What Makes a Man? | Justin Nuckles | Episode 28

What Makes a Man? | Justin Nuckles | Episode 28

Join Kimber as she talks  with  her friend Justin Nuckles, about:

1. What it means to be a man

2. How the patriarchy hurts men

3. What the world needs from men in this day and age

Justin describes himself as "a man learning how to do better". He’s a husband and a father, and basically a professional parent. His education and training in child development and early relationships allowed him to get a job, but more importantly changed how he chooses to be with others. He writes his stories with the intent of demonstrating how people can be better in relationship with each other in difficulties and challenges. Mostly, he’s a great big curmudgeonly goofball with a soft spot for humanity.

Follow Kimber on instagram @justbeyourbadself

For guest bios, episode transcripts or to leave a review, please visit: www.justbeyourbadself.com


Kimber:  I'm going to share with you a discussion. I. I had with my good friend, Justin knuckles, he works for DCFS. He is the kind of man that is really passionate about being a husband about being a father.

I recorded this interview back in. December of 2021. And since then he has kind of gone viral on Tik TOK, almost accidentally, I think simply because he's just the kind of man. That we need in this world. And people have glommed onto that and he has quite the tick tock following now.

Since, since I did this discussion with him, if you want to go find him there, but, um, today we're going to talk about what it means to be a man. What is toxic masculinity? How does the patriarchy hurt men? And

what do we need from men in this, this day and age? It's a fascinating discussion. They're really good stuff here so without further ado we're going to jump right into this immediate conversation

tell me about your podcast that you started.

Justin: Okay. So

it's called the strong man podcast. It's a podcast that is all about men and masculinity and what does that look like? What can it look like? What should it look like for kind of the moment that we find ourselves in right now?

[00:02:04] Fighting the Patriarchy with Podcasts

Kimber: I bring that up because this is what I wanted to talk to you about today. Because when I started this podcast, I had some nebulous ideas of what I wanted this to be about. And as I continue going through it I kind of just choose the people that I want to hear their stories.

I want to hear their ideas, just the people that I feel drawn to, or the people that I've invited to be on this podcast. And that's kind of, that's kind of the thread that weaves it all together is, is kind of my journey and the things I'm figuring out and, and want to learn about in, in my own journey of Yeah.

Feeling like enough and navigating society. And as I've interviewed these different people, it's come to my attention that this is kind of a podcast. That is what's what is a good way to put this kind of fighting against the patriarchy which I view as not as straight white men necessarily. Right. But as, but as a system, Tells people, you have to fit in a certain gender box, right?

And this is the way you fit in that box. And I would argue that the patriarchal system is as much harmful to men as it is to women and queer people. And because I know you and what you stand for and that you're this awesome creative, sensitive family man who happens to have a podcast called the strong man.

That's about this. I thought that's the first guy I need to talk to because I. I think, like I said, the patriarchy is, is hurting men as much as it's hurting women. And that's what I want to talk to you about today. So what are your thoughts on that? Would you agree?

Justin: No, I would absolutely. I would absolutely absolutely agree?

You know, and it's kind of funny that you should bring this up because this is, again, this is something that I, I mean, obviously. I started a podcast about it. It's because I feel strongly about it. And then it's something that kind of weighs on my mind, but especially in the last few months it just seems like everything personally, professionally creatively all of these facets of my life have kind of just coalesce around this, this, this idea of manhood and men.

It just keeps coming up again and again and again and again. And I think part of it has Sams from the fact that I have now for a young daughters. So looking ahead kind of, you know, future traveling in my head you know, what, what type of, of man, you know, I mean, assuming at this point, assuming at this point, That they are, you know, ended up being heterosexual.

If they, if that's the case, if that ends up being the case like who, who is out there, you know, what, what what's available, who's available and what, you know, what kind of quality of, of man is going to be available from. If, and when they reach that you know, that, that point in their lives. There are men out there who just. Oh, the relationships that they form are just so unhealthy. And I've, I mean, I've seen it, I've seen it on the news. I've seen it in my own family. I've seen it in friends. So, you know, circle of friends and acquaintances, I've just seen it so many times that it's, it's worrisome and it's concerning as again, especially as a father looking forward with, with four girls, I mean, again, who are they going to end up with?

[00:05:27] What does it mean to be a man?

