For background info on this post, click here.
Today we live in a culture that promotes comfort, not challenges. Everything is about finding ways to escape hardship, avoid pain, and dodge duty.
So says the Foreword of Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations.
What you’re holding in your hands right now is a challenging book for teens by teens who believe our generation is ready for a change. Ready for something that doesn’t promise a whole new life if you’ll just buy the right pair of jeans or use the right kind of deodorant. We believe our generation is ready to rethink what teens are capable of doing and becoming. And we’ve noticed that once wrong ideas are debunked and cleared away, our generation is quick to choose a better way, even if it’s also more difficult. (pg 4)
This book invites young people to explore some radical questions:
- Is it possible that even though teens today have more freedom than any other generation in history, they’re actually missing out on some of the best years of their lives?
- Is it possible that what our culture says about the purpose and potential of the teen years is a lie and that teens 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?
- What would our lives look like if we set out on a different path entirely—a path that required more effort but promise a lot more reward?
Chapter 2 tells the personal story of Alex and Brett Harris, who created the word rebelution by combing rebellion and revolution to form an entirely new word for an entirely new concept: rebelling against rebellion.
More precisely, we define rebelution as “a teenage rebellion against low expectations.” (pg 11)
Alex and Brett call into question the modern notion of the teen years as a time to goof off. Rather than a vacation from responsibility, the Harris brothers argue that teen years are “the training ground of future leaders who dare to be responsible now.” By doing “hard things” in the teen years, young people can:
- Learn to trust God.
- Find that stepping outside of our comfort zones helps us grow.
- Realize that young people can accomplish much more than our culture gives them credit for.
- Be taught that never trying is a lot worse than losing.
- Experience firsthand that all effort—even failed effort—produces muscle.
If you look back over history, you’ll find other movements that were started (or fueled) by young people. The problem is, most of these movements were actually revolts against God-established authority (like parents, church, or government), and many were ultimately crushed or twisted toward another end.
All those failed revolutionary attempts are a discouraging record as far as teen efforts go, but not for rebelutionaries. We’re not rebelling against institutions or even against people. Our uprising is against a cultural mind-set that twists the purpose and potential of the teen years and threatens to cripple our generation. 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. (pg 25)
Have you read, or are you reading Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations? What did you think of the first two chapters? As a young person, how have you experienced the cultural norm of low expectations? Are you currently doing or aiming to do some “hard things”?
Whomever you are, don’t take a vacation this week from responsibility. Trust God. Do something that takes you outside of your comfort zone. Make a difference.
Next Tuesday I’ll shoot to post some thoughts on Chapters 3 and 4. Thanks for reading!