What is LifeGrowth?                

    A recurrent theme in the Terreldor series, LifeGrowth represents the lifelong maturing process in which we are all meant to walk.  They are the significant life lessons we will continue to experience as long as we are willing to grow.  Captain Williams, a key character in the Terreldor series, explains this concept in chapter 5.4 of Journey to Terreldor, as he relates a lesson from his past to our protagonist, Mark.

     "...there’s no shame in your actions when you are led by conviction," said the Captain.  "Conviction compelled me to confess to my old friend, not to hide the lie.  Once I started the short walk to his home, it became easier still.  Remember, when we go against a wrongful desire, the very act of doing so breaks the strength of our desire until we defeat it.  In time, we make a habit of the correct action.  I did just that.  I may still have the same desires, but they don’t influence me as they once did.  And after this incident, our friendship was stronger for the experience.”

    Could the Captain be just as selfish as me? I wondered.  Or at least, could we have the same desires to act selfishly?

    “If I always want to act selfishly,” I asked, very much wanting to keep my question hypothetical, “but I always resist and act generously, am I truly selfish, or generous ?”

     “Generous,” replied the Captain, his certainty surprising me.  “‘We are defined by our actions, not our desires .  Only for the feeble, are they the same.’  This is a lesson my mentor helped me see when I was young.  Do you know what it means?”  His tone had shifted again: his quizzing voice.  I paused for a second, though I thought I already knew the answer. 

    “If you are feeble, you will always do as you desire…and your actions and desires are the same.”  But it felt too easy—surely I missed something.  “That can’t be right—it could only be true if all people want to do what’s wrong.”

    “Oh,” said the Captain with a smile, “Did you think you were the only one?  Of course we all have wrong desires; it’s part of being human.”  I smiled, then I chuckled.  It wasn’t funny, not really, but something about it felt terribly right.  I felt a sort of relief inside me, as if I set down a burden I’d been carrying for a long time.  The Captain only smiled, with a knowing look in his eye.  I thought again about the jealousy I'd shown over the past few days.  I imagined not wanting the rare gift my brother had received, and I wanted to feel this way, though I clearly didn’t.  I resolved not to ask for any gift from the King when he rewarded me.  As surely as if he read my mind, the Captain spoke on what I’d been thinking.

    “Don’t wait until you no longer feel selfish or jealous.  It’s enough to starve the feeling; don’t feed it with your actions.”  He stopped, as if to let the thought sink in, and I shivered again.  When it seemed like he read my mind it made me uneasy, though I realized it couldn’t be difficult.  Why shouldn’t his point become clear in my mind as he built his way up to it?

    I turned to him once again and asked, “When will I stop feeling jealous?”

    “That, my young friend, can take a lifetime.  I still feel it—though not as often or as powerfully as before.  Remind yourself often: if you expect change and desire it, you will continue to grow.  And you will see such changes many times throughout your life.  We have a special name for this relearning; we call it LifeGrowth.  You will come to know it well, and teach it to others.” 

    When I thought he would finally bid me goodnight, he added, “If you think you can stay awake, I have one more story for you tonight.  I think you are now ready to hear it.” 

    If I had any doubts I could stay awake, he’d just talked me out of it.  I nodded excitedly...

  The paths of LifeGrowth Mark chooses during his time in Terreldor include important lessons in Boldness, Humility, Submission, Leadership, Compassion, Strength, Conviction, Forgiveness, Loyalty, Patience, Wisdom, and Honesty.  His first step in growing in these areas, is to distinguish between these concepts and their pale imitations, or False Reflections: Rebellion, Insecurity, Cowardice, Manipulation, Weakness, Control, Shame, Retribution, Commitments of Convenience, Stubborness, Intellect, and Skilled Deceit.

    These, and other opportunities for LifeGrowth are expanded many times in the Terreldor series, and summarized in the Three Tables, a shorthand expression used to share these same concepts.