Justin: And so for me, I agree. I agree with your initial statement about, you know, just this, this idea of the patriarchy, however, you know, however you define that. What it boils down to for me is the way of being that men have had four. The last several years, would argue that it's not working.

And again, I mean, you know, there are a lot of different lenses that we could look at, look through and examining that to me, I mean, one lens that we could like is just, you know, what, what is it, what does it mean to be masculine? What does it mean to be feminine? And you know, I was kind of in anticipation of. Kind of talking, talking this morning about it. I just kind of wanted to collect some of my thoughts and, you know, there are, there are some of these traits that are kind of stereotypically or categorically masculine things like strength and courage, independence, leadership, assertiveness. And then there are those that are kind of more regarded more as feminine. And some of those would be things like gentleness, empathy, humility, gracefulness, sensitivity, No, it's to kind of go along with this discussion. There's, there's been this, this idea and this, this term float around again in recent years. And I would say that the past decade or so, that has definitely become more commonly used and more familiar to more people.

Is this, this idea and this concept of toxic masculinity. And to me, To me what that means. It's, it's not, it's not where those two words are inescapably connected and, and one neces, you know, th the first masculinity itself is not necessarily toxic. It's the application of those masculine qualities to an unhealthy degree, or I would even say the kind of elimination or avoidance of feminine qualities to kind of their exclusion. That it becomes toxic masculinity. When I, you know, I, I think that if we're looking at society as a whole, we want members of our society who exhibit a balance of those two types of traits of both masculinity and femininity, because we don't want, we don't want individuals who are only strong and only courageous at the cost of being humble of being empathy. It's not, it's not a, it's not a binary, it's not a binary in that sense. I mean, that, that term is also kind, you know, again, lots of, lots of different applications, but it is specifically in this context, it's not an either or equation. It's, it's each one of these is kind of, you know for me, at least in my, in my, in my perspective, in my perspective, each of those qualities is. Available kind of on a continuum. And if we, if we dial, if, if, as man again, you know, you kind of asked my perspective as a, as a man. If we, as men choose to dial the feminine qualities down to zero and dial the masculine qualities up to 10, I think there's a lot that we're, we're losing a lot that we're losing out on and that's as a society, but also as individually.

Kimber: Yes. And, and you'll hear me say this over and over again. I feel I can in several of my podcast episodes that I think this is why this, this time period where the queer community has really stepped up and stood up for themselves has been so fascinating to watch. And I really feel like. you, you were I know you listened to the men enough podcast, right?

Have you listened to that episode with a look?

Justin: Yes,

Kimber: Okay. So this is the podcast episode I'm referring to. I believe someone in there says, or it might be a bloke that said queer queer people and non-binary people and trans people are all on the front line. Fighting for everybody's individuality. And they're the ones really showing us, like you said, it's not a binary.

It's, it's, it's a spectrum. It's a scale there just because we associate certain things as masculine qualities or feminine qualities doesn't mean that to be a woman, you can only have these feminine qualities that you have to have all of them and to be a man, you can only have these masculine qualities and you have to have all of them that you can identify, you know, whatever way you identify.

But that both the masculine and feminine are important at the individual level. Right.

Justin: Oh, absolutely. Yeah. And you know, that. That episode and, and really that, that whole podcast, I'm glad that you brought that up because that that's, that's kind of one reason that my podcast is kind of on hold at the moment, because I found that podcast as I was doing research and kind of studying, learning for my own.

And I've just, I've just done such a deep dive and just learning so much, just listening to this other one that that I just haven't had. I haven't had time. To do my own. And really at this point, I'm, I'm trying to re kind of I'm, I'm almost at a point where I'm, I'm reassessing whether I need to do it over again, or if I just need to start pointing people in the direction of this other one, because it is just so good. And, you know, the, the, the episode that you, that you brought up. Oh, it is, it really is so important because, you know, as, as I think back to my own experience my, my own growing up years I, when I was at, when I was, when I was a boy, a young boy, I mean, I'm talking when I was, I mean, we're talking like seven when I was, when I turned seven for my seventh birthday, my oldest sister. For my birthday, she gave me adult. It wasn't an action figure. It wasn't a GI Joe. It was a doll. It was a, it was a girl doll, long hair.

