Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Start Here: Doing Hard Things Right Where You Are

Harris, Alex, and Brett Harris. Start Here: Doing Hard Things Right Where You Are. Colorado Springs: Multomah Books, 2010. Print.

My Thoughts
Once I finished their first book, Do Hard Things, I knew I had to read this one. This is the book that allows you to see how you can begin to do hard things. I was so inspired by the stories of small things creating big change.

I marked a couple of things in this book that I found thought provoking. One is "Our goal as Christians is not to avoid getting into trouble. It's also not to try to get into trouble. Our goal is to get into the right kind of trouble" (Harris 99). This really makes sense with the example of how we should care more about what God wants and how we are drawing others to God rather than what others think. Sometimes trouble is exactly what we need.

Another thing I marked discussed how things that young people find "cool" are controlled by middle-aged advertisers who are just trying to get money and "don't just address [teens] at the level of social expectations; they dictate those expectations--and drive them lower" (Harris 101). WOW!

There is an appendix of "100 hard things" that "people like you have done" (Harris 139). I read the list and picked out a few that I could immediately do myself. I also recognized some things I've already done. I'm glad that the Harris brothers shine a light on the idea that small things can be hard and by doing them, I can still make a difference in the world.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Do Hard Things

Harris, Alex, and Brett Harris. Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations. Colorado Springs: Multnomah Books, 2008. Print.

My Thoughts
I read this book to give a report to my United Methodist Women's circle as this title is on our 2013 reading list. While reading, I kept thinking of specific students that I'd like to give a copy of this book to because I think they are rebelutionaries! (This word is a combination of rebellion + revolution).

The premise of the book is the two authors, twin teenage boys, set out to change the mindset of teenagers. This period of development is not just for lazy days of recklessness. It is a training ground for the rest of one's life. Teens should not succumb to the world's expectations (i.e., of being a "lazy teenager"). Rather they should seek out new avenues to shine and honor God. They explain, "We're not rebelling against institutions or even against people. Our thinking is against a cultural mind-set that twists the purpose and potential of the teen years and threatens to cripple our generation" (Harris 25).

The book is divided into three parts: Rethinking the Teen Years, Five Kinds of Hard and Join the Rebelution. The authors explain early in the book that this is a "different kind of teen book" (Harris 3). It is a "book for teens by teens who believe our generation is ready for a change" (Harris 4). To be successful, the teens have established three pillars of the Rebelution: character, competence and collaboration (Harris 22). The subsequent chapters go into detail of what these three pillars mean and give real life examples of these pillars in action around the world.

The title reference appears often in the book and the rationale comes in explaining, "Doing hard things is how we exercise our bodies, our minds and our faith" (Harris 138). I liked the analogy. They proffer that "true courage is not the absence of fear. It is refusing to allow fear to control your actions" (Harris 77).

After reading the book, I did look at the website and can see that these two boys are making a difference in our world. Bravo to them for not accepting the fear of, "what can I do? I'm only a teenager," and deciding that many small acts create a great wave of change. "Our uprising won't be marked by mass riots and violence, but by millions of individual teens quietly choosing to turn the low expectations of our culture upside down" (Harris 25).