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).

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