She came with this little, this little, a whisk Wicker, Wicker, suitcase, full of clothes and accessories and things. And I loved that thing. I was seven years old and I loved that. I carried her all over the place. I would dress her and stuff. And you know, it was, there was never any question in my mind because, you know, when my sister when we would talk about it and she would ask and see, you know, observe health, how I was playing with it and how I was enjoying it, the, the, the frame of reference that she gave me and that I always joined, just kind of grew up having around that experience.

Oh, you're practicing being a dad. You're going to be a great dad. And I was just like, yeah, I am going to be a great dad because I love taking care. And you don't even, even after that, I mean, when I was older, I'm thinking back to when I was probably, I just, just kind of throughout through. I mean, my entire life really is what it boils down to.

I have always been drawn to young children as far as like caring for them, providing care for them. I can remember as a, as a young, I wasn't even in boy Scouts, it was, it was as a Cub scout. I can remember going to my you know, the, the den mothers. And the rest of the boys would be crowded around the table doing whatever activity we were, we were doing for that day.

And I would be kind of on the, on the periphery. I would be on the outskirts, but I would be holding you know, the den mothers, youngest son, you know, her, her, her infant or her toddler. I would just have him on my hip because I just loved taking care of, I just love, I always have always that's just

Kimber: an interesting,

Justin: I've been doing.

Kimber: as you were talking, I almost said like, that's that paternal instinct kicking in and then my brain went, we don't talk about paternal instinct. No one talks about

Justin: always with an M it's like, oh no, no, you're mispronouncing it. I think even, I think you're talking about the maternal instinct and I, I, I agree. I agree. We don't, we don't talk about the paternal instinct, but boy, if we did,

Kimber: Yeah. That's such a different experience that you've had then most, I don't know that I've ever heard anything like that before, which is super sad. So

Justin: it really is.

Kimber: how there's so many big picture questions I want to ask you. I've got to decide what comes first. I guess what, I don't think we've really pointed out clearly.

We've kind of been skirting around it. What are the, what are the issues? What are the problems here that need to be solved? What are they?

Justin: Well, I don't know.

Kimber: picture questions,

Justin: it is a big picture question, but aren't those do, are those the questions that are most worth discussing? I, I love I live. I live for these big picture questions Oh, it's such, it's such a good question. And there are so many different directions that boy that we can take it to me again, I think. And, and for, and right now, right now, there's, there's, there's this conversation happening and, you know, in the, in that other podcast, in the man, in a podcast, I just listened to, to to an episode, I can't remember the exact. The exact one, but they referenced this, this, this idea of when man or even boys, they were specifically talking about kind of their own experience as, as boys, as young men that when boys or men exhibit some of these, you know, what you and I just termed paternal instincts or, or you know, the more caregiving, the more sensitive side of the human experience.

When they exhibit these things, what are they labeled? What are, what are the labels that are applied to them? They're either called, oh yeah. You're, you're a sissy or you're such a girl or you're gay. Oh, you're automatically you're, you're, you're, you're gay. But attached to that, like,

that's, especially today, like it's kind of become, you know, more well, okay.

Okay. Like you're calling me a girl you're calling me, but then there's this also like, and therefore.

Kimber: Right.

Justin: therefore wrong and negative and less than which is not okay

Kimber: For multiple reasons,

Justin: For multiple reasons, on

Kimber: it's, simultaneous, simultaneously putting down women and saying women are inferior. Therefore, if you act like a woman, you are inferior. That's that patriarch patriarchal system kicking in right there.

Justin: No, I, I completely agree. It's so very true. So that, that in itself, you know, it's kind of funny because I, I, I find myself again, just through kind of having family members and everything. I, in the last several years, I've, I've kind of found myself in this in this role where I, I do kind of find myself acting and standing up as an, as an ally to.

The LGBTQ plus community, because again, like you can't, you can't disparage these qualities. You can't disparage these attributes and characteristic characteristics of individuals. Without, you know, I mean, disparaging the whole group, if that makes sense. And, and that's not fair. Like, I, again, I have, I have family members who have come out as gay, we've come out as lesbian and they're wonderful people.

I love my family. And so again, like I find, and again, and then again, tying it back into my experience, like, okay, I'm pretty sure that, you know, at the time it never even crossed my mind and it never really came up. I don't know if, whether that's a fluke or, or what. I never, I never got any of that. I never got any of that whole You know, oh, you're, you're, you're gay.

