Rebels for Christ: Harris Twins Challenge Teens to Do Hard Things
- Thursday, July 24, 2008
CW: You've had a lot of teens respond to your message. Could you share your favorite story of a teenager who stepped out to do hard things?
BH: I will give you a little variety, and then I will focus on one specific one that we just learned about. So, we have … this girl who has had nannies her whole life and her nanny had just quit. She read our book, and she came into the kitchen and realized if the nanny can clean up the kitchen in 15 minutes, she can do it too.
You move up into older teens. We have been especially excited to see young men who are reading the book, and they are immediately volunteering to lead in some way, whether it be in their youth group, whether it be at school.
You can go even older, college age or post college age, young people who are reading the book, and they are saying, "Let's start a summer camp for kids in Jamaica this summer. Let's do hard things for Jesus this summer." That is a 28-year-old.
Then we have 40- and 50-year-olds who are saying, "You know what, here is a vision I have had my whole life, and I have just always been held back by fear and by low expectations … so I am actually going to start pursuing this."
The one in particular I will share, which is just kind of neat and is not necessarily like the ultimate example of teens doing hard things, but it is definitely one that we're excited about: There is a young man named Zac Sunderland. He is attempting to be the youngest person to solo circumnavigate the world -- which means sail around the world in a boat by himself. He is 16 years old. He was born on a boat. He has already logged 15,000 miles at sea, and his parents are meeting him at each stop along the way, but he has gotten tons of media attention. He will be the youngest person in history to ever do that if he accomplishes it, which he has every support in place to do.
We actually found out about him because he was wearing a "Do Hard Things" T-shirt.
CW: Very neat. For the parents who may be reading - you write about your dad's role in sort of jump-starting this whole experience. Do you have any words for parents on what they could do to encourage their teens to do hard things?
BH: Absolutely. The main encouragement I would have for parents, and something our parents did such a good job of, is to definitely challenge us, to give us tools not toys, to provide platforms and opportunities for us to present something, [like] getting us involved in speech and debate competition. Whatever it was that would help give us incentive to really apply ourselves, to stoke passions.
Sometimes [we] get feedback from people saying, "Well, what about parents who have too high expectations?" Everyone knows those parents -- sometimes their children actually break down. In our experience, the problem has not been the high expectations. The problem has been the emphasis on success over faithfulness [to God] ... success in terms of certain grades, certain college, certain kind of job. The expectation leaves no room for failure even when doing the right thing, failing even though you tried your hardest but growing.
If that [failure] is included in the high expectations, we have never seen the kind of problems that people associate with too high expectations.
CW: So, what is next for you and your brother as you enter the 20-something stage? Will your mission change?
BH: Our heart is not to get stuck in the teen years. We don't want to be 40 years old and still be, like, teenagers rebelling against low expectations!
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