“Most people don’t expect you to understand what we’re going to tell you in this book. And even if you understand, they don’t expect you to care. And even if you care, they don’t expect you to do anything about it. And even if you do something about it, they don’t expect it to last. We do.” These words were addressed to the teens for whom twin teenagers Alex and Brett Harris wrote Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion against Low Expectations.
Can teens make good choices? Can they make conscious decisions to be “different” in good ways, to be responsible, to make positive contributions to the world? Or do they, for the most part, simply accept “the way things are” as normal and inevitable and go along without thinking?
Do Hard Things is full of stories of real-life rebelutionaries in action: capable teens, with enormous untapped potential, making good choices and doing amazing things. Alex and Brett were 16 years old when they wrote this book.
Trisha Prabhu, at the age of 14, developed “ReThink,” a software product to stop cyberbullying at the source by giving teens the opportunity to change their minds before posting a hurting message on social media. Research on ReThink shows that teens do change their minds — 93% of the time — when given this opportunity.
Elise’s Byle’s poem, Perspective, written when she was 13 years old, turns on its head the popular belief that teens can’t control their choices and that choices don’t really matter anyway. They can make good choices. They can change. What makes the difference is that they believe they can.
The Harris brothers’ desire, and that of Elise Byle, was to change negative perceptions about young people and to encourage teens to believe that they could make good choices. Trisha’s desire was to protect young people from the effects of cyberbullying by helping teens to change their minds about posting negative comments.
Jesus came into our world 2000 years ago, as our Savior. His mother was a teenage girl in Israel, a virgin (Luke 1:26-31). His father was God (Luke 1:34-35). Some day he will come again, as King. In this “between-time,” he lives in us who are his followers — teens and adults — transforming our desires, making us want to make good choices, in sexual matters, in everything.
Let us remember this in the midst of our Christmas celebrations, and rejoice!