When sixteen-year-old Alex and Brett Harris started their blog, TheRebelution.com, they had no idea the huge impact their message would have all over the world.
They made up the word “rebelution” by combining the words rebellion and revolution to create the concept of “rebelling against rebellion.” They aim to inspire teens to rebel against the low expectations society sometimes has for teenagers.
The success of the blog led to their best-selling book, Do Hard Things.
In order to do hard things, we must first rethink the teen years.
They ask: “Why is it that men and women of the past were able to do things at fifteen or sixteen that today’s twenty-five to thirty-year-olds can’t do?”
According to the Harris brothers, the problem lies in the power of our expectations.
They point out the fact that you will not find the word teenager or adolescent in the Bible.
The Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13:11
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
“Notice, he didn’t say When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. But then I became a teenager and I looked like an adult., I sounded like an adult, but I still acted like a child. God does not hold two standards: one for young adults and one for adults. He has high expectations for both. Where some might look down on young adults, God calls us to be examples. Where our culture might expect little, God expects great things.
This book encourages teens to live their lives with the conviction that what they become in the future largely depends on what they do now.
I enjoyed their analogy of using a diving board to represent launching well into life. Diving boards have a “sweet spot” where if you take a big leap and land on it just right, the diving board launches your dive perfectly into the pool. The pool represents your future life. The diving board is your present life.
The Myth of Adolescence lures teens to party at the side of the pool. But the sweet spot of the diving board launches teens with purpose and precision into their futures. Teens will either make a successful dive into adulthood or fail to launch belly flop style.
Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
I Corinthians 9:24-25
The strict training of being a teenager is to do hard things.
These hard things are listed in Part 2 of the book with a chapter devoted to each:
1. How to do hard things that take you outside your comfort zone.
2. How to do hard things that go beyond what’s expected or required.
3. How to do hard things that are too big for you to do alone.
4. How to do hard things that don’t pay off immediately.
5. How to do hard things that go against the crowd.
The last section of the book takes you behind the scenes to meet teen Rebelutionaries who have done hard things to make a difference in their world. Teens who have led campaigns and raised money to do big things like feed the hungry and build wells in Africa.
When I was a teenager, I was fortunate enough to be a part of an excellent high school youth group that challenged teens to move out of their comfort zone and serve others.
I helped lead a Bible-Study for middle-school girls in juvenile hall. I was a part of an outreach team that shared the gospel with the homeless. I served on missionary trips and shared my testimony in churches. I helped lead Vacation Bible Schools.
Serving others helped me move out of my comfort zone and put aside my own fears and insecurities. I will forever be changed by those experiences.
Those years seem so far away now. I’ve been married for 20 years and have four kids. After becoming a mom, I struggled for a long time feeling like I wasn’t making a big difference in the world anymore. I wasn’t out of my comfort zone. I was home all day taking care of children and cleaning the house. Part of me felt like I was missing out on serving in “big ways”.
Then God began to change my heart and show me that Motherhood was my biggest ministry. I learned to value my role and appreciate the fact that raising children to know God was in fact, my new mission field.
Serving your family by doing endless loads of laundry and cooking meals may not seem like a big way to serve God, but it is!
That’s why I really loved that the book included the chapter “Small Hard Things, How to do hard things that don’t pay off immediately.”
Sometimes doing the small things are the hardest things to do because they often go unnoticed.
The authors gave 5 reasons why small things are often so difficult:
1. They don’t go away after you do them.
2. They don’t seem very important.
3. They don’t seem to make any difference.
4. They don’t seem very glamorous.
5. No-one is watching.
Oftentimes, these small things for teens may be doing homework and keeping their room clean. But I do believe that doing these small tasks will prepare teens for the same kind of daily commitment involved in parenting.
I enjoyed this book and thought it challenged both teens and adults to take action and live life with fearless trust in God’s plan.
It did cause me to think about what kind of expectations society places on teenagers today. Are our expectations really too low? Could they be too high?
How do adolescents manage taking AP college courses in high school while volunteering, working and keeping up with sports and other extracurricular activities and friends at the same time? I hope teens aren’t actually being pushed too hard. I believe there’s a balance to be found.
We can have high standards for adolescents with reasonable expectations that encourage them to strive to do their best without pushing them to the breaking point.
I would love for you to share your thoughts. Do you have a teen who does hard things? What kind of expectations do you think society has for teens? Do you think these expectations are too low or too high? What kind of pressures does your teen face?
I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. This post contains an affiliate link (Amazon).
There’s a free download of a video series introducing people to ideas of the Rebelution. You can find “Fabulous Life of a Teenager—Youth” at https://open.church/resources/1448-fabulous-life-of-a-teenager.
About Alex Harris
Alex and Brett Harris are the coauthors of the best-selling book Do Hard Things, which they wrote when they were eighteen. Today, the twins speak regularly to audiences of thousands on The Rebelution Tour; maintain a large online community through their blog, TheRebelution.com; and have been featured on CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and in the New York Times. Raised in Portland, Oregon, the brothers currently attend Patrick Henry College in Virginia.
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This book was a part of our kids teen years. It really resonated with them. One question my kids used to ask was: Why do teens have to rebel? What do I have to rebel against? This is the message that society gives our teens – and this book really showed another option. Thanks for the review – I’ll be sharing this around cause it is a great book – for parents and teens alike!
Wonderful book review. Valerie thank you for sharing at my party this week.
Wow- pretty impressive that the writers are teens! I need to read this!
Wow! So impressive that they’re teens. I need to get this book!
As I got to the bottom of this review, I clicked on Amazon and bought this book! I love the concept and the fact that it was written by young men! I’m challenging myself to read it with my boys this summer! Thanks so much, Val!
What a great review of a great book, Valerie!
These kids have impacted a lot of other young adults for good!
Thanks for sharing!
Thank you Melanie!
Sounds like these two are full of wisdom. It’s wonderful to know teens are responding to their blog and book. I believe everyone wants a purpose and self-absorbed partying just isn’t that satisfying. This sounds like a great book for parents, teens, and beyond.
It’s a great book!