The brothers Harris, Alex & Brett, who run the very popular teen blog, TheRebelution have written a very practical Christian book for teens, Do Hard Things. I recently picked up this book for my daughter. Of course, I had to read through it myself first. The book is easy to read and lays out a journey of the challenges and accomplishments of real young men and women. The journey of these young people pave the way as the brothers Harris unfold their challenge to their peers to do hard things.
In the excerpt of chapter one we find the foundation of the book.
This book invites you to explore some radical questions:
* Is it possible that even though teens today have more freedom than any other generation in history, we’re actually missing out on some of the best years of our lives?
* Is it possible that what our culture says about the purpose and potential of the teen years is a lie, and that we are its victims?
* Is it possible that our teen years give us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for huge accomplishments–as individuals and as a generation?
* And finally, what would our lives look like if we set out on a different path entirely–a path that required more effort but promised a lot more reward?
We describe that alternative path with three simple words: “do hard things.”
Reflecting on part one of the book Rethinking The Teen Years, I wonder, what in the world have the adults done to teenagers? This section will certainly challenge teens to rethink just what and who they are and rightly so. Much of today’s society, not just the younger generation, has the attitude of Homer Simpson when he said, “Bart, just because I don’t care doesn’t mean I don’t understand.” It’s time to start caring and time for everyone to rethink the teens years. Part one’s 57 pages will challenge us all to do just that.
Part two, the Five Kinds of Hard, lays out five things that are hard to do and often not expected of someone. There are some important lessons in this section for teens and adults. These lessons include the topic of teens who may have noted achievements that require less than 100% effort and adults who more appreciate their kids for what they didn’t do rather than for what they actually are doing.
Finally, it’s time to Join the Rebelution in part three. This section may present the toughest challenge. The joining in this section is an example of the way that Jesus calls us to be salt and light in the world. The brothers Harris give good insight in informing teens that being salt and light as Christians needs to be in all areas of life and work and not just those that carry a Christian moniker such as minister or missionary. This section has several fantastic, real life stories of teens accomplishing hard things.
The appendix: Do Hard Things, the Gospel, and You is the most important part of the whole book. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the one thing that we, hopefully, will always go to as the center of our lives. Don’t just read it, re-read it, pray about it and live it.
Throughout this book the challenges and obstacles presented certainly can’t be contained to just one age group. From the Myth of Adolescence to taking the first step to taking a stand with Jesus Christ being the cornerstone of strength, these ideas transcend any particular attained age of life and achievement. It’s nice to read such insight from young people themselves though, especially, when the lessons and perspectives in the book are backed up by Holy Scripture.
With a foreword written by the cross-generational Chuck Norris, these young men bring us a great book by teens and for teens which I hope helps appeal to teens to read it. As an adult, I was challenged by this book and I wish I had done more hard things as a teen. But, like tossing pennies into a fountain, wishing does nothing more than divest you of pennies. It’s time to move forward from where ever you are regardless of age and do hard things. As Christians we are called to do everything for the glory of God and if we do nothing then we give God no glory.
What we do early in life does have an impact on our later years. The earlier we understand this the better. I hope many teens do read this book and come away challenged and do rebel against low expectations. This books makes it clear that not only can our youth try and do hard things, but they can achieve great and amazing things too!
To parents, you need to read this book to help understand your kids’ perspectives. Yes, as parents we have been there and done that and in our wisdom we have the answers. We can be so intent on getting to the answer to our kids’ problems that we forget that they are still getting there and doing that and we don’t engage them. We ourselves don’t always do the hard things of parenting and get involved.
Hard things: don’t just read about ’em, do ’em!