Do Hard Things!


I started reading this book a year or so ago and I have quoted it many times to my kids and to students when I substitute teach. This past summer we started it in the car as an audio when we were on a long road trip. (My kids present ages: 12,14.16) The words are captivating and make you really wonder why our teens in society live in mediocrity. Why is the potential lost for our teens? Do they really need to be called “teen-ager”? Is this their right or is it a label cast from some point of no return? The foreward alone is by Chuck Norris, who inspires everyone to read this impassioned approach and commitment to, Do Hard Things!


Written by two Oregonian, home-schooled teenagers, it certainly is inspiring how they resonate thoughts so clearly and share such insightful historical tidbits. Alex and Brett Harris started a movement to take back the passion for teens to take on the world with new eyes and determination. They demystify the present state of teen low expectations and reclaim a path to present day perseverance and a vision to tackle “Hard Things.” The young authors revive a low expectation attitude to taking risks and rousing determination that catapult teens forward to change their community and the world.


On a more personal note, this book impacted my family to push through a difficult project. We came out the other side of a “Hard Thing,” a project we almost gave up on, with a sigh of relief and deep breath of accomplishment. It certainly is hard to stare at an unpainted wall, especially for 2 years. We took on a summer project of painting our house ourselves but then one wall was left unfinished. We started the project of course to save money and to teach our kids hard work on our own house. In Oregon summers can be too hot, too wet and for us too many sports. We had just one wall left for two years as the rains came early and as novice painters we just couldn’t see the risk of standing on ladders two stories up with concrete below. It just seemed a bit unsafe. We waited for the next summer season to ask some professionals to help us finish.


Well, we got a couple quotes to finish the job and, yikes! It was just too much, especially for such a small left over wall. There had to be another way. We had been encouraging our kids to do hard things, how could we just give up? This book kept blinking back at me with the title and so, I kindly called the painters and turned them down. Telling them I had to find a way because we were reading a book as family called, Do Hard Things! When faced with this problem, we started connecting to each other and trying to come up with ideas. We had come up with a few strategies. (This was just like the book.)


Then on the last Saturday of summer, we were at Lowes getting lightbulbs and a few other odd things for the house. We were going to build some scaffolding but then my middle son(14) brought over a huge pole and said, “What about this?” It was a pole that attaches to a paint roller or edger and goes up to fifty feet! (Less than $50!)


Here it was, our young teen coming up with the solution because he was brought in on the discussion of how to make something better. This again, just like the book we had been listening to! Presenting hard things or just asking them to be a part of decisions that make a difference gives them opportunity to show what they can do.


How we can inspire our young teenagers to think of big or small problems and make a difference in the world? A simple solution is to ask them but how it is done and executed to change the world is what is discussed in this book with many real life scenarios and examples of real teenagers doing Hard Things.


Our teenagers can make an impact on the world now and they must because the future depends on them not waiting but acting now. This book shares how many teens are making changes where they are right now and this certainly gives them a leverage up. Some stories are humorous, some practical and some inspirational. It is also packed with ways to take a stand and do what is right instead of following the crowd. It is written by teens for teens.


We have more to listen as a family but I will encourage them to read some of these great chapters on their own. There aren’t many, if any teen books out there like this. I totally think it should be on every parenting shelf to hand out, discuss or listen together. Quote this book at the dinner table or on a drive, or get the Audio (Kids like to listen from another voice, seriously it kinda works well.)


When did the word, “teenager” submerge in history? How old do you think this term really is? Check out their quiz on page 29. I betcha many will get it wrong from this multiple choice history lesson. Share the book together and find out. Maybe your teen will help with a solution in your home, school or community. Or maybe, they will just be inspired.

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