The Shoe Boy concept was begun in October 1995 and has been refined since that time. Initially Shoe Boy simply met injustices in his world travels and sought for a World Teacher who could provide a solution.
The first major modification to the original plot was that now as Shoe Boy identifies the problems he is provided by his spiritual guide with a virtue that will solve the problem, as he continues his search for the Great World Teacher.
The main character / hero, "Shoe Boy", is a moccasin maker. He is spoken of as shoe boy ("Where is the shoe boy?"). With a puppy companion (www.webpal.org/nsd/) named Angel, who is his Guardian Angel, Shoe Boy goes about the streets of the world with his moccasin kit and a box for cleaning and polishing shoes.
Shoe Boy is small, meek and approximately 15 years of age. He is portrayed as someone that would be looked down upon. Poor, menial job, itinerate, foreigner, young, accompanied by a dog - but if one looks deeper they are to see that he is heroic and virtuous.
Shoe Boy has this low / humble status so that many in the target audience will identify with him - and can therefore imagine themselves doing the same heroic things that he does. His heroism is expressed humbly in virtues.
Shoe Boy is a native American Indian from Northern Canada. The reason for this also is so that native people in other cultures will also hopefully identify with him.
A Chief Father / Elder has sent him on a mission - a Spirit Walk - to find "The Great World Teacher" who will solve humankind's problems.
The Chief Father / Elder has provided him with a special set of moccasins that Shoe Boy is to put on before he goes to bed at night when he is to travel to a new location. Shoe Boy then lights "The Lamp of Search", says his prayers, and goes to sleep. The next morning - he will awaken in a new place - which will be the start of a new story.
When Shoe Boy gets up each morning - he hides his bedroll, the "Moccasins" and "The Lamp of Search", and goes out into the village, town, city, island, countryside, where he has arrived. There he discovers a problem.
Intolerance, ignorance, dishonesty, anger, lying, stealing, etc., etc., whichever, and meets the (often young) people being affected by that. That night he goes back to his hiding place and "Lights the Lamp of Search", and the Chief / Father / Elder appears in a vision - and tells him the virtue that is the solution.
The next day - Shoe Boy goes and demonstrates to the people this virtue - and the people start to try to implement it. That night when Shoe Boy returns to his hiding place - he again lights "The Lamp of Search", and discusses the outcome with the Vision. He is then told to put on the moccasins before going to sleep - and that he must continue the search for "The Great World Teacher" who has the solution for all of humanity's problems.
Through his journeys Shoe Boy meets people of many different cultures, nationalities, religions, ages, social conditions of health, wealth, education or lack thereof.
He learns to not be prejudiced against
In each episode he learns about some spiritual value such as Love, Truth, Beauty, Justice, Compassion, Humility, Honesty, etc., etc.
Shoe Boy often meets people of different religions - Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, Christian in his search for The Great Teacher and each tells him about THEIR Great Teacher and THEIR expectation of His Coming.
He finds that all the cultures value Virtues and that it is a Virtue that is the solution of the particular problem with which they are faced.
b. The reason for the varied religious content is to:
2. Help readers in all cultures to see positive things in each culture and religion being presented.
3. Show the universality of virtues in all cultures and religions.
It may be that the stories will be grouped into categories that emphasize particular religions and cultures in the stories, both to communicate to other cultures about the variety of religions and cultures in the world and also to allow all the religions and cultures to identify with the series.
Oftentimes the stories include a sub story about a famous individual in some culture who particularly applied the virtue being discussed.
In these sub-stories there is often the opportunity to communicate some scientific, geographical, general educational material.