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Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations Hardcover – April 15, 2008
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Praise for Do Hard Things
“Do Hard Things is an extraordinary book. In fact, I believe it will prove to be one of the most life-changing, family-changing, church-changing, and culture-changing books of this generation. I'd love for every teenager to read this book, but I'm just as eager for every parent, church leader, and educator to read it.”
– Randy Alcorn, best-selling author of Heaven and The Treasure Principle
“This book is one I would recommend to any of my friends, teen or not. If it doesn't help you, you are lying.”
– Carter B., age 14, North Carolina
“Do Hard Things is so important. It is challenging teenagers to rebel against the low expectations placed on them. And the voices that are asking teens to rise to meet this challenge are voices from their own generation. That thrills me.”
– Chuck Colson, best-selling author of How Now Shall We Live?
“I love the way it is written. It is crystal clear, to the point, interesting, funny, challenging, encouraging, and an easy read.”
– Lisa R., age 15, Australia
“Adult expectations for youth are too low. And these twins are out to raise them. Don't adapt to the low cultural expectations for youth. Set high ones. Youth can become examples for adults. Think that way. Dream that way. Or as the Harris brothers would say, ‘Rebel against low expectations.’”
– John Piper, best-selling author of Don’t Waste Your Life
“The message of Do Hard Things is going to awaken the dreams and passions of thousands of young people all over the world. How do I know this? This radical, yet relatively simple idea, has changed my life.”
– Erika H., age 18, Michigan
“In a culture where laziness and ease is often the order of the day for teenagers, Do Hard Things presents a radical and provocative alternative. I heartily recommend this book.”
– R. Albert Mohler, Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“This book has totally changed the way I think. I recommend it to any and every teen who has a desire to turn their life around and make a difference.”
– Ashley W., age 13, Georgia
“Alex and Brett capture the passion and potential of our generation perfectly in this book. In Do Hard Thingsthey encourage us to go above and beyond the status quo in everything from schoolwork to serving the poor. This is a truly unique and sorely needed book.”
– Zach Hunter, author of Be the Change and Generation Change
“This book is amazing. It changes your whole way of thinking. I believe that every single teen needs to buy a copy of this book. Thanks, Alex and Brett for challenging us!”
– Stacie L., age 15, Kentucky
“This is an important book. And not just for those wanting to launch successfully into adulthood, but also for discontent twenty- and thirty-somethings who long to be catapulted into significance.”
– Ted Slater, editor of Boundless, Focus on the Family
“I'm not exactly a teenager anymore. But as I was reading I began to see how this can apply to anyone. It's never too late to start. I absolutely cannot wait to suggest this book to the 'kidults' in my life.”
– Matt R., age 26, Georgia
“Alex and Brett are the real deal and Do Hard Things is a real wake up call, not just for young people, but for all God's people. I can't recommend it highly enough.”
– Shannon Ethridge, best-selling author of the Every Woman's Battle series
“This book is a wake up call to a generation that is down in the dumps. It's like a coach screaming from the sidelines, ‘You can do it!!!’. I'd recommend it to anyone, young or old.”
– Douglas A., age 17, England
“Do Hard Things is the textbook for anyone who works with teens; it’s a philosophical and foundational must-read.”
– Timothy Eldred, executive director of Christian Endeavor International
About the Author
Alex and Brett Harris founded TheRebelution.com at sixteen years old and co-authored two best-selling books by the age of twenty-one. The twins have been blessed to travel and speak in major cities around the world and have been featured nationally on ABC, CNN, MSNBC, and NPR, as well as in publications like the Wall Street Journal, Wired magazine, and The New York Times. They are sons of homeschool pioneers Gregg and Sono Harris and younger brothers of best-selling author Joshua Harris (I Kissed Dating Goodbye). Raised in Portland, Oregon, the brothers are graduates of Patrick Henry College.
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Top Customer Reviews
High expectations, it seems, often results in greater performance. Tragically, we live at a time where we expect very little of teenagers. The teen years, we seem to think, are a time where we can and must expect little. If our teenagers manage to avoid dangerous drugs, manage to avoid pregnancy and manage to avoid completely derailing their lives, we consider these years a success. We maintain low expectations and are not surprised when teenagers deliver very little.