You're so gay for doing that. I don't know what it was like, I never was on the receiving end of any of that, you know, societal vitriol through whatever happens stands. I don't know if it was just the time or the place or the, I don't know what combination, but I, I was never on the receiving end of any of that kind of negativity.

But I, I certainly saw. I certainly saw it in, you know, in high school and middle school and everything. I mean, goodness gracious. I mean, they brought up on that the man in a podcast, you know, the, the old thing where, oh, look at your fingernails. And depending on how you looked at it, whether your fingers were bent down toward you or whether you held your hand out like this, oh, you're gay.

You're so gay. It's just like, wow, what are we, what are we. Y Y this is nonsense. This is absolutely just nonsensical.

Kimber: But why do we, why do we clean so hard to it? Like, and when I say we. I mostly mean men

Justin: No, it's so true.

Kimber: I think most women would be so happy for, there's probably mixed views on that because I have talked to people who are like, no, I don't want my husband to show vulnerability. Then I feel like he can't protect me.

So I'm sure that that might be part of the answer, right? Is that you feel like to attract the people you want to attract? You have to act a certain way.

Yeah, give me more ideas. Like why, why, why do we clean so hard to this, putting other people down and disassociating ourselves from them? Because we don't want to be, like you said, men, when I say we, again, I really mean it's not me. I really mean mostly that don't want to be considered girly or sissy or weak.

The how we cleaned to that and why, and then how do we, how do we change it? That's the next big picture question.

Justin: Well, I think when it comes down to, is that we're right now, we're at a, we're at a moment. We're in a moment in history where our role, like just the role that we need play. And again, when I say we, I am also referring at this moment to men, to men right now, where we're in a moment in history where the role that we need to play is it's, it's more different qualitatively.

It is more different than the historical role we've taken on. Then I think it's ever been before. And again, I'm like, I'm not a world-class researcher, but just, just, I mean, just painting broad strokes. I mean, you know, so often, so often you hear and you know, I've I, over the years, I've, I've, I've kind of joined well not, I, I say join I've, I've added myself to Facebook groups.

Just kind of looking because as, as a man, like, Well, as a human, as a human, we crave connection. And so as a human man I've, I've been looking, you know, kind of looking for that in, in a couple of different places over the last several years and over and over and over again, I encounter in some of these different men's groups and men's movements variations of these three words, and there's basically a preside provide. Kind of over and over and again, variations of those terms. Th that's that's kind of the focus. And

Let me just say upfront that I don't disagree. I don't disagree that those, that those roles are important for men to be. I don't think they're the only ones that can play it growing up in a single, a single mother household where my parents divorced, my mom had to take on some of those roles.

She had to adapt otherwise, you know, the family would just, what it would've would have imploded even more than we did kind of thing, you know? So, but again, as a, as a man myself, this is, this is, this is Justin's opinion. Those three terms are important, but I think what they look like now is different than they used to.

You know, so often, and in so many of these groups the tendency often is it's, it's focused on. The outside. And, and when I say that, I mean outside threats again, because historically that was the role that men played. I mean, you go back thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of years.

And that was the critical role that men played. It was securing, securing food provided. Protecting literally protecting from danger, whether that was wild animals, whether that was the weather, whether that was starvation, whether that was other, you know, marauding bands of, you know, rival, rival competitors in the, in the region.

That's what it looked like. And that was the role was physical safety. Well, we live in a time where physical safety.

There's a lot. We could unpack there. And the whole episode, excuse me. In terms of physical safety. In, in a large sense, in large sense, we are, we're more safe than we've ever been. I mean, I know, I know that the, that the world is in turmoil and that there's not as all rainbows and butterflies. I I'm, I'm well aware.

I'm well aware. You know, many statistics I'm well aware that there are bad people out there, but in terms of. You know, again, statistics like the world is safer now than it, than it ever has been before. I mean, how many, how long has it been since we had a real, I mean, a world war, I mean, yes, there have been, you know, conflicts and skirmishes abroad. But in large part, like it's been, it's been isolated, you know, kind of You know, specific parties, specific groups and organizations, as opposed to you straight up nation state against nation, state, and others coming in and getting involved, you know, on, on large scales. Again, there've been conflicts.

