If you’re a teenager, Alex & Brett Harris believe you need to do hard things, and they’re probably right. The first hard thing you should do is read their book Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations(which in a day when few teens read may actually be a hard thing for some). The book, which is part of a larger campaign these two teens are on, is aimed at helping teens understand they don’t have to get by, they don’t have to play video games until they’re thirty, and they don’t have to buy into the cultural lie that says “you shouldn’t expect much from teens.” Their response is Rebelutionary!
Alex & Brett are “nineteen-year-old twin brothers, born and raised in Oregon, taught at home by [their] parents and striving to follow Christ as best [they] can.” But their message could just prove to be culture changing for an entire generation. Do Hard Things isn’t a self-help book about how you can do anything you put your mind to, even as a teen. Rather it is a book written by teens that is calling teens to change their attitude about life, God, and themselves, and the book begins by urging all to “Rethink the Teen Years.” Through historical (George Washington, David Farragut, etc.) and modern examples (like Zach Hunter, a 16 year old abolitionist and author) these young men reveal just how much teens are capable of doing through the power of the Holy Spirit.
They list Five Kinds of Hard Things that teens should do: (1) Things Outside Our comfort Zone; (2) Things that go Beyond What’s Expected or Required; (3) Things that are Too Big to do Alone; (4) Things that Don’t Have Immediate Payoffs; (5) And Things that Go Against the Crowd. The book displays a level of seriousness about teens without being preachy, and it is filled with stories that will surprise and delight even the most skeptical reader.
The most amazing thing about the work is the response that Alex & Brett have gotten from their peers. Quote after quote reveals teens who have been desiring this very same message, community, and challenge! That is an amazing thing, and it must be something more than the clever writing of some nineteen-year-old home-schooled twins from Oregon (even if they are committed to doing hard things). Their own words reveal, in fact, that it is something more: The Rebelution is something God is doing in the hearts of our generation, not something we engineered (24).
What further amazed me by reading this book was that I was challenged to do hard things afresh. If it’s hard being a teenager for the glory of God in a culture that doesn’t expect you to, it’s equally as hard to be an adult who does things for the glory of God in a culture that doesn’t expect you to. I suppose, in the end, that’s why I appreciate this book: if you start trying to do hard things for the glory of God as a teen, then you’re more likely to do them as an adult, and that is what the church needs right now! So to everyone I say, “Do hard things… and start by reading this book!”