A Future Where Boys and Men Feel Less Pain and Cause Less Harm with Jake Stika
Casey Berglund: [00:00:00] Hi there. And welcome back to the purpose map podcast. This is Casey Berglund, your host, and the founder for the indwell. And thank you for being here for this series that is man focused, focused on men and masculinity and stories from men. As they navigate purpose and life and healing and awakening.
Casey Berglund: Today's guest is Jake. Sticka a friend of mine we've known each other for years now. Jake is one of the co-founders of a incredible company called next gen men, which is really in support of creating a different future for boys and men. I hadn't spoken with Jake in a little while and he popped into my mind immediately when I got the idea for this series.
Casey Berglund: And I hopped online to just like briefly catch myself up on what I'm may have missed in the last little bit, when it comes to next gen men. And [00:01:00] I saw right in the header of their website, these were. A future where boys and men feel less pain and cause less harm. And I was like, oh Jake, yep. Let's get you in.
Casey Berglund: So it was delightful. He happened to be traveling into Calgary lives in British Columbia. And, uh, we got to sit down in person in our office space and just jam on all things, men and masculinity. And he speaks to the. Issues that men face with such eloquence. You know, this is his life's work, so, you know, tune in and, uh, I just love how he also.
Casey Berglund: Speaks with a, uh, a grace and, and a request for grace, for men as they transform and heal. And as we work together to create a different planet, a different paradigm, a different way of working and being with each other, I'll let you. Skip [00:02:00] right into the conversation. I hope you enjoy this and definitely tune in right to the end.
Casey Berglund: Um, all kinds of ways that you can engage with Jake and his team and their company further at the end. So I can't wait to hear what you think and we'll talk to you very soon.
Jake Stika: You were saying you were getting excited about how men want to heal. Men want to heal and, you know, we work. With boys all through kind of like men and, um, you know, there's like, you S it starts with boys and you think about the spaces that they're offered, usually sports that's about it.
Jake Stika: Yeah. Right. Maybe there's some geeky, you know, Dungeons and dragons type stuff for, you know, but [00:03:00] like, there's not a lot of. Empowerment. Self-reflection, self-awareness questioning those kinds of things. Those pieces don't exist, but when invited into those spaces is a bit awkward at first, but they're really excited that someone is asking them how they feel what's going on for them, those kinds of things.
Jake Stika: Right. And if you think about men, that was, they never had that often. Yeah. And, um, they lived their whole lives a certain way. And then in the field of kind of engaging men and boys work, um, there's what you call sensitizing experiences, which is job loss, divorce, um, mental health crises, et cetera. And that's when a lot of men kind of awaken to their social conditioning and it's trauma.
Jake Stika: Right. And. Some of them dig deeper into, um, you know, the, the trenches that have been wrought and some of them try to, [00:04:00] to climb out of it. Um, one of the few sensitizing experiences that is a positive, uh, one for men. Having a child and it's like, you're handed this tiny human being and you're told here program this, and if it's a girl, they start thinking, oh, well, I got to Polish the shotgun because boys are crappy rather than like, let's change boys and the culture of boyhood.
Jake Stika: And if it's a boy, then it's like, Worry, will they be able to survive the gauntlet of boyhood or I'm going to make sure they're tough enough to get through it. And so. You know that like desire to heal, um, often comes on the back of trauma. It doesn't just come, you know, out of just waking up one day or those kinds of things.
Jake Stika: Um, many of us don't even recognize our patterns that we've kind of worn out and whatnot. So, um, yeah, it's, [00:05:00] it's real though. But when, when given or offered the space, uh it's it's there.
Casey Berglund: What do you notice? With the work that you do with boys, like you said that they, they want to be asked how they feel like, can you break that down and share maybe an example or an experience of what you've witnessed or even how, what you do, how that serves boys, like, take me in, into that.
Jake Stika: Yeah. I mean, uh, it's been a while since we've been doing in person stuff with the pandemic, but you know, our after-school program had snacks involved as it, as it does. Um, but to get a snack, you had to pay another boy in the group of company. Oh, and like, you know, not to play in stereotypes too much here, but you know, women see each other, oh my God, Casey, love your hair.