I'm not denying that. I'm not, I'm not you know I'm not a complete ostrich in that sense. But it's changed again. We don't, that's just, that's just not. Prevalent as it once was. I'm not saying it's not important. I'm not saying that it doesn't happen. I'm just saying that it's not as prevalent as it used to be.

And so I think with, with part of that and I, and a couple others, other things, I think as men, I don't, I don't, I'm trying to think of a better word than confused because confused, confused is not, it doesn't quite capture, but we're. We're searching. We're searching for what role, what role do I play now? If not this, then, then what? Um, and so, I mean, you see a lot, you see so many men tying their, their worth to. Again, physical protection. And this is why this is why in so many of these groups, it all comes down to, oh, well, like, are you, are you carrying, are you conceal carry?

And are you protecting your family? You know, are you ready to step in when the, like, and I'm not saying that that's a. Desire. I'm not saying that that the desire to protect your family, you don't keep them from physical harm. I'm not saying that's a bad thing. I'm just thinking that there are, there are other things that happen way more often than like being assaulted on the streets, or again, not saying it doesn't happen just, but if you were to really talk about this, this societal issues that are facing, like, again, speaking as men that are facing our families, things like teen suicide, things like fatherless men, These, these are what we need.

And again, we, man, like these are things that we need to do something about. are the only ones who can do something about fatherlessness. We are the, we are There's more that we can do in terms of divorce rates. And I know lately in the last, in the last decade or so, I know that divorce rates have been dropping, but I think that that's in large part tied to the fact that marriage rates have also been dropping.

And so, you know, less people that get divorces if less people are getting married in the first place. And so I, I, I think that we can be doing more. We're just, again, we're searching, we're searching for what, what does that look.

Kimber: Yeah, I think you, you hit the nail on the head with that word because it's like, it's like, Men are going through like a global identity crisis. Right? You used to have these, these boxes that was so easy to check off. Like I protect my family. I preside over my family. What was the third one? You said protect, preside provide right.

Justin: Yeah.

Kimber: And I provide for my family. And now we're living in this day and age where we've got the queer community stepping up. We've got women stepping up and saying, we're capable humans, too. We can protect, we can provide, we can preside. And then it's left the men feeling like, well, then what value do I have?

Justin: Yeah,

Kimber: you can do all these.

So yeah. Where do I fit in? How do I, how do I provide value? And, and I see. At the, at the core of us, that's what we all want. Right. We want, we want to feel loved. We want to feel worthy. And we do that by, by what we give to others. And now we've left men in this, this tricky position of, I mean, How do I say this?

On, the one hand, I just told you that this podcast is kind of anti patriarchy, right. But that's different than being anti men. And I think that's a very important distinction to point out. And I think that a lot of men, I don't think, I feel like I know a lot of men feel like society and the world is telling them you're a man, especially your demographic.

Justin, you are a straight. Man therefore you are bad. And I think it's really easy to see why that message is being perceived by people. But what is the message that men should be getting from everything that's going on? How can we reframe that? So that men don't, don't go through this identity crisis being told you're a man, so you're bad.

What, what's the reframe there? How can you come out of that?

Justin: Well, you know, it's, it's kind of interesting because you, you saying, I ha I'm having a couple of, couple of different thoughts and I I'm hoping I can capture at least one of them somewhat, somewhat. Well, But with what you said about this, this band. Well, again, talking about, you know, going back to our earlier our earlier conversation about creating dichotomies and binaries.

Well, the opposite of bad. Well, you know, the, the reflex, the reflex, the automatic reaction there, the gut reaction there is to say, but I'm Not bad. I'm good. I'm a good guy. I'm a good man.

Kimber: Not all men.

Justin: Right. Right. But even this, you know, and this is, this is one thing that I have come to really appreciate is that as equally dangerous? I, I think, I think that both of them, I think that that whole dichotomy, that both ends of that continuum are dangerous and toxic for everyone involved. Because when we, you know, if we were, let's say, let's say that I am. Internalize that again, what I, what I perceive as society is telling me is that you are bad as a, you know, again, as you mentioned as a, as a white heterosexual male, you are bad. If I internalize that again, like that ha that helps that serves. Absolutely. No, absolutely. No one on the other side of that, if again, if I create in my mind a binary between those two, if I say, well, no, I'm not bad.

