31 May 2008

Rejecting low expectations

I published my first (and thus far only) book at age 48. I can't imagine writing a book at 19, yet that's precisely what Alex and Brett Harris have done in writing Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations. Alex and Brett are twin brothers who were homeschooled by christian parents teaching them a strong sense of personal responsibility. The wider culture looks at adolescence largely as a time to goof off before assuming adult responsibilities, while these young men came to understand it as a time precisely to take on those responsibilities and develop their gifts.

The brothers' efforts resonate with me strongly for two reasons. First, our daughter will be entering adolescence in a few years, and we want her to have good examples amongst her peers with which to identify. And, second, for just over two decades I have taught young people around the age of Alex and Brett. Those Redeemer students who gravitate towards political science tend to be much like these two brothers in other ways as well, with a strong ethos of hard work and service to God and neighbour. If this has given me a slightly skewed view of late adolescents, so be it. It's a beautiful view, and it makes my job a source of joy and deep satisfaction for which I praise God.

Among other things, Alex and Brett maintain a website, called The Rebelution, that is worth checking out. While you're at it, listen to their recent NPR interview.

(Hat tip: Chuck Colson)

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