This is what I think. Please tell me, am I right?? If an external pulling force is applied on one end then there will be tension in opposite direction. And if an external pushing force is applied on there will be normal force in opposite direction.
Stick or any solid object for that matter is a collection of atoms held together by microscopic attractive forces. These forces behave much like a spring in most cases. Imagine that the atoms are held together by small springs. A representative microscopic picture of most(not all) solids would look like this.
So you can think of pushing and pulling a stick much like pushing and pulling on a spring or series of springs.
Note: Of course I just used the spring as a familiar example to help you imagine the process. In fact most 'springs' you see behave like 'springs' because of the forces between the atoms that make up the spring. That is its actually the other way around. I hope I have not confused you with this last bit.