Do Hard Things by Alex & Brett Harris
Are teenagers boys and girls or men and women? This is a question that I often contemplate. Do I treat these teenagers as fragile little creatures or do I expect them to step up and take on the same responsibilities as an adult? Is there a middle ground and if so, where on the spectrum does it lie? And most importantly, do my expectations match reality?
Alex and Brett Harris were both teenagers when they wrote Do Hard Things. They argue that teenagers are capable of doing much but expected to do little. That teenagers should break through the barriers of low expectations and attempt great things. And I have to say, they make a compelling argument.
The Harris brothers explore what they call “the myth of adolescence”, showing how the stage in life we call adolescence is a relatively recent creation. They urge teenagers to do big things and to aim high. They give many examples of how teenagers have taken on big challenges and risen above expectations. As an adult who works with teenagers, I felt called to give the teenagers in my care more responsibility and to enable them when they had ambitions and plans. I have given this book to several teenagers to encourage them to do great things and not be held back by “the myth of adolescence”.
One issue I did have with this book is that while it is written by Christians from a Christian perspective, it’s not really a Christian book. Their rationale for their argument, while consistent with Biblical teaching, is not based in Scripture. And while teenagers are encouraged to take greater roles in government and in the community, I would have liked to have seen a greater emphasis on how teenagers can take leadership in the church and serve Christ. I want the teenagers in my care to be men and women who seek to serve Christ. I want to encourage them to think of new and innovative ways to grow the kingdom. I wish that this book had done this more explicitly.
Do Hard Things is a great book to put in the hands of a Christian teenager. If you’re an adult putting said book in said teenagers hands, read it first and be prepared to steer their new found enthusiasm towards Christian growth and service.
You can find Do Hard Things at the Bible Society NSW Bookshop.