I'm good. Well then by, by telling myself no, I'm a good guy. I almost, I hesitate to say this, by telling myself I'm a, I'm a good guy. I almost. Excuse myself from accountability for anything that I may be doing, whether intentional or otherwise that may be having kind of, some of these deleterious effects, some of these negative impacts on the world, on the relationships, on the individuals that are around me.

Kimber: And do you, and you diminish the systemic problems that really do exist by excusing yourself from them, right? Like it's, it's really, what's happening is people are saying, there's a problem with this system that needs to be fixed. And like you said, there's still this DICOM, there's this, this feeling like you said of, I'm not a bad, I know I'm not a bad person.

So. Therefore, I must not be part of the problem at all. Like this, this binary way of thinking. Isn't helpful, whether you think I am a bad person or whether you think no, I'm a good person. So therefore don't have to worry about this and just keep excusing it. There needs to be some middle ground where you can not associate things with your individual self-worth, but instead look at it at a systemic level.

Which is not easy to do. It's not easy to do.

Justin: No, it definitely isn't. And you know, in terms of like a new, a new way of looking at it is a, there's a, there's a quote that I'm going to paraphrase probably badly that I believe is attributed to Maya Angelou, but it, it basically says something along the lines of, I do my best until I know better. And then I do better. And to me that just that, that captures so well. Everything that we need. You know, again, we, we, as, as, as men, I'm speaking, you know, to, to my brother and I'm speaking to my brother, and this is what we need to do is we need to kind of put down again, put down this, this weaponized binary way of thinking of no, I'm not a bad guy.

I'm a good guy. And therefore everything I do is above reproach and say, I am doing my best. But if, and when I find out that something that I'm doing is hurtful is, is, you know, kind of again, dismissive or belittling of someone else, be it, you know, whole, whole groups and demographics of people, of individuals in our lives or, and, or both the minute that I become aware of that.

And this is, this is in terms of, in terms of what do we do about it? I think this is the important thing is that we stay in the room. I think right now, you know, you, you, you asked me something in, in preparing for this, this podcast sitting down together, you asked me something that this, this is what I thought about was as, as a, again, speaking of myself, personally, as a white heterosexual male in this time. That is the most important thing that I can do is I can stay in the room, whether we're talking about race, whether we're talking about sexual orientation, whether we're talking about gender, whether we're talking about gender norms, whatever it is, I need to stay in the room. And I need to realize that there will probably be some anger there, there will probably be some discomfort that there will probably be some. Unpleasant expressions. And the best thing that I can do is I can sit in the room and I can listen and I can do what I can in my sphere of influence in my circle, in my life to, to do better because it's gonna be.

Kimber: that's so beautiful. And, and as you were talking that list of masculine qualities that you listed earlier came to my mind, like what better way to have courage and be strong. And provide and protect these people you love then by staying in the room that takes crazy courage and strength to be able to do that.

What a cool, what a cool flip. I love that idea of staying in the room.

Justin: Because again, it's, it's, it's not, it's not about again, toxic masculinity, those, the, the traits themselves, the traits themselves are not the top. It's the application, it's the application and the exclusion of all else that makes them toxic. It's not the characteristic, cause it's not the attributes.

We just need to apply them differently. And like you said, this is a great way to do.

Kimber: I feel like this is a perfect, perfect place to kind of close this up. So takeaways to the listeners, they can be directly to the men. Who've got anything for the other listeners. you have for us?

Justin: I think if I were to say one thing that could apply for again, for men, themselves, but also for the women and, and others who are listening, it would be expect more, expect more. If you're a man, expect more of yourself, look for ways that you can do that. You can be more that you can do and be better if you're.

A woman, if you are in a woman with a relationship with a man, hold his feet to the fire, don't, don't let him slide by saying you do the laundry so much better than I do. I could never follow them the way that you do, you cook so much better. I burn water learn. We can learn. So expect.

Kimber: I'm going to have to think on that one. I don't know if I'll keep this part in the podcast or not, but I have to tell this story to you that but they're mutual friends, you know, Zach and Shelah, we have mutual friends and I's with, I was with my grandma at a show and we ran into these friends and I was talking to Shella my.