Jake Stika: What's going on? You know, like those kinds of things, you guys don't have that kind of interaction. [00:06:00] And so, uh, these boys had to pull something out of the bag and like early on in the program, it's often like, love your kicks man. Right? Like something really, like, non-personal kind of these kinds of things.
Jake Stika: Then you take them on the journey of the program together. And at the end of it, it's like, Hey, I really appreciated in such and such situation when you had my back. Right. And so there's. Already conditioning in a 12 year olds that you need to kind of undo and offer a new alternative to. Um, and then like one of the thing that we've created is this deck of cards called boys will be, and, um, it plays obviously on boys will be boys, but the whole tagline is boys will be what we give them the space to be.
Jake Stika: And this card deck. I think 40 some affirmations boys will be empathetic. Boys will be curious. Boys will be kind. Boys will be these kinds of things. [00:07:00] Right. And those aren't words that young men here, and there's brave. There's courageous. There are strong it's all in the deck, but when we're given such a narrow band of what we can be or what we should be, um, everything turns into anger, hardness tough.
Jake Stika: Uh, stoicism. Right. And, and we have such limited language or ability, um, to, to speak or name what's going on for us. So, um, you know, for us, I, I. You know, I'm, I'm in my mid thirties and I'm undoing a lifetime of social conditioning. Can I prevent that for the next generation? And that's the name of the organization next gen men.
Casey Berglund: Yeah. And when you had the inspiration for this and it was you and a couple others, right? Yeah. What you're telling me right now, is that the same inspiration that started the [00:08:00] organization? Cause like we haven't, we're just dropping in, we haven't talked for a few years and obviously we met way back and you know, back when I was a dietician, I went to one of the next gen men events.
Casey Berglund: Um, and I'm just like, so glad that you're here. Kind of catch myself up with the work and also to hear how you even just dropped into the conversation by talking about some sort of traumatic event that opens up men. Like this is what I've been talking about in our community. Like it's not, we don't just decide.
Casey Berglund: We want to heal. Usually it's recognizing either a pattern like, oh, I, I keep. Getting dumped for the same issue, or I lost someone who mattered to me or something happens that cracks open a deeper trauma that opens up the space to heal that then opens up the space for more authenticity and more growth.
Casey Berglund: Um, so there's [00:09:00] so many beautiful things that you've already said. And I guess coming back to my question is like, what was the original original. Y that got you to start
Jake Stika: this group. The why is probably still the same. It's just gotten refined and deeper and deeper and wider and smarter and, and all these kinds of things.
Jake Stika: Right. Cause I've been at it for eight years now. Um, but, uh, you know, it's, it's a podcast. Nobody can see me, but I am a tall, straight white male, all those, you know, checkboxes of privilege. I got them. Um, you know, I played semi-pro basketball, a very privileged life. Um, but despite that I was struggling with depression and 19, my, uh, coping mechanism was binge drinking and fist fights.
Jake Stika: And at 22 it was self-harm and, uh, kind of ending up in counseling therapy and going through my own healing journey and really [00:10:00] understanding. You know that masculine script, you gotta be tough. You can't show emotion. You can't ask for help was a big catalyst. Um, but that was like personal. And then one of my best friends was one of my co-founders.
Jake Stika: Um, and he unfortunately lost his 13 year old brother to suicide in 2007. And he was a young black man, uh, experiencing homophobic bullying. So we feared that he might've been in the crop in the closet and. Between, uh, you know, the loss of Shaquille and my own mental health struggles and, you know, Jamal's grief through that.
Jake Stika: Uh, we just really wanted something different for that next generation of men because, um, what we inherited, wasn't working for us.
Casey Berglund: Yeah, I'm getting so many waves of chills through my body and emotions because it's just like, this is so real. Like it's just so real and so ubiquitous, and I'm just so grateful that you you're doing this work, you know, like.[00:11:00]
Casey Berglund: Like, there just needs to be more spaces in places for men to be real, you know, to be themselves beyond conditioning. Um, so it's, I'm already being like so moved.
Jake Stika: So thank you. Yeah. I mean, I think it's important for there to be spaces for men. Um, that being said, I also think there is, there needs to be more spaces where people of all genders come together, right.
