Daniel Barker lives with his mother, his father having left when he was a baby. Mrs Barker still carries some resentment towards her husband and expresses in the story that she doesn't want her son to become like him.
Mrs Barker has the help of Daniel's grandmother, who he is close to. Daniel often rings his grandmother to ask her advice, and they have a good relationship. She helps him many times throughout By Power or Blight. This theme was chosen as over the past 20 years single-parent families have become even
more common than the so-called "nuclear family" consisting of a mother,
father and children. Today we see all sorts of single- parent families:
headed by mothers, headed by fathers, headed by a grandparent raising
Life in a single-parent household — though common — can be quite
stressful for the adult and the children. Members may unrealistically
expect that the family can function like a two-parent family, and may
feel that something is wrong when it can not. The single parent may feel
overwhelmed by the responsibility of juggling caring for the children,
maintaining a job and keeping up with the bills and household chores.
And typically, the family's finances and resources are drastically
reduced following the parents' breakup.
Single-parent families deal with many other pressures and potential
problem areas that the nuclear family does not have to face.
Stressors faced by single parent families include:
* Visitation and custody problems.
* The effects of continuing conflict between the parents.
- * Less opportunity for parents and children to spend time together.
- * Effects of the breakup on children's school performance and peer relations.
* Disruptions of extended family relationships.
* Problems caused by the parents' dating and entering new relationships.
We all want children to grow up in a world free from bias and
discrimination, to reach for their dreams and feel that whatever they
want to accomplish in life is possible. We want them to feel loved and
included and never to experience the pain of rejection or exclusion. But
the reality is that we do live in a world in which racism and other
forms of bias continue to affect us. Discrimination hurts and leaves
scars that can last a lifetime, affecting goals, ambitions, life
choices, and feelings of self-worth.
Even though in Power or Blight, Daniel is a typical boy, as stated in the Introduction, the gift of his Scrivener power changes things. It makes him different. When I wrote the story I thought an equivalent example for today may be a child's family winning the lottery, or a child acquiring a physical disability - something that had a dramatic change - something that may be accepted for a while, but then not so much. Having the theme of difference and diversity in Daniel Barker encourages discussions. It goes a step towards children thinking about how they can show respect for others who are different from themselves, and the language they speak.