Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Do Hard Things – Alex & Brett Harris

©2008 Multnomah, Colorado Springs

Alex and Brett Harris are twins. Their older brother Joshua hit the publishing scene several years ago announcing I Kissed Dating Goodbye. But don’t let this distract you from what the twins have to say. In 2005, when they were sixteen, Alex and Brett landed an opportunity to work as interns for the Alabama Supreme Court. It was the result of their work on a web-site/blog where they coined the term “rebelution” encouraging teens to rebel against low expectations. (Read about their journey starting in the summer of 2005 in the book.)

The book itself is written by teens for teens, and challenges teenagers to stop thinking that their teen years are supposed to be an extended vacation for the mind, but that they should be doing something—anything—that will impact their world and prepare them for a future. This book stems from the lie that has been fed to all of our society over the past several decades. The lie says two things: 1. People in their teens are incapable of doing anything significant (or even grasping the foundational means to do such significances, and 2. because of this inadequacy, teens should just party hearty throughout their teen years and not worry about the consequences (after all, their just teenagers, right?).

This thoughtful book points out that wasting your teen years prepares you to be second-rate and inadequate in early adulthood. Waiting to start preparatory activity until you are in college (or graduated from college) only causes you to have to start your training later. Assuming that youth keeps you from being capable of doing important work handicaps not only you, but society at large.

Do the Harris twins think that everyone who takes the challenge presented in the book will succeed in all that they try? Far from it. They even testify to their own failures. What they suggest is that not trying is actually more of a failure than trying and simply not succeeding. If you try you may succeed. If you don’t succeed, you will learn in the trying.

The importance of this book is that it is written by teenagers who have tested the theories, attempted the challenges, and grown. The book should be an inspiration to not only teenagers, but also adults who have been wallowing in the depression of failure from not trying.

In the late 1980s Charles Swindoll wrote a book aimed at raising the level of excellence among American adults (especially in the Christian community) entitled Living Above the Level of Mediocrity. He suggested that we not settle for half-hearted living. We missed the message. Instead we bought the “just do what will get you by” line of mediocre society. Then we passed that message on to younger generations. The result has been generation after generation of lackluster leaders who lead less and less.

In Do Hard Things, the Harris brothers have picked up the battle cry for the emerging generation that if anything can be done to correct our course, it must be done by ignoring the lie of wasted living and deciding to do hard things. They categorize five kinds of hard things – things outside your comfort zone, things that go beyond requirement or expectation, big things (too big to be accomplished alone), “little” things that don’t pay off immediately (like chores and homework), and things that challenge the “norm.” The book is filled with examples of young people who have decided to do just such things and are making an impact on their world.

Let me encourage you to do three things: buy this book (don’t check it out at the library, or you won’t be able to do what comes later), read the book (even if you’re ‘middle-aged’ you’ll be challenged), then give this book to a teenager. After doing these three things with the book check out for more information on doing hard things.

Do Hard Things – 4 ½ out of 5 reading glasses.

Benjamin Potter, April 29, 2009

1 comment:

Book Psmith said...

I read this book hoping and crossing my fingers my daughter would read it after me. She did.
It reinforced a lot of the smart and good choices she has already made and I am hoping it will continue to be a source of encouragement to her as she moves into her high school years very soon.

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