Jake Stika: That's always been a big theme of our event. 'cause, you know, uh, sure. As men, we can come together and we can renegotiate or recondition what we see as masculinity, but we're not the only arbiters of that. Right. Like we heal in relationship and, um, you know, uh, the systemic thing that we're working towards here is, is patriarchy and, you know, uh, men perpetuate and uphold it, but also women.
Jake Stika: Do you know, one time I remember I was working, um, uh, Uh, market for a friend here in Calgary who sells socks. [00:12:00] And, um, it was like a really funky, like, uh, saved by the bell, you know, like teal orange purple, you know, and this boy grabbed the socks and he was so, so like enamored by them and kind of held them up to his mom.
Jake Stika: And she said, those are girls saw. Yeah, right. And so like, women have a role in this as well, too, right? Every time we're conditioning, blue and pink and you know what a boy should be, what a girl should be. You know, we've done a great job of saying that our daughters can do anything boys can do. We've done a shit job of telling our sons they can do anything girls can do.
Jake Stika: Wow. Never thought about that. And that's two sides of the same coin. And so, um, yeah, we need space for, for men to come together and heal. Especially, you know, we've been socialized in a culture of competition and domination, right? Sometimes when we think about patriarchy, we think about men over women, but it's, it's men dominating other men too.
Jake Stika: Right. And I get, um, invited into a lot of male dominant [00:13:00] workspaces where, you know, uh, resources, uh, finance tax, Whatever it is. And those groups are like, well, we're like, you know, 80, 90% male, we would like to get some more, uh, women in the workspace, these kinds of things. And the place that I start from, um, and forgive me for swearing on your podcast is lit.
Jake Stika: Let's be real. Like, first of all, mentored other men, like. Yeah. And if we can't get over that, how are we going to get people of other genders here? And if the gender hierarchy is men at the top and women beneath that, but like men trying to get to that apex position are treating other men like crap. It it's, you know, a trickle-down shit on each other.
Jake Stika: Right. So, um, Yeah, I think there's, there's so much work to be done in this space
Casey Berglund: and not to mention, like, I I'm really appreciating what you're saying about spaces that include an involve all genders. You know, I'm, I'm thinking about a personal experience in actually [00:14:00] 20, 20 and 2021. Part of my personal healing journey was like really around my relationship with men and masculine energy.
Casey Berglund: Um, and you know, like from a safety perspective, after, after trauma, after abuse, after assault, after having experiences personally and thinking I dealt with them, right. And then of course, there's this whole other layer of healing that's required. And it was just interesting. It's interesting to me, what.
Casey Berglund: What comes to me when there's an intention, like what comes to me from life or the universe, or there's themes that pop up when there's an intention for myself for healing. And so in basically a year's time, uh, I only worked with male practitioners and it was like, It was intentional, but also not really like they presented themselves.
Casey Berglund: And I was like, ah, this is a modality that feels supported. It's almost like I didn't even realize that [00:15:00] the real healing was having support from a man having a different really. Healthy experience with a male facilitator. Um, especially when those experiences involved like an altered state of consciousness.
Casey Berglund: I did breathwork with, uh, actually one of the, one of the guests of this podcast series, Jordan, George Ramsey. He was one of my teachers, healers guides and in breath work, it's like, I'm altering my state of consciousness and there's this man that's guiding me, you know, and to me there there's, um, there was healing in that feeling.
Casey Berglund: In that state in the presence and in the hands and in the, the like loving energy of a man and it not being, you know, like sexualized and, and I can imagine, I mean, I know it, I I've witnessed women, uh, really who have internalized patriarchal messages who perpetuate sort of. Toxic masculine belief systems or behaviors in their [00:16:00] partners or sons.
Casey Berglund: And, um, Yeah. And in a world where it's easy to put, you know, people in different boxes or different corners like black versus white or men versus women or Russia versus the Ukraine, like, like it's, uh, we're living in a world. Dividing people and separating people. And I often think what would it mean to be able to be together and be in the discomfort of being together and what will it take for us to create spaces that are safe enough for that to happen?
Casey Berglund: And it'd be healing, not retraumatizing, you know? Yeah.