Friend, who's a woman. And my grandma said to her, Hey, I was at this performance, you did the other day. And I was just so impressed that your husband is such a good babysitter. And I looked at my grandma and I said men aren't babysitters they're dads. Yeah. My grandma's like, oh, that's right. Like, oh, that's right.

Men are parents. Now. They used to be.

Justin: Such a cute application of that word, right? Oh, oh.

Kimber: Oh, that's

Justin: drives me crazy. It drives me crazy. In fact, the same thing happened to me on Sunday. I was, I was teaching, I was teaching a Sunday school class and I walked in holding our youngest. And one of the young men said, oh, you're going to teach and babysit.

Huh. And I just looked at him and I said, I'm not babysitting I'm parenting. I mean, he just, he just, oh, oh, I, I feel you. I feel

Kimber: And I think I'm just not ready to stop talking yet. I guess. I think that's the other piece of this puzzle, right. Is we have to teach, as we learn to do better. As we learn these new ways of thinking and helping the communities around us, we need to teach the younger. Generation the same thing, right?

We need to just, like you said about this expect more idea. We need to teach our daughters to expect more of the men they date than we did. And we need to teach our sons to expect more of themselves. Which I will admit part of me when you said expect more part of me, man. No, that can't be the takeaway because this podcast is called.

Just be your bad self, right? It's about our inherent worth. It's about but it's also a personal growth podcast too. And, and this, okay. Here's the tie in right here

You see you're worthy. You are a human worthy of. Right. Whoever you are, whether you're even if you're a straight white male, are a human worthy of love just by being you, doesn't make you perfect. And it doesn't mean there's not room to grow and we, but we can grow from this place of worthiness.

Right. We can expect more from ourselves from. Of worthiness. You don't need to expect more from yourself because you're not worthy of love or because you need to prove anything to anybody. You expect more for yourself out of love for yourself and out of love for the people around you. Would you agree?

Justin: Absolutely. Absolutely. No, I, I, I think in terms of. Yeah, in terms of, of, of worth and, and ability like as men, we, we shortchange ourselves, we shortchange ourselves and, and part of what we discussed. Again, this, this searching this, women's stepping up and providing more and being, being as capable and closing the wage gap.

Like these are all, these are, these are all like, there's nothing. There's nothing bad about women being paid the same as men. There's no, there's no downside to this, but like we, we, we, we tie our worth to other things. And when, and when that, when that vein of worth. We're we're left feeling worthless. When in truth, we have so much to give, you know, it's, it's more and, you know, I, I mean, I, I went to the place of, of laundry and, and and things, because those are the, I mean, those are the concrete, those are the concrete examples that I'm sure every, you know, every woman who's ever been married to a man would say, oh, hallelujah, thank you.

Amen. Kind of thing. At the same time, like we have, we have more to give to our children in terms of emotional availability, in terms of comfort, in terms of nurturing, we have more to give and more, more ability to receive our wives, from our children instead of just shriveling up and, and diving, you know, under the, under the Bulletproof armor.

Anytime that, you know, it goes to caregiving or nurturing or providing emotional connection. We have more.

Kimber: Yeah. And I love when you S when you talk about this ability to receive, because , I think. The thoughts, like two-fold the sad, one of the saddest things that the patriarchy I'm doing finger air-quotes does to men, is it isolates you, and it puts this huge burden on you when, when you say expect more, we've, we've kind of delved into that a little more on what you meant by that.

But I, I thought of my own husband who does it a lot, right. Men Can be super hardworking and they do protect and provide and do all these things. And I've just imagined if I told my husband, like you got to expect more from yourself, he does so much. And I, I think, I think that the, I love this idea of, of receive more, allow other people.

To do more too, you know, it's this weird balance. So yes, you need to do, do more. But also you need to, to be able to receive more, allow yourself to be vulnerable. I, you know, I'm doing these, this women's retreat in January. By the time this podcast airs, it will probably be done, but I've thought a lot.

Man, wouldn't it be cool if we could do a Mandarin. Because if anybody needs something like that, honestly, I think that would be super helpful for men to get that community, to allow themselves to express, to be vulnerable. But I am not at a point where I would do that because I don't think we could sell tickets.

Justin: Oh, you're very, you're very right. And, and as far as men are concerned, you know, that I think you're spot on. I think you're spot on. And if, if, if you were to Teligent man, just as, as a general rule, expect more again, it's been so drilled into. Preside provide protect that they would say, how, how do I give I'm already working 16 hour days?

