative action) was simply social engineering.  Mark agreed.  John was smart and stayed silent.  I think we could all agree that:

  • There certainly should not be any barriers to women in technical fields. We need to make SURE of that
  • We as a country (and a race) need to get our act together and start building some cool, inspiring stuff!
  • Pre college teaching methods for math and science could use some help.

Regardless, it was a GREAT episode and fun was had by all.  Thanks to Dr. Cook for joining us.  Thanks to YOU for downloading.  Thanks for subscribing. Thanks for giving us 5 stars on iTunes, but MOST OF ALL – Thanks for spending an hour with us!

TTFN

Mark

Engineering Fatherhood Episode 41

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Dr. Bob with the grandkids – Alex, Molly and Luke

Episode #39 – Christmas Round Up and Kids Birthday Parties

Welcome to 2013!   Hear about the best toys of Christmas by age.   Did you know that power wheels (battery powered kids vehicles – Jeeps in our cases) are actually motorized vehicles in the eyes of the law?  That means they must obey the speed limit of course.  And as the safety nerd points out, they are insurance nightmares.  Should we put a jeep on a trampoline and really blow his mind?  Skylanders are another big hit with both dads and children.  Musical gifts such as drums and guitars are also big hits.

Then we covered birthday parties.  Matt is going to have a house party!  This is an awesome way to go.  All families should do this at least once.  It will probably be a real pain, but they will always have the fun memories.  Mark had some of these in the past and said they were fun, but they were worth it in their way.  So… Go Matt!  I hope the Jackster has a great time!  We decided that gift bags were ‘too much’.  When they are young and the classes are small, it is appropriate to invite the whole class, but when they get older (elementary school) it is probably too much.  Mark does ‘sleepover parties’ with the older kids and that seems to make the kids happy while still keeping within budget/hassle limits.

That is all.  We are working to make some improvements in 2013.  Mark vows to get more guests and to find better music.  Matt will round up the listeners.

So there you go.  Another fine episode of Engineering Fatherhood.  Have a great week!

Mark

Engineering Fatherhood Episode 39

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.

Mark

Three Brothers

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Episode #37 – Sibling Rivalry

Matt and I were arguing about who would write this, but I (Mark) won…HA!  Its mine… All mine!  (I am doing the final edit … it’s mine (Matt))

Sibling rivalry is not simply when your children are competitive, it is when they bug each other senselessly and thus argue and thus annoying you, the parent.  We listened to some funny examples of this!  Of course they are only funny in retrospect.  Rivalry is a real pain, especially for parents of children close together in age.  Here are the solutions we came up with:

  • Let them work it out – If you can stand it, this is a good option (ear plugs are cheap).
  • Separate them – This is not always possible, but when you can it is nice.
  • Watch secretly so you can see who the instigator is – The instigator will likely get all lawyer on you and say ‘I was only waving my arms near her’.  Stick with the intent and not the law.  If one child was essentially starting the whole thing, they should get in trouble.
  • Let kids keep ownership of their possessions – This is a touchy one.  The fighting commonly occurs when one child has something the other wants.  Still, if one child ‘owns’ the desired toy, you have to let them judge whether to share.  (Here you can listen to John moan about his boss mustang hot wheels car that Mark ruined…)

As always, we did not solve all the problems relating to sibling rivalry, but we worked through it and gave some good advice I think.

Rants, moments, etc.  And lots of fun was had by all,

Thanks for listening – give us a like on facebook (Engineering Fatherhood) or subscribe on iTunes.  Also – send us a guest rant.  We love those…

Mark