Jake Stika: And I think an interesting thread, um, from what you said as well too, was, um, creating those spaces where, uh, The emotional labor of holding that space kind of goes across, right? Because so many men. Find themselves in an ability in a position or, or having the ability to be vulnerable with women [00:17:00] and, and kind of putting that emotional labor on them, you know, a romantic partner and saying, I've never told anyone this before and how flattering that can be to maybe even receive that, but like also the risk and the weight, it puts on the relationship.
Jake Stika: Because if there's a fraying of that relationship, that man is losing the only anchor that they have, who knows. Right. And so there's that piece within like a romantic structure. There's, you know, the fact that many counselors, therapists, healers are, are women in that sense. Right. And, um, you know, there's this, this whole thing that, you know, men, uh, Can't necessarily don't feel comfortable being vulnerable among other men, because we never know what the kind of backlash around that will be, or the threat of physical violence among men.
Jake Stika: Right? Like, you know, we talk about, um, you know, trauma and abuse and harassment, that women absolutely experience. And, and the vast majority is [00:18:00] perpetrated by men. But I, I am adamant that the vast majority of men also have some sort of traumatic, violent experience at the hands of other men. Maybe not like sexual assault or those kinds of things, but like there's a deep distrust among us, uh, among other men as well too.
Jake Stika: And, you know, um, this dives into like a whole aspect of. Quote, unquote men's work. And, um, I personally the, the, the masculine, feminine energies, those kinds of things. I'm so cerebral and like systemic and like, that's kind of my lens, but, um, You know, there, there is this real piece where they talk about the father wound, right.
Jake Stika: And that is an actual pulling back of fathers from intimacy with their silence. Right. Um, when it's an, an infant, a newborn it's socially acceptable to like snuggle and smother and kiss and those kinds of things. But once those infants turn into [00:19:00] toddlers, turn into, you know, boys, um, a lot of men. Pull back their physical intimacy from their child, their grandchild, their little brother, those kinds of things, because that's, what's been role model to them, but women stay intimate and touching with, with those young men.
Jake Stika: And it's confusing for those boys. You know, why, why was I so close with these men in my life, these relatives, and now there's this distance. And so I do think there is some. Piece of this father wound. And then you introduce them to that culture of competition domination often perpetuated through sport, which I played, you know, the vast majority of my life.
Jake Stika: And there grows this distrust of other men and distance from other men. So, um, you know, overcoming that as well.
Casey Berglund: Yeah. I mean, every word you're saying about the father. I can relate to, and you just did something for me where I stepped into. I have two brothers, right. I like stepped into their [00:20:00] shoes. And I'm just thinking about my brothers right now.
Casey Berglund: Um, who in my eyes have, have really kind of taken on a different role. And when I think about it in part, because of their partners, both of their partners who are women, um, Dumped them both, you know, and my brothers changed in, in a process of that. And I feel like their, their partners have really like helped them grow and then they've found their own realization or pathway to healing and healing that father wound, for sure.
Casey Berglund: Um, I just make sense to me what you're sharing and I'm making it personal as I, as I kind of like integrate the truth of what your.
Jake Stika: Yeah. And how unfortunate it is for them to have that separation, to, to kind of force their hand rather than being socialized in a way that they can meaningfully show up [00:21:00] in those relationships.
Casey Berglund: Yeah. I hope I didn't just share too much.
Jake Stika: Yeah. Anyway, what's happening.
Casey Berglund: Present day. I know you, you mentioned with the pandemic, obviously that impacted your in-person events and like after school programs, how is it shifting or how are things coming back online now? Like what is, what is happening in the world of next gen men?
Jake Stika: Yeah, I think the pandemic was really interesting from kind of like a masculinity perspective as well, too, because if you subscribe to a lot of those, like really traditional ideals, um, if your role is to be a provider. And you lose your job because of an external factor. Like, what is your worth then?
Jake Stika: Right. If your role is to be a protector, how do you protect your family from an invisible phone? Right. Um, and you know, some people went into like hard lock down in that sense and other people. I would rather just pretend the invisible phone doesn't exist so that they, they can kind of [00:22:00] maintain that role of protector.
Jake Stika: So there was some really interesting stuff in and around that. And I think as well too, like one thing that the pandemic showed is like, just how much. Emotional familial household labor women have, right? Because if you're in these modern knowledge worker type roles and the mom and the dad are home, um, you know, men had to face the fact that like their children are home with them as well.