Do Hard Things is a book for teens--and a distinctly different kind of book for teens. "Check online or walk through your local bookstore. You'll find plenty of books written by fortysomethings who, like, totally understand what it's like being a teenager. You'll find a lot of cheap, throwaway books for teens, because young people today aren't supposed to care about books, or to see any reason to keep them around. And you'll find a wide selection of books where you never have to read anything twice--because the message is dumbed down. Like, just for you." But this book is a challenging book, and one written by teens and for teens. It is written by Brett and Alex Harris, whose greatest claim to fame (other than being the younger brothers of Joshua Harris) is being the minds behind The Rebelution--one of the internet's most popular sites for teens and now a series of conferences. This book continues the message they've been communicating in every other forum.
That message is simple but far too often overlooked in society today: rebel against low expectations. They cast a vision of a better way of doing the teen years in which so many teens have been "conditioned to believe what is false, to stop when things feel hard, and to miss out on God's incredible purpose for [the] teen years." They look at five kinds of hard--five different kinds of hard things that can challenge the expectations of those around them: things that are outside of your comfort zone, things that are beyond what is expected or required, things that are too big to accomplish alone, things that don't earn an immediate pay off and things that challenge the cultural norm. They describe each of these through stories and examples drawn primarily from their lives and from the lives of other "rebelutionaries" who have shared their stories with the authors.
Though this book is targeted squarely at teens, I can't deny that the message rubbed off even on this reader whose teen years are far behind. There is something inspiring in watching teens shake off the low expectations that plague their lives and there is something in it that makes me want to examine where I may also have fallen prey to low expectations. Writing as the proud older brother of these authors, Joshua Harris says truly that "Every former teen needs this book, too. I know I do. There's no age-limit on the Rebelution. It's never to late to do hard things."
For too long our expectations of teens, and their expectations of themselves, have been far too low. In Do Hard Things Alex and Brett Harris rebel against low expectations and encourage their peers to meet the challenge of doing tough things for God's sake and for God's glory. I wish I could have read this book when I was a teen. I'm glad that my children will have the opportunity. I pray it will stir them and stir a whole generation of young people, to use their teen years to do the hard things God calls them to do. And I pray that the teen years are only the beginning, only the foundation, of lives lived to the glory of God.
I have always enjoyed Teenagers. I used to teach middle school and the preteen age is just amazing. They feel they can do great things and they are on the cusp of being ready to change teh world. They have the energy and desire and time to make the world a better place. They are able to look at some of the ridiculous situations in the world and point them out to the rest of us.
This book is for those kids and their parents. Do hard things. Use your energy and your beliefs and your time to make a difference. Help the candidate that you like run for office, find a problem and fix it. Change the world. This book encourages teens to stretch themselves and grow and make a difference.
This book also encourages parents to let the teens do hard things. Doing things that are hard to them encourages them to grow into amazing adults.
I bought a copy for both of my teen age children and myself. More people should read this book.
The verse that motivates their ministry is I Timothy 4:12. I smiled when I saw that as it was my life verse until I was 30 and decided I might need a different verse since I wasn't exactly a youth anymore. I've often wondered what my parents did or didn't do that made me believe anything I wanted to do/be was possible if it lined up with God's Word and will.
There was an expectation that everything was training. The teen years weren't a time to goof off. Instead, they were a time to prove myself and gain increasing independence as I proved myself faithful. Everything I've done, accomplished, am doing is a direct result of that philosophy.
In a sense this is exactly what Do Hard Things is about. It challenges teens to intentionally do 5 kinds of hard things:
1. Things that are outside your comfort zone.
2. Things that go beyond what is expected or required.
3. Things that are too big to accomplish alone.
4. Things that don't earn an immediate payoff.
5. Things that challenge the cultural norm.
We'd all benefit from applying those principles to our lives. But how much better if we taught them to young people. I've talked about this book since starting it. Eric is lined up to read it. I'll be giving it as graduation gifts. And it will land in my children's hands by the time they are twelve, so we can fully discuss and apply these principles in their lives.