It’s May 15th, time for the Non~FIRST blog tour!(Join our alliance! Click the button!) Every 15th, we will featuring an author and his/her latest non~fiction book’s FIRST chapter!
Alex and Brett Harris
and their book:
Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations
Multnomah Books (April 15, 2008)
Alex and Brett Harris founded TheRebelution.com in August 2005 and today at age 19 are the most popular Christian teen writers on the Web. The twins are frequent contributors to Focus on the Familyâ€™s Boundless webzine, serve as the main speakers for the Rebelution Tour conferences, and have been featured in WORLD magazine, Breakaway, The Old Schoolhouse, and the New York Daily News. Sons of homeschool pioneer Gregg Harris and younger brothers of best-selling author Joshua Harris (I Kissed Dating Goodbye), Alex and Brett live near Portland, Oregon.
And Now…The First Chapter:
A different kind of teen book
Most people donâ€™t expect you to understand what weâ€™re going to tell you in this book. And even if you understand, they donâ€™t expect you to care. And even if you care, they donâ€™t expect you to do anything about it. And even if you do something about it, they donâ€™t expect it to last.
Well, we do.
This is a different kind of teen book. Check online or walk through your local bookstore. Youâ€™ll find plenty of books written by fortysomethings who, like, totally understand what itâ€™s like being a teenager. Youâ€™ll find a lot of cheap throwaway
books for teens because young people today arenâ€™t supposed to care about books or see any reason to keep them around. And youâ€™ll find a wide selection of books where you never have to read anything twiceâ€”because the message is dumbed-down. Like, just for you.
What youâ€™re holding in your hands right now is a challenging book for teens by teens who believe our generation is ready for a change. Ready for something that doesnâ€™t promise a whole new life if youâ€™ll just buy the right pair of jeans or use the right kind of deodorant. We believe our generation is ready to rethink what teens are capable of doing and becoming. And weâ€™ve noticed that once wrong ideas are debunked
and cleared away, our generation is quick to choose a better way, even if itâ€™s also more difficult.
Weâ€™re nineteen-year-old twin brothers, born and raised in Oregon, taught at home by our parents, and striving to follow Christ as best we can. Weâ€™ve made more than our share of mistakes. And although we donâ€™t think â€œaverage teenagersâ€ exist, there is nothing all that extraordinary about us personally.
Still, weâ€™ve had some extraordinary experiences. At age sixteen, we interned at the Alabama Supreme Court. At seventeen, we served as grass-roots directors for four statewide political campaigns. At eighteen, we authored the most popular Christian teen blog on the web. Weâ€™ve been able to speak to thousands of teens and their parents at conferences in the United States and internationally and to reach millions
online. But if our teen years have been different than most, itâ€™s not because weâ€™re somehow better than other teens, but because weâ€™ve been motivated by a simple but very big idea. Itâ€™s an idea youâ€™re going to encounter for yourself in the pages
Weâ€™ve seen this idea transform â€œaverageâ€ teenagers into world-changers able to accomplish incredible things. And they started by simply being willing to break the mold of what society thinks teens are capable of.
So even though the story starts with us, this book really isnâ€™t about us, and we would never want it to be. Itâ€™s about something God is doing in the hearts and minds of our generation. Itâ€™s about an idea. Itâ€™s about rebelling against low expectations. Itâ€™s about a movement that is changing the attitudes and actions of teens around the world. And we want you to be part of it.
This book invites you to explore some radical questions:
â€¢ Is it possible that even though teens today have more freedom than any other generation in history, weâ€™re actually missing out on some of the best years of our
â€¢ Is it possible that what our culture says about the purpose and potential of the teen years is a lie and that we are its victims?
â€¢ Is it possible that our teen years give us a once-in-alifetime opportunity for huge accomplishmentsâ€”as individuals and as a generation?
â€¢ And finally, what would our lives look like if we set out on a different path entirelyâ€”a path that required more effort but promised a lot more reward?
We describe that alternative path with three simple words: â€œdo hard things.â€
If youâ€™re like most people, your first reaction to the phrase â€œdo hard thingsâ€ runs along the lines of, â€œHard? Uh-oh. Guys, I just remembered that Iâ€™m supposed to be somewhere else. Like, right now.â€
We understand this reaction. It reminds us of a story we like to tell about a group of monks. Yep, monks.
On the outskirts of a small town in Germany is the imaginary abbey of Dundelhoff. This small stone monastery is home to a particularly strict sect of Dundress monks, who have each vowed to live a life of continual self-denial and discomfort.
Instead of wearing comfy T-shirts and well-worn jeans like most people, these monks wear either itchy shirts made from goat hair or cold chain mail worn directly over bare skin. Instead of soft mattresses, pillows, and warm blankets, they sleep on the cold stone floors of the abbey. You might have read somewhere that monks are fabulous cooks? Well, not these monks. They eat colorless, tasteless sludgeâ€”once a day. They only drink lukewarm water.
We could go on, but you get the picture. No matter what decision they face, Dundress monks always choose the more difficult option, the one that provides the least physical comfort, holds the least appeal, offers the least fun. Why? Because they believe that the more miserable they are, the holier they are; and the holier they are, the happier God is.
So these miserable monks must be poster boys for â€œdo hard things.â€ Right?
Weâ€™re not plotting to make your life miserable. Weâ€™re not recommending that you do any and every difficult thing. For example, weâ€™re not telling you to rob a bank, jump off a cliff, climb Half Dome with your bare hands, or stand on your head for twenty-four hours straight. We are not telling you to do pointless (or stupid) hard things just because theyâ€™re hard. And if youâ€™re a Christian, weâ€™re certainly not telling you that if you work harder or make yourself uncomfortable on purpose, God will love you more. He will neverâ€”could neverâ€”love you any more than He does right now.
So thatâ€™s what weâ€™re not doing. What we are doing is challenging you to grab hold of a more exciting option for your teen years than the one portrayed as normal in society today. This option has somehow gotten lost in our culture, and most people donâ€™t even know it. In the pages ahead, youâ€™re going to meet young people just like you who have rediscovered this better wayâ€”a way to reach higher, dream bigger, grow
stronger, love and honor God, live with more joyâ€”and quit wasting their lives.
In Do Hard Things, we not only say there is a better way to do the teen years, we show you how we and thousands of other teens are doing it right now and how you can as well.