Jake Stika: And there's two careers here and who gets precedent or priority. Who's doing that extra work. Like it really made the invisible, visible that way. Um, which on the other hand, in, in organizations, organizations have to face that the normality of like a child interrupting a meeting or these kinds of things.
Jake Stika: Right. And like how screwed up it was just to be like, That doesn't exist. That's not real. Right. And like, we exist in a world where having a family is one of the most natural things in the [00:23:00] world. Billions of people have had children before. We're really all
Casey Berglund: here because of family structures and
Jake Stika: dynamics.
Jake Stika: Exactly. Yeah. The pandemic, I think really threw that in our face of like, you know, the, the requirements there, and now there's tensions with, you know, um, women who were home and, and caregiving and taking that they like not having to go to the office, saved them the commute, and they felt like they could integrate more families.
Jake Stika: Whereas like men want to go back to the workplace and then if they're the only ones visible in the workplace and the that's where the bosses are, are we going to go back to inequity where men benefit more from going into the workplace and these kinds of things? So I think there's a lot kind of like up for grabs right now, too.
Jake Stika: And like, um, we need to be really intentional with what we want coming out of
Casey Berglund: this period. If you could, like if I could wave a magic wand and if it truly was, let's say a blank [00:24:00] slate, or maybe that's the wrong framing for it. But you know, it kind of is like, there's a breaking down of an old structure and the opportunity to build a new one.
Casey Berglund: And I already am kind of surprised to see how. And almost in a disappointing way, how many things feel like they've just gone back to the way they were before? Like, like, did we learn anything? You know? And so sometimes I'm like my idealistic and thinking that we can create a new paradigm, a new world, a new way of working, you know, or, or is that conditioned to pull just so strong.
Casey Berglund: And, you know, even as I hear myself talk, I'm like, okay, it's probably a both end, but I'm curious for you, like. What would you like to see?
Jake Stika: Both ad was definitely coming up for me in that as well, too, because for some people we saw that this last couple of years was a ginormous inconvenience. And for some people it was a world shattering [00:25:00] transformative.
Jake Stika: Event. And then, and then you're like these two populations come together. It's like, okay, that's going to be messy for awhile. Um, what do I want? Um,
Casey Berglund: I almost want to make it personal, you know, like what do you want for you as a man in the world? Given, given, obviously you've gone through transformations already on your own that got you to a place of creating something like next gen men and doing all the other things that you do in the world, right.
Casey Berglund: That's not your only identity either. Um, and then there's the events of the world in the last. A couple of years. So I it's like that question is kind of twofold. Like, I'm curious about you personally as a man speaking. Yeah. As a man and then, and then maybe like bigger in the, in the collective, like,
Jake Stika: yeah.
Jake Stika: I mean, I struggled a little bit [00:26:00] with the personal, I mean, like these types of things. As much as I can go out and talk about it. Like I'm still undergoing my own learning and I'm learning. Right. And for example, something that I struggled with when I was younger was that my identity was tied to being a basketball player.
Jake Stika: Right. And when you lose that identity, what are you, who are you? What's your worth? Those kinds of things. Right? And I'd say very much right now, my identity is pretty highly tied to next gen men. And so, um, you know, I need to figure that out and, and what that looks like, but, you know, is that a masculine thing or is it a founder thing?
Jake Stika: You know, like, like
Casey Berglund: human thing, you know, I think we all do that. We talk about like identity, death, and you know, I talk about your next level of purpose. What's that next thing that is calling you? And I think it can. It can be earth shattering when something changes that forces a detachment from an old identity, like when it came to basketball, [00:27:00] what was it that shook up and showed you how attached you are to that identity?
Jake Stika: Um, the inability, like I was academically ineligible to play in my second year of university and like, um, Being told you can't do it anymore, right? No. No. And then, uh, retirement eventually at the ripe old age of 24, but, um, uh, yeah, I mean, so that, that's something that I'm thinking about here as well, too, because, you know, I just spent two years in, you know, what I call my corner office, but it's the corner of the living room, right?
Jake Stika: Uh, not a lot of variety there. So I'm looking forward to kind of reemergence re-entry figuring out what that looks like. Um, but on kind of like the, you know, on the broader scale of masculinities and men and these kinds of things, um, I understand why women don't have patience or empathy at [00:28:00] times for men, I wholeheartedly get it.
