Building a World of Adventure and Imagination

By May 7, 2024

By Peter Searby

The Tutorial boys recently completed the Legend Box project, which, over the years, has shaped up to be one of the most anticipated. This year’s theme of survival lent itself well to creating a world where a mutant creature wreaked havoc and the safety of the world depended upon a hero of our apprentices’ imagination. 

The time capsule-like boxes are filled with artifacts, like maps, compasses, magnifying glasses, drawings that the main character would have encountered, invented, or used. The handmade leather-bound journal is the centerpiece where the yarn is spun and the adventure unfolds. Legend Box stokes the creative mind; by entering their own world the boys have their own landscape on which to learn storytelling, how to set a scene, and explore character traits. It might even help them get past a perceived fear of writing.

But there is a more important parallel to be made between our humble project and the greater journey called life.  We are all called to be World Builders.

We Tutors at Riverside are meant to use our gifts to create and to invite the young to create alongside us, and to experience the fellowship and cathartic experience that has been a balm to so many in our wounded, fallen state. For when we taste the creative life, we experience the delight, in a very small way, of the Creator. We are all called in our sonship in Christ to co-create—to bring into this world something new, something vital, something living and good. My hope is that through what we do at Riverside, the boys will learn how creative gifts actually can build whole worlds. 

The most natural way most of us have of building worlds is through family. Man and woman in their love create a home filled with their hopes, dreams, gifts, and vision for what it means to live. But even if one is not called to marriage in this life, all men and women are called to build a world through their creative gifts, insights, and way of living. 

A word that comes to me as I write this is charism. Each of us has a charism, a vital living spirit that is connected to our unique gift. It is not always evident what one’s charism is, but once discovered, it has the power to unify one’s gifts and hopes to one’s situation in life. Since the heart is at the c

enter of human drama, we must find our charism and the heart to express this spirit in the here and now in a way that will build a life force wherever we happen to be.

An example of how charism builds worlds is how Jesus decided to begin His Kingdom. He knew perfectly that He must build a world by expressing his ideas, teachings, stories, love, and truth through a friendship with a small group of followers. He knew that His presence, within this newfound fellowship, would create a memory so powerful that it would live forever in his followers. The Memory of Jesus has the power to build an eternal Kingdom. Through our participation in His Memory, we can build upon that Kingdom, and express our gifts in a way that is also life giving. We also can create memories that become a spring of life welling up in others. 

Each of us can build a world of fellowship, beauty, and wonder if we connect with our gift in a way that is life giving. For each of us is called to be “for others” and in giving our gift, we plant a seed that will become like a great tree, with many branches to help others find a place in this world. However, it is often the case that many do not discover their gift and thus do not begin the great endeavor of growing that tree, that world that we are meant to build. 

During the six years of the Riverside Tutorial, it is our aim to help the apprentices begin to discern their own gift and calling. The process continues through their high school years, which is why we have developed, along with John Severance, a long-time Riverside dad, a retreat for young adults. Threshold is based on the truth that stories are a way that we can understand the grandest and most important realities of life.

Like the worldbuilding the apprentices do during their time in Tutorial, the retreat asks young adults to cross the Threshold into a story with a hero based on what we call the League of Twelve. These are ultimate archetypes that each have their own superpower or gift, have their own allies, and fight their own specific villains, Each is designed to illustrate the unique nature of each human being who, through a combination of these characters, was designed by God for a specific purpose. 

We are excited to host Threshold again this summer, June 19-20 at LaSalle Manor in Plano. If you know young adults, approx. 17-21, who would benefit, please send them to

Monta Hernon

Author Monta Hernon

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