Discussion Questions: Introduction

Our discussion groups have begun! We will be posting chapters weekly until the end of May. Feel free to pick up a book and read along… or download the chapter right from this post! (For a limited time.) Respond with your thoughts in the comments.

Connecting the Dots: from Bullying to Breakthrough

DOWNLOAD Introduction (english only)

This chapter opens the conversation with an overview of the book. To get off to a good start, get an overview of the group. Each person should introduce themselves and say what they want to get out of this reading group.

The first statement in this book is that bullying is a dynamic, “defining the issue as a power structure problem that can be changed with awareness, knowledge, and skills.”

Q: Have you ever been a victim of bullying? Have you ever been a bully? Were you labeled either way? Was the situation changed with awareness? Could it have been?

We give the antidote to bullying a name: Zorgos! There are many aspects to this “superpower.” The word comes from the Esperanto, “I will take care.

Q: Who do you know who embodies the idea of Zorgos? What does this word mean to you?

Answer any question you choose, or use the standard conversation kick-starter:

Q: What sentence jumped out at you? Why?

Reply in the Comments, below!

Chapter 1 >>

Looking for resource links? Click here.

Upstanders Stand Up in Style!

Some of the most inspiring efforts to stand up against bullying are sartorial.

A nationwide movement to wear pink shirts in protest of bullying everywhere started when high schoolers in one Canada town passed out pink shirts from the Goodwill and discount stores for seniors to wear in support of a ninth grader who had been bullied for wearing pink. | video

ea2459b61afb11e2914322000a1f984e_61Students in three high schools in San Francisco’s East Bay towns wore skirts on busses and to schools to show solidarity for an agender senior whose skirt had been lit on fire on the bus.

Gang Up for Good’s Mean Stinks campaign has two million girls painting their pinky fingernails blue to show they won’t stand for bullying.

And here’s a great story about boys! Young football players, rather than “beating up on the bullies” as tough guys tend to want to do when they’re feeling hurt and upset, dressed up instead to show they were with the target. Way to disengage from the bullying dynamic!

 

Kids at school often bullied Danny — they didn’t understand why he wore a dress shirt or fedora each day, and they didn’t understand why he couldn’t talk. Danny has apraxia of speech, a motor disorder that makes it difficult for him to communicate. Kids would go up to him and ask, “Why can’t you talk? Just talk.” He’d come home from school distraught.

But a group of the boys on the Bridgewater Badgers’ football team, where Danny is the official water manager, wouldn’t stand for this. Their solution? A “Danny Appreciation Day,” where they would all imitate Danny’s suave style and proudly go to school. In the Life Is Good video below, you can watch scenes from that day — more than 40 boys wore suits. Danny led the march.

via 40 Boys Put on Suits to Stand Up for Their Friend. It Worked. | The Mighty.

 

Bullying and Zorgos on the Political Stage

Want to talk about the bullying dynamic? Let’s look at South Africa before the 1990s. The bullies were the white South African people, backed up by their government, which systemically victimized the black South African people, who had no economic or legal means. This system was held in place by fear: the victims feared the capricious violence of the bullies on a daily basis, and the bullies feared the retribution of these people, should they ever get an ounce of power. In other words, the bullies feared becoming victims themselves. They could see no other outcome.

Want to talk about Zorgos? Let’s look at Nelson Mandela, who saw the way through this psychosocial stalemate, this political nightmare, this emotional sewer. He stood up with his people and said “This is not right.” He was thrown in jail for 28 years. But he never gave up hope that his country could evolve beyond bullying, and he never stopped working on the problem.

Credit goes to President de Klerk, also, for freeing Mandela at last, without any controlling conditions. He saw that Mandela had something special in him. Still, the bullying dynamic continued, with his government continuing to provoke and harm their legal inferiors. The fear that one day the black community would call for revenge was a “realistic” expectation in their mindset.

That mindset took some work to change. In spite of their pain, in spite of their absolutely understandable desire to fight their bullies, Mandela—who had received military training and knew he could fight—asked his people to lay their guns aside and proceed peacefully toward their goals of equality. This astonished the bullying government, gave them hope that their worst fears would not be realized, and helped them take responsibility for being the aggressors. The country was close to a civil war, but it never had one. de Klerk’s government gave black South Africans the right to vote.

South Africa elected Nelson Mandela president. The bullying dynamic was defused with a sincere commitment to positive change. The new government took care to address all lingering hard feelings. In a shocking display of forgiveness, they allowed all South Africans to stand up and confess to one another the horrible things they had done, rather than persecuting those who had acted out of fear and hatred. As pain was shared, emotions were released. Apologies were given. Amends were made. A new South Africa was born.

Want to talk about how Zorgos defeats the bullying dynamic? This is how it’s done. With vision. With collaboration. With commitment to morality, humanity, justice, dignity, understanding, conviction, lucidity, self-discipline, thoughtfulness, respect. With inspiration. With love. With Amandla.

“Customers will be relieved to find on your shelves”

Tell your local bookstore about The Bullying Antidote! Here’s a review from Retailing Insight, a trade magazine:

Parents today are in competition with cultural trends in general, and advertising specifically, for the health and well-being of their children. One of the side effects has been an epidemic of bullying. 

Whether your customers have children or not, they will have been affected in one or another by aggressive children without good boundaries. Any parent who has school-age children will have bullying at the top of their list of things to worry about. Louise Hart and Kristen Caven have tackled the problem head on, armed with cutting edge research and neuroscience.

This mother-daughter team believes that we are close to the tipping point when it comes to bullying, because the majority of parents have had enough and are ready to initiate a cultural change. This book will not only fuel that fire, it will give readers the information, insight, and specific tools they need to begin creating a better environment for all our children. By raising self-esteem, instilling assertive communication skills, and creating action for children to use when bullying occurs, parents can make their children more resilient and bully proof.

This is a well-written, understandable, and comprehensive book which many of your customers will be relieved to find on your shelves.