Jake Stika: Um, but I think there is a bit of a culture shift because you know, you look at the gender based violence space or the gender equity space. Um, it's made a lot of progress, but I think that the people behind that predominantly women trans non binary individuals, um, Are exhausted. And they're seeing that without engaging men and boys, there's really not much more that can be done.
Jake Stika: Right. And for me, like my mission is to change how people see act and think about masculinity. And so part of that is, you know, these things, this opportunity to be anti patriarchal or gender equity or whatever we want to couch it under. It's not happening to us, it's happening for us. Right. And how can I create that space where I can engage men and boys to get them to understand the negative [00:29:00] aspects.
Jake Stika: Right? Cause we're. Overvaluing, what is it, what it is. We might lose the power dynamics, the ability to say what we want, like unfiltered, without having to care about other people's emotions, the dominance. So whatever, um, and we're undervaluing, what we could gain deeper, healthier relationships, better mental health and wellbeing, less stress, um, you know, all of these kinds of things.
Jake Stika: So, you know, It's almost like a preliminary work, like, you know, in the rise of the early feminist movement, they had feminist consciousness raising circles. Right. And so how do we raise that consciousness so that men and boys can show up as partners in that. Right. And. Not feel, you know, attacked or marginalized or whatever in return again, which I have full understanding of where that comes from because people are fed up.
Jake Stika: It's taking us a long time to come to the table, but people [00:30:00] don't transform from guilt and shame.
Casey Berglund: Of course. Yeah. I, uh, quoted recently that quote that like the world will be changed by the Western woman and then added to it, but not without healed men, like what you said about and, and, and I mean that from a like, yes, yes, yes.
Casey Berglund: To more of this work, you know, like even this physical space that we're in together in person, which like what a delight, like the space is shared by three other women. Healers, you know, therapists, body workers, me, uh, and then there's others that rent the space and, and all of us are, are, we're just so delighted every time that we have these types of conversations with men.
Casey Berglund: And so delighted to see men like you, um, You know, ask for grace. Like, I think that's kind of what I just heard you say, like, like, yeah, I get, it's frustrating. I get, we need to, we need more, you mean more [00:31:00] support and we don't heal overnight and it's not, it's not your fault, but it's your responsibility, right?
Casey Berglund: Like it's, it's a patriarchal, it's a systemic thing. And there's just such hope that I feel in my heart with every man that I need. That's like, yes, we do. Want to heal and we do want to help. And right now, uh, at least personally, it feels like I, and women who are connected to healing spaces are opening up opportunities for men to heal.
Casey Berglund: And what would the world be like if there were more men to open? Opportunities for other men to heal, you know, and if we could do that together in a way that's healthy and cohesive,
Jake Stika: I think w what, what, one of the issues that we face in that is, um, Too many men are seeking and doing this healing outside of male spaces.
Jake Stika: Right. And, um, you know, I always [00:32:00] think that there's three levels of change. There's individual interpersonal and systemic. Right? A lot of men start with their individual healing right there, how they are, what happened to them, how they want to be in the world, those kinds of things. And that happens, uh, in a relationship.
Jake Stika: Uh, either a personal one or one with a professional therapist, counselor, healer, whatever, whatever we want to use there, then there's the interpersonal. And you might have like a small group, a friendship or whatever, where you're healing some of that stuff, but, uh, or, or men's groups or these kinds of things, but so few.
Jake Stika: Go to the systemic level to stop that from happening a cycle over and over again. Right. And it's because inherently the status quo benefits us. Right. And so why would we work to dismantle the status quo? Right. And so I think it does it really, it still does. I mean, political, economic, those kinds of ways.
Jake Stika: [00:33:00] Right. And those, you know, um, There there's downsides. It's kind of like a poison pill deal, right? Yeah. Handshake with the devil or whatever we want to call it. Right. Um, but, um, you know, I'm committed to meeting people where they're at the pub, the boardroom, the locker room, right. Those are the spaces we need men's healing in.
Jake Stika: Um, because if it's a. You know, in a beautiful space like this, that has a bright pink chair and like frilly, I don't even know what you call that on the window, you know? Uh, it's beautiful. It has healing vibes. I said that to you when I came in. Right. But like, Just men don't see themselves in this. Right.
