My novel, Threshold, was written over a ten-year period due to a period of care-giving for my father. I decided to revise the original story from one in the distant future to a more immediate story. Climate science improved over that period, and I realized that what we do now was the focus I needed.
In the new draft, two teenagers emerged that were not in the earlier draft. I believe my concerns for young people and years of teaching middle school and high school students in the Southwest resulted in three characters I love: Daniel – Junior Docent at the Desert Museum; Luna – emerging youth leader of the Tohono O’odham Nation, and Enrique – a troubled youth with a brave heart.
The story lines follow my conviction that we all play a part in the development of young people in our lives. We may even play a key role by just doing simple things like showing up with a platter of burritos (Mrs Carillo, Enrique’s neighbor), or offering a kind word at a particularly potent time (Harold Liebowitz with Daniel). Often, it is helping your child by letting them struggle (Luna’s mother). Youth need encouragement in ways that fit them.
They also need adults to clear the path by breaking down social and economic barriers that keep real talents from blooming or dying on the vine from poverty and hopelessness (Congressman Ramirez with his community). And some youths who have lost a parent or suffered an equally dramatic blow, just need us to be around dependably until they can get back on their feet (Ed and Carla for Daniel).
With the uncertainty of climate change, what can each of us do to empower and support the kids in our lives? What skills do they need, what can we change or strengthen while we are here that will enable them as they meet their future?
If it means changing a way of life, using different forms of transportation, giving up some of our sacred cows, will we be willing to do so for them, and all the children who follow? Read Threshold to learn what the adults in Daniel, Luna, and Enrique’s lives do to help them make a bright future.
Youth who are empowered and making change: