Last week I read Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations. It is the best book I've read this year. I went to Lifeway with 2 books in mind. One wasn't there, the other was either not in stock or misplaced. I had read a review from Dr. Reid of Do Hard Things earlier in the day, and I wanted something to read, so I picked it up. Then I didn't put it down. The book is incredibly easy to read. It took less than 4 hours and I was just reading leisurely.
Do Hard Things is written by Alex and Brett Harris. They are brothers of Joshua Harris who wrote I Kissed Dating Goodbye. They are also the creators of the Rebeloution. A Blog for youth about battling low expectations.
The thesis of the book is simple. Our culture has created a myth of adolescence (a term I believe they stole from Dr. David Black) that has lowered expectation for teenagers to the point that they can be praised for doing nothing except staying out of trouble. Do Hard Things urges teenagers to rebel against low expectations and "do hard things."
There are 5 specific types of hard things they address in the book.
- Things that are outside your comfort zone.
- Things that go beyond what is expected or required.
- Things that are too big to accomplish alone.
- Things that don't earn an immediate payoff.
- Things that challenge the cultural norm.
The book offers example after example of teenagers who have bucked this trend and done hard things.
It would be hard for me to express just how much I agree with this book. It is great in premise and in execution. After running it by my pastor I may give copies of this book to all the parents of my youth. I highly recommend it to anyone, youth or adult.
I have been saying for years that I am going to write a book called "Football is Hard" in which I will investigate why parents of church kids are willing to allow them to spend 20 hours a week at football practice and expect them to work hard to be the third string offensive lineman, but they will not require their students to bring their Bible to church. In other words, why is it okay for sports to be hard, but not church? I actually believe that the problem is more with parents than students, and this book illustrates that. Parents, expect your kids to do hard things. Read this book then pass it along to other parents. Your kids already get it.
One last word. Alex & Brett Harris are not the only ones who understand this. The people at Student Leadership University get it. I believe that there is a rising tide toward bucking the trend of low expectations. Join the rebeloution.