Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Review: Do Hard Things

Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations
Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectationsby Alex and Brett Harris, Multnomah, 2008, 242 pp.

Would you like to hand your teen a book that challenges him or her to break away from the cultural norms of low expectations and little responsibilities? Welcome Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris. Not only does this book challenge teens to fulfill their potential, amazingly, it is written by teens for teens.

One point I especially appreciate is that is does not talk down to teens in teen lingo, "like you know what I mean."

It's message is clear. Teens need to break free from the myth of adolescence. At first I was skeptical. Are they only talking about achieving great things in terms of the world (working for an Alabama Supreme Court Justice) or do they accept the fact that some of the hardest things in life are doing the right things that go unnoticed? Yes, they do cover that aspect. In fact they discuss five kinds of hard: taking the first step (overcoming fear), going beyond what is expected (cultural expectations), collaborating with others (doing "big" hard things--projects that are bigger than yourself and require lots of other people), doing small hard things (doing the things nobody likes to do, but need to get done or accepted) and doing hard things that go against the crowd (peer pressure and the most difficult for almost everybody). The closing section shares stories of teens who have chosen to do hard things.

Throughout the book, they relate personal anecdotes, real life examples and stories of others' accomplishments and failures. It is not just big talk. Ultimately, they are here to challenge teens to be the person God wants them to be. Actually the premise of the book is quite Catholic in nature--to live out the mission God has intended you to be. Some Catholics might call it living out a motto or living out a personal ideal. Most Protestants and many Catholics would not know what I am talking about. For example, St. Ignatius strived to do "All for the Greater Glory of God." Ultimately, however, instead of rebelling against the good things in life, they hope to challenge teens to rebel against the bad influences and expectations of life.

Their message is one that applies to all Christians who want to live their lives for the greater glory of God. In the end, even adults would profit by asking themselves, "What are the hard things God is asking me to do?"

Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations

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