While writing The Bullying Antidote…

One week to go in my fundraiser for Oakland Kids. Please donate, share, participate!
*  *  *  *
While writing Chapter 3: Problematic Childrearing Practices, outside my open window my nineteen-year-old neighbor who lives with her unemployed mother sat with her girlfriend on the steps of the apartment next door.
Her toddler, ready for a nap, complained, now and then, in a nonverbal way, as babies do, about the hot sun.
And every time she made a noise, her young mother would say,
“Shut up.”
And instead of going outside and telling her how it hurt me to hear that, and how wrong she was because babies need words to understand what they are feeling or they will grow up and tell everyone to shut up, I had to keep working to meet my deadline.
So I prayed that she would read my book someday.
*  *  *  *
While editing Chapter 5: Understanding Bullying, a boy went to jail, tried as an adult for doing one stupid thing that hurt a person in a skirt, and then telling the grownups it’s because he didn’t like gays, which wasn’t the truth. But to be cool you must be vigilant against anything different, and under pressure, this boy said what he thought they wanted to hear.
*  *  *  *
When I wrote Chapters 10, 12, and 17, (about Brains, Communication, and Technology), my husband, a teacher, came home with stories.
Like of the boy sent home for bad behavior whose sister put him in a headlock on the front steps and the staff pulled him back to save him from her.
And the girl who complained her teacher was mean so mom came in to beat up the teacher.
And the boy whose mom smacked him with a shoe all the way to the classroom door (setting him up for a wonderful day of learning…).
And what he tries to teach them all:
“Use your words.”
But the rules in their families clearly state otherwise.
*  *  *  *
When I was writing Chapter 6, Toward a Bully-Free Culture, in which I state:
“Human Rights are what we give to one another,”
I thought of a man who was born victim class in a country where inequality was the law, but his parents knew better. And when he became president knees shook, hearts trembled, because the ruling class knew they deserved what was coming to them for two hundred years of climbing on their power with full helpings of neglect, abuse and death.
But this man said,
“Let’s move on instead.”
And that day I found the word for the superpower that’s the antidote to bullying that people can learn, parents and kids alike.
Zorgos means I will care.
Moms and dads, let’s talk about the nuances.

*  *  *  *

Join me for Happy Hour at Lake Chalet on Tuesday, November 24 to learn about The Bullying Antidote give-away and help us with our 11th-hour fundraising push!  This project will help create a cultural shift in Oakland by expanding positive parenting practices throughout Oakland’s communities. In addition to our great perks, all donors will get a chance to win a gondola ride!
Please help spread the word about The Zorgos Project.

(Interested in starting a reading group at your school, church, workplace, or elsewhere? Request books at www.zorgosproject.org.)

What do you think?