As a youth pastor, I’m always on the lookout for things that will be helpful in communicating God’s truth to teenagers. Recently, I picked up a book for my graduating seniors and was very impressed as I read through it. Though it’s not about theology per se, Alex and Brett Harris’ Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations is a powerful challenge to teens to live their lives with God’s glory in mind and not to waste what the world would have us believe are life’s disposable, “just have fun” years. Perhaps the most compelling part: it’s actually written by teenagers. The Harris twins (younger brothers of Covenant Life pastor and blogger Joshua Harris) wrote the book at nineteen, and their ability to discuss these issues on a peer-to-peer level with teens makes the book all the more powerful. These are not some 50-year old guys telling teens about the good ol’ days, they’re two nineteen-year-old guys who have risen above our culture’s pathetic dismissal of teens and launched a global phenomenon known as The Rebelution.
The Harris twins call teens to discard the modern idea of adolescence and embrace adulthood. As a teen, nothing annoyed me more than being dismissed because of my age. I desperately wanted to be seen and heard as an adult. I think teens today have the same desires – the desire to break away from childhood and be seen as important and mature. However, the book calls for teens to embrace this maturity by “doing hard things,” by challenging themselves to do things to the glory of God that are important and significant. The twins encourage teens to discard the low expectations that society has on them (as they put it, if a teen simply doesn’t do drugs and get into trouble, they’re viewed as a ‘good kid’) and live a life that meets the expectations of God – and not to wait until they’re 20 (or worse) to get started. Along the way, they offer practical advice and countless stories from real ‘rebelutionaries’ of how they’ve answered the call. All of this is written in a way that is simple, straightforward, witty, and smart. If you’ve got a teenager in your life, the next time you’re looking for an idea for a graduation, birthday, or Christmas present, Do Hard Things would be an excellent choice.
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