Jake Stika: And so many men then feel if they're to heal, they have to transform into something that, that feels foreign or different with those kinds of things. Right. But can you be, you know, [00:34:00] the job. Who treats people well, and, uh, you know, uh, doesn't make disparaging remarks about women and minorities. Can you be the businessman who's looking for a win-win in the deal supports, uh, their staffs parental leave, regardless of gender, those kinds of things.
Jake Stika: Right? Can we be. Who we are and be healed in that space rather than it be kind of something that we have to do apart from, from who we are. Right. It needs to be integrated.
Casey Berglund: I love that so much, Jake. I love it. Like, as you're talking about it, I'm even, you know, like I'm someone who's been in many different healing spaces, including Ostrom's in India, right.
Casey Berglund: Where I've met men that are in those spaces. And I think there can be this perception. That someone, you know, that healing means I'm becoming that guy, you know, that guy with the dreads or that guy with which nothing against those guys. Right. And, [00:35:00] and I guess I just want to reflect back to you this special gift that you share in your being as a, what?
Casey Berglund: Six foot eight. How tall are you? Six foot eight. Masculine presenting and in the traditional way that we might think of that, um, man, like, like we all need healing wherever we are and we don't have to change or become completely different. In fact, that's. Not integrated. It's not real. It's, it's false. It's, it's like creating a whole other level of trauma to think that you can only present a certain way.
Casey Berglund: Um,
Jake Stika: and when we, when we do that healing work and you know, I come from the nonprofit space, uh, we call it programs for problems. So when we have, you know, men and boys in these programs, and we're trying to change their norms, attitudes, and beliefs, we see successes. But then when they go back into the boardroom, the [00:36:00] locker room, uh, you know, the golf club, whatever it is, they don't change their behaviors.
Jake Stika: Right? So internally they have those new attitudes and beliefs, but they're not necessarily transforming their behaviors in those spaces. So a lot of it perpetuates because of that fear of violence, because of that fear of loss of standing and those kinds of things. Right. And so we need to build the capacity, you know, Al.
Jake Stika: Should cost you something time, energy, money, social capital. Right. And so how do you leverage that in those spaces, um, to invite others into those, those, uh, that transformation, right. And the most effective thing when you're out for beers with the boys, watching the playoffs, eating wings, and you know, your buddy, uh, looks at the waitresses ass and like makes a comment or something like that is like, Hey man, That's the most powerful thing in that moment, right?
Jake Stika: Is your peer saying that's not our [00:37:00] culture, that's not who we are. Um,
Casey Berglund: oh yeah. It makes so much sense, Jake. Yeah. I, uh, I told you when you walked in today that this idea for this series came to mind, I'd already quoted a couple episodes with some incredible men with stories. I was like, I want to interview my brother.
Casey Berglund: I'm going to interview him. And I did that yesterday. And then I'm like, Chick and, you know, you came to mind and then I found out you were going to be here. And then I hadn't been on your site in a while and I checked it out and I think I screenshot at your site and sent it to you. And I was like, yes, this and it.
Casey Berglund: So that more men can a future where more men can heal and do less harm something like that, a
Jake Stika: future where boys and men feel less pain and cause less harm. And so baked into that is empathy and accountability. Right? And it's empathy for the fact that men [00:38:00] are three out of four suicides, over 80% of, you know, drug poisoning.
Jake Stika: Um, aside from gender based violence, the number one victims of all forms of violence, which both forms of violence are perpetuated by predominantly men, um, you know, sexual assault, uh, all those kinds of things. Right. But it's, it's kind of baked into that is that idea of hurt people, hurt people. And, um, there's a brilliant bell hooks quote that like really like shifted everything from years ago.
Jake Stika: And I'm paraphrasing a bit here, but it's essentially. Um, the first act of violence that patriarchy asks of men is not that against women, but that against themselves. And should they fail to psychologically and emotionally crippled themselves? They'll be met by a group of men that will do it for them.
Jake Stika: Wow. That's so
Casey Berglund: powerful. Yeah. Yeah. Speaks to the, I don't know, I'm just even thinking about like the work around embodiment that I [00:39:00] do. That's like helping people learn how to be with uncomfortable stuff in their bodies. You know, it's like starting with that internal space, you know? Um, otherwise we project outward what we don't heal.
