Here is something Kristen wrote for a poetry salon to share why this book and project are so important to her:
* * * *
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,
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.
* * * *
Please spread the word about The Zorgos Project at Start Some Good.
If you can make a donation TODAY, you will make a difference to Oakland kids, helping parents creating safer and happier families, streets, and schools.
If this project works in Oakland, it can work elsewhere.
Even a $1 donation will be so appreciated!
With Love, Hope, Appreciation, and ZORGOS,