Emma Lorenceau, 16
Emma Lorenceau, from Levallois-Perret, Paris, France, discovered her passion for writing at Labo des Histoires (the Lab of Stories), a youth writing and tutoring center in France. While interning at Robert Laffont, a leading French publishing house, Lorenceau gained deeper insight to the publishing world, particularly in how books are chosen for publication by considering the publisher’s risk versus reward, as well as how difficult it is to sell books in today’s world, one in which television has significantly shrunk the population’s attention span. Lorenceau’s time at Labo has led to her participation in Les Enfants Des Livres (The Kids of the Books), a radio program that reviews new books for young adult readers on France Info, a national radio station. The program not only reviews books but reads excerpts from the books, providing potential readers with a teaser, in hopes of inspiring them to read more.
Lorenceau is a fervent advocate for animal rights and food awareness. She recognizes that many people in our world are willfully blind to the agonies of the world: factory farming, gender inequity, animal abuse, resource depletion, and environmental degradation, just to name a few. Lorenceau feels that the average person maintains an attitude of “someone else will do it” or “I will act on this later.” She recommends that a universal way to fight injustices in this world is to educate oneself on the world around and find an approachable tone to spread knowledge. Finding the right words and tone of the message is key as extremist and aggressive tactics often discredit the facts. Through word of mouth, leveraging social networks, and highlighting key influences, Lorenceau’s activism and writing is a call to arms for her peers to create a world of justness and fairness for all.
By Emma Lorenceau
While time passes, things change, and so do people. In our beloved twenty-first century, everything is going really fast--technology, societal mutation, and more. People also evolve: children are growing up, to adolescence, and finally to adulthood. Let’s not forget the importance that youth can have in society, and the place society can have for young generations. A lot of things can be accomplished during this period of our lives. The key is how we use this precious time.
With the beginning of adolescence comes a lot of questioning, such as “who am I?”; “who do I want to become?”; “where do I want to go?”. The development of one-self is a long road full of obstacles. We need to find in ourselves the moral rules which will help us all throughout our lives. We also think about the kind of person we want to be and become. Do you want to be defined as someone joyful, and positive? Do you wish to turn into someone pragmatic and realistic, or maybe pessimistic and sarcastic? This critical phase is when we start a real construction of ourselves. We work hard to find the answers on the person we are molding, one question at a time. Despite being born equal in rights, the chances we are given at birth are not at all the same. Two people born the same day can have totally different lives. For some, adolescence is an easy period of creation and self-development. Evolving in a structured and sound environment, with a loving family, a good school with teachers who care about you, friends who we can counted on, adolescence and personal development may still be a challenge, but not as difficult. Contrariwise, when you grow up in an environment with a dysfunctional family, and a school where the only concern is teaching the program without worrying about your understanding of the subject, the evolution is much harder. When you need to fight against your life conditions, in addition to examining the hard questions of adolescence, giving up sometimes looks like the only option. The “birthright" is among the decisive factors of the person you will become and how you want to live. Adolescent difficulties are easily understandable. One of the biggest things teenagers think about is how they are perceived and what they show the world. The clothes we are wearing is a way to express and protect ourselves, signaling our membership to a community, gaining protection and solidarity as a part of this group.
Another key thing we need to do is to learn to love our bodies. Under the permanent judgment of other people, it is really hard to look at ourselves in the mirror and say, “I’m beautiful” and comparisons with movie actors or models makes it harder. The discovery of sexuality is another mark of adolescence. Discovering what sex is about and navigating sexual orientation is something that may be terrifying for some.
In this process of "full change”, teenagers need to make adjustments in their life. To successfully change and assert themselves, teenagers need to escape the family cocoon. This cocoon has protected you from an infinite number of things, but an evolution of the environment is vital. Adolescence is the beginning of a need for independence-- to do things on your own, and rely less on the help of your parents. Cutting the cord, breaking the dependance on your family is essential for the learning process of the life you are starting. The felicity to actualize yourself, to build your projects without help, has no match. It’s at this time that the relationships you have started to build with your friends become a real anchor in hard times. They become a new place of safety, as teenage friends understand your thought-pattern way more than your parents. At this challenging age, your are creating a strong connection with them, as you pass through so many emotions. Indeed all your emotions are enhanced. There is a new discovery of feelings such as love, passion, friendship, as well as anger, or sadness. At this time everything we undertake is fueled by rage, passion and a determination unfindable at an other age. To put all this energy at its advantage, it’s important to link it with actions, perhaps in sports or in arts. You can push to your maximum capacity and learn the meaning of engagement in these endeavors. For some teenagers, their energy and determination goes into causes.
This desire to be part of something more important comes from a desire to find our role in society. In our work to grow up and make the right choices, electing to take part of a group or selecting something we are passionate about makes us grow. As the time passes you need to find the place where you can be yourself, evolve and enhance your capacities. These sort of things have the ability to give meaning to a teenager's life, to make them feel they have their role to play. That’s why taking part of activities, of moral fights is essential to the teen development. When we engage ourselves in an activity or a cause, we aren't just looking for pleasure, but instead, we are looking for responsibilities. For example, a guitarist in a group: he can’t just play music when he wants and have some fun. He now has responsibility towards his band. He needs to work harder on his music tracks, to give his best. It’s in situation like this that we get the strength to make the right choices. Because giving up is the last option. Others we care for are involved and letting them down isn’t an option. The influence of a group, a community, is a power more than a weakness. It’s making you stronger, and helps you discover new things: compassion, solidarity, and the difficulties of life.