Jake Stika: Well, I think of it like, again, going back to where we started this conversation about the boys specifically, like that's primary prevention. If we stop them from being violent against themselves and their immediate boy peers, then. You know, I can't, there's no statistic that I can measure to say, you know, how many suicides we prevented, how many sexual assaults we prevented and those kinds of things.
Jake Stika: But I firmly believe that if we can change that culture and prevent that first, you know, self-inflicted violence that patriarchy acid, men and boys, um, the world will be better for.
Casey Berglund: We're to men listening to this, or anyone listening to this women, listening [00:40:00] to the people. We all, we all like are connected.
Casey Berglund: Right? Where would you suggest someone start?
Jake Stika: Uh, I mean a big self plug gear, but, uh, we write a newsletter every week, uh, called, uh, future of masculinity. So if you go to future of masculinity.com, you can get something that makes you think every week from us. Um, One of the things that we support is a podcast called breaking the boy code.
Jake Stika: And, uh, what's magical about breaking the boy code. A lot of people talk about boys, um, but it's actually hosted by our youth program manager. And it's him talking with boys, right. And putting their voice and their thoughts and their experiences. And. I cry often listening to it, but like, you know how powerful that is.
Jake Stika: And the latest season is called Louis and it's a transformation of an 11 year old boy from being a bully to becoming an ally and a, you [00:41:00] just learn how powerful for him. It is to have a relationship with someone who believes that he can be better than yes. And how many boys I think have people give up.
Jake Stika: Right or, or boys will be boys. Right. Kind of cast them aside through that. Um, you know, the, the bell hooks quote I shared is from a book called will to change on men, masculinity and love. Um, that's powerful book. Um, Where else? Uh, yeah, and I mean, you know, for people who want to follow on social media to handles at next gen men across, across all the channels,
Casey Berglund: and just thinking about what you said earlier about going into the locker rooms and the boardrooms and the spaces where people are in their environment and where that transformational change can really.
Casey Berglund: Have a potent effect. Um, so just like clarify for me what work you do in those spaces. [00:42:00]
Jake Stika: Yeah. So, um, uh, where to begin, honestly, do so much, um, So the principle behind this is meeting people where they're at. Right. And so rather than like trying to pull them out and to come to us. So one of the ways that we did that over the pandemic is we built a discord server for 12 to 14 year old boys.
Jake Stika: Uh, are you familiar with this board? No. Discord is like a, like a voice-based chat platform. And so it's predominantly used for online gaming. And if you think about it pandemic or not, 12 to 14 year old boys are online. Right. Yeah. And so in creating a space for them where, you know, they might go from a really, you know, violent, like first person shooter, where people are using anti-Semitic misogynist, slang to like, you know, call each other to like a really.
Jake Stika: Safe space online with other boys to like, just be right. Um, and how [00:43:00] jarring that is. And even just showing them the dissonance around that, like that, that doesn't have to be normal. Right. So that's one aspect, another aspect. Um, you know, you mentioned you spoke to one of our events years ago. Um, they're now known as next year men's circles.
Jake Stika: Unfortunately, I'm not sure when we're quite going to be back in person yet, but we hosted those, uh, Intentionally, right, because it's so much easier to have this type of conversation when you're going out for a beer with a bud, rather than, you know, in some church basement or someplace where we could get, uh, some space.
Jake Stika: So, um, you know, that aspect of it. And then we work a lot in, in industry and, and in, in kind of, uh, groups in industry male dominant industry. Um, and transforming kind of their, their cultures, uh, whether that be kind of in head office or out in the field or those kinds of things and supporting them in that.
Jake Stika: I
Casey Berglund: love that so much. I'll make sure that all of the important links [00:44:00] and resources that you shared are noted below what haven't I asked you that I should have that you'd like to answer.
Jake Stika: I don't know if there's anything that comes to mind. I think your questions and kind of banter was really good.
Casey Berglund: Thank you. It's amazing to connect with you and I just trust the timing of this. So I appreciate you coming in and sharing your wisdom. And I'm just so grateful.
Casey Berglund: You're out here in the world doing what you do. A pleasure. Talk to you soon.