How you tell me? And there's, there's anger, there's anger. I mean, I've had this conversation. I've had this conversation with men before where that's the reaction is it goes right to anger because they are, I mean, they are working 16 hour days. They are working and the, it goes back to what you said, like, Okay.

And I don't know. I don't know how to say this because it's, it's a hard, there, there are no easy answers. There are no easy answers. That weight is what it boils down to, but we have focused almost to the exclusion of all else on this provide where we're we're we, we aren't available. We aren't available to receive. Whether, whether that's love, whether that's affection, emotional connection, we, we aren't there because we're so busy providing whether that's at work, whether that's, I mean, he's just kind of XYZ, you know, and my wife and I were, and I'm, I'm. You'll have to, you'll have to use your discretion as far as what to include in that we are not wealthy people.

I have a job that I enjoy work with a great team of people. It allows me a lot of flexibility. I work. I make enough that we're able to pay our bills. We don't take fancy vacations. We don't have any of that. We don't have any of the toys that you know, that the trappings of wealth, we don't have any of the ATVs UTVs or that any, any other kind of TVs?

Oh, well, anyway,

Kimber: just the TV.

Justin: like we don't, we don't have any of these, but we are, what we do have is I, again, I have a job where I'm, I'm able to be around and. I am with my family so much. And I realize, again, they're not every field, not every occupation has that luxury has that ability, but I'm just saying sometimes we focus to the exclusion on the provider. And we hold ourselves to these unrealistic outside expectations when you know, and I, and I'm not immune to that. There are so, so many times. And so often that I, I fall prey to those ways of thinking. I look at other people and I just think, oh man, like, like we haven't bought a house. Oh, we haven't taken a vacation to Disneyland.

We haven't done this. We haven't done that. And you know, in those moments, I am fortunate enough to have my wife just looks at me. Claire just looks at me. She looks me in the face and she says, We're happy.

Kimber: Yeah.

Justin: And I, you know, and it just receiving that, receiving that I just, it gives me space. It gives me an opportunity to just go that's true. And we are, you know, and I, and I just, I, and I don't know. I mean, I. I don't have very many, you know, really, really close friends. All I know, you know, all I, all I see is, you know, social media stuff. I mean, I have, obviously I'm not a total recluse. I have a few friends that I, that I know I would think I know.

Well, but I see so many that that's all they focus on is here. I am at work here I am at work or here I am enjoying the trappings of like the product of my work. Here's me like. Which is not bad. Like, I don't know. I don't know what necessarily I'm even trying to say, but just this idea of receiving more, that resonates.

Kimber: Yeah, Elliot Elliot just showed me a Bob Marley quote, the other day where someone asked, are you rich? And he said, what do you think rich is? And hinder, like, do you have millions of dollars? And he said no, but Nope, I take it back. This is a different Bob Marley. We were watching this Bob Marley video where he was kind of saying that richness is about your life.

And then Elliot was looking up when Bob Marley died and KA stumbled upon Bob Marley's last words. So cool to have cool aspirates. I wish that for myself,

Justin: Mine are

Kimber: but Bob

Justin: like you bring with that water or something.

Kimber: mine too, probably, but Bob Marley had a really cool last words. His last words were money. Can't buy life and, and I think.

Justin: Yeah.

Kimber: That's something that men, as well as all of us really need to remember that.

But I think the pressure with this, these three, you know, preside provide protect money, plays a huge role in that. And I think what can go into this idea of expect more, expect more from, from life, allow more, right? You don't have to push so hard all the time, allow more, and that can include. You know, allowing more feminine aspects in yourself, allowing qualities and other pers people that maybe you were taught not to allow, be more open, be more open to receiving, be more open to change.

Don't clean so hard to this idea of what it means to be a man. If you say you're a man, you're a man and you can allow that to unfold. In whatever way that unfolds for you.

Justin: Completely agree.


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Justin Nuckles


Justin is a man learning how to do better. He’s a husband and a father, and basically a professional parent. His education and training in child development and early relationships allowed him to get a job, but more importantly changed how he chooses to be with others. He writes his stories with the intent of demonstrating how people can be better in relationship with each other in difficulties and challenges. Mostly, he’s a great big curmudgeonly goofball with a soft spot for humanity.