Discussion Questions: Chapter Nineteen

Superpowering Our Kids

We have reached the end of The Bullying Antidote! This chapter wraps up everything we have learned with some big-picture ideas: The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, human rights, and how Sweden got to the top of the UNICEF child well-being list.

“As much as we like the idea of an antidote to bullying, what we really love is the idea of building immunity. We really love the idea of a superpower: Zorgos! Our secret word represents all the antidotes we’ve mentioned rolled into one. To be called forth, it must be nurtured from the inside and the outside.” (p. 347)

Q: Zorgos is a six-letter word that symbolizes all of the human qualities that are the opposite of, or the antidotes to bullying. After reading this book, how would you personally define Zorgos?

“…Bullying overlaps with civil rights issues; it can be seen as discriminatory harassment when it is based on race, national origin, sex, age, disability, or religion.” (p. 348)

Q: Parents don’t always realize that schools are required by law to protect children from discrimination and harassment issues. How do you see your child’s school teaching these concepts? What types of bullying are not legally-protected harassment issues?

every living soulrespect“When students are taught about human rights in schools, they tend to treat one another and themselves better.” (p. 348)

“Human rights are something we give one another.” (p. 350)

Q: Who is in charge of giving humans their rights? Other humans who have power. How can you give rights to those who you have power over? 

A song about giving human rights

A song about giving human rights

Extra Credit: Organize a community musical project with students on the Convention on the Rights of the Child. OR on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

“The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 29, specifies that countries must take responsibility for…all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all form of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.”

Q: All members of the United Nations have ratified (agreed to) the Convention on the Rights of the Child, except three: the United States, South Sudan (the newest nation), and Somalia. Why do you suppose the United States has not done so?

Extra Credit: Sign this petition for the Universal Declaration on the Rights of the Child, or write to your representatives in congress! 

The United States is at the bottom of the UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) well-being list. Sweden landed at the top of the list. Let’s compare:

“The Swedish government supports the vital parent-child attachment process that promotes healthy development…. Meanwhile, the United States is the only country in the developed world without a mandatory paid maternity leave. Even in Afghanistan, the worst country in the world in terms of mothering support, mothers get ninety days of paid leave.” (p. 352)

Q: Which of the facts about Sweden listed in the bullets on page 352 do you find most impressive, or most desirable for our country?

“Adults, just like children, are influenced by their peers. The conversations we have, the news we watch and listen to, the interactions with other adults—all of these things influence us. It is essential that you find a buddy who shares in your vision of positive parenting. Or better yet, a community.” (p. 357)

Q: Through this discussion process, do you feel like you have found a buddy to support you in your work as a parent? A community?

What will you do next?

Looking for resource links? Click here.

<< Chapter 18 | Finale >>

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Cosmic Citizen Radio on The Big Picture of Bullying

Please listen to this wonderful two-hour interview with Kristen Caven about bullying from a spiritual perspective. Paula Thompson, Andre Radatus, and Christilyn Biek-Larson, the hosts of Cosmic Citizen Radio provide space and time for a wide-ranging conversation about every angle of this social problem.

It is a two-hour interview, but if you would like to drop in and listen for a few minutes, here is a guide to the key moments:

  • 5:30 Interview begins
  • 6:45 Kristen explains why bullying is NOT a subject near and dear to her heart.
  • 10:00 What The Bullying Antidote is and how the book is structured – 3 parts
  • 11:30 What bullying is and how we can understand it: bullying defined, the bullying dynamic.
  • 14:50 Zorgos!
  • 17:30 Racism, Terrorism… how we justify bullying with fear and confusion.
  • 18:45 What’s in the news: “average citizen” shooter in Chattanooga has an abusive family; random racial beating by college students; Boko Haram uses child bombers; what bullying turns into.
  • 22:00 What do we tolerate and what do we nurture? How the extreme fundamentalist, autocratic parenting style has swung to permissive style. Cultural support for and normalcy of bullying.
  • 25:00 Three mainstream parenting practices that unknowingly nurture bullying dynamics.
  • 27:30 ACES study
  • 30:00 Long-term research on punishment in Sweden – the story of how one country changed its story, and how the US rates in UNICEF study.
  • 34:00 Brain Science – we are wired for negativity and need to consciously work on positivity
  • 35:00 No-spank laws and the Declaration on the Rights of the Child
  • 39:00 How the US ranks nationally for childhood wellness
  • 41:30 The great work being done in the US, in schools, to diminish bullying
  • 43:45 Pre-school is key to protecting society from bullying & crime
  • 44:30 How cooperative preschools create good culture; what to look for in schools in terms of bullying
  • 47:00 <an enthusiastic plug for Pixar’s Inside Out!
  • 48:00 My Vision for World Domination…?
  • 50:00 (How this book can help heal adult love relationships as well!)
  • 53:00 Bullying is being mean! If we are compassionate to ourselves, we won’t hurt others/our kids. 
  • 54:00 Gandalf’s intention: “You! Shall! Not! Pass!” Great example of how to stand up against bullies.
  • 56:00 How Paula’s daughter was bullied (note about handout at bottom of this page: https://zorgos.wordpress.com/discussion/)
  • 1:03 Kristen’s response…pecking orders… when bullying begins… how schools respond…what bullying isn’t…testing…
  • 1:08:30 How Kristen was a bully, and what her teacher did.
  • 1:09:30 Christilyn on Halt and Catch Fire “faggot” locker scene – how sexual difference is a “protected” area for bullies
  • 1:13 Kristen compares culture of gay bullying before legal Gay Marriage struggle to Nazi and Slavery propaganda that made killing Jews, enslaving blacks culturally/economically correct. Bringing injustice to light eliminates systemic discrimination.
  • 1:16 good school rules – respect, no labeling
  • 1:18 Dennis Leary quote: “My kid hates one thing: naps.” How racism and hatred are perpetuated.
  • 1:19:45 Chrystilin on how teaching kids how to be obedient teaches them to accept social bullying
  • 1:20:30 Fight, Flight, or Freeze question
  • 1:21: Nazi generation victims of terrible parenting in Weimar Republic – children as “poison containers” – this mindset happening now. How a child’s brain chooses whether to develop survival- or growth- oriented neurons. Feminine perspective is “tend and befriend.” Kids learn there are other options to conflict.
  • 1:28:30 The power of upstanders! Great stories about people with Zorgos who say “knock it off.” (bully guards, mean stinks, pink shirt day)
  • 1:34 How one parent turned her child bully’s life around 
  • 1:36 Caller: a schoolteacher who sees systemic bullying. Thoughts on anti-bullying policies.
  • 1:42 How to look at school bullying programs & policies
  • 1:46 (shout-out to Oakland), and the importance of parents in supporting schools
  • 1:50:30 Bullying is a human rights issue.
  • 1:52:30 Don’t read The Bullying Antidote alone! The work of changing a culture cannot be done alone.
  • 1:53 Quick look at Part 3 of the book – things you can learn.
  • 1:57 parents are more powerful than we know! Parents could turn bullying around in one generation by teaching our kids Zorgos!