Backcountry, Barbells & Boys

What do you get when you mix two fitness- and outdoors-minded dads with two moms who are staunch advocates for boys? A freewheeling discussion that touches on everything from fatherhood to weapons play and the current lack of movement in schools.

Janet met Jaremy Day, co-host of the podcast Backcountry & Barbells, when she spoke at an event in Washington state. As a former boy and current dad of 2 boys & a girl, he’s all too familiar with the challenges facing boys today.

His co-host, Joe Szymanek (pronounced Sh-mon-ek), is also a father. He has three young children (one is a boy) and also teaches middle school.

Despite the fact that they are both former boys & current parents of boys, neither Joe nor Jaremy were really aware of the obstacles and challenges that make life difficult for boys — until Joe discovered Christina Hoff Sommers & The War on Boys via Joe Rogan and Jaremy heard Janet speak. Think about that: we are a culture that pins so much blame on individual boys that even men and boys aren’t aware of all of the ways school and society work against boys’ interests. All too often, boys, parents & teachers think the problem lies within the boy, without recognizing the many ways we’ve all contributed to the problem.

For instance, in many schools, students who do not have PE that particular day stand or move for less than one hour a day. (Joe actually calculated this out with his students.) Growing children who NEED movement to develop their bodies and minds are denied the opportunity to move and often punished if they do so out of turn. (Raise your hand if your son has ever gotten in trouble for wiggling or squiggling or refusing to stay on the rug in the classroom.)


In this episode, Janet, Jen, Jaremy & Joe discuss:
  • The value of outdoors time & play
  • The war on boys
  • How schools contribute to boys’ struggles
  • Corporal punishment
  • The influence of coaches
  • Creating a culture of movement (including specific ideas parents & teachers can use at home or in the classroom)
  • Screen time (because a group of parents cannot come together today without touching on screen time!)
  • The plight of high-energy boys
  • Hunting and guns
  • Weapons play
Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:

Backcountry & Barbells — Jaremy & Joe’s podcast — website mentioned at 13:58

NASP –– National Archery in Schools Program

Joe Rogan Experience #724: Christina Sommers — podcast episode mentioned at 5:03

The War Against Boys: How Misguided Policies Are Harming Our Young Men, by Christina Hoff Sommers — book mentioned at 5:43

Hudson Highlands Nature Museum — includes the Grasshopper Grove natural playground mentioned around 37:45