First I must confess that my oldest son and I have finished reading the first 3 chapters of Do Hard Things! Peyton is 10 and has really enjoyed the book so far. He may participate with us in the discussion.
Second, has anyone stopped to think after reading any of the book, “What’s the big deal about young people being responsible?” “Why is this so important?” In his book titled, The Case Against Adolescence: Rediscovering the Adult in Every Teen, Robert Epstein said had the following to say about the importance of responsibility,
In a word, it’s because responsibility brings out our best. Responsibility is a powerful motivator. It makes us push ourselves harder, perform better, and care more. Without responsibility, most people turn to jelly (pg. 284).
Not only is this the case, but Dr. Epstein quotes studies that confirm “Young people who have learned to handle responsibility are more effective in their lives…[and] that the younger we are when we learn to handle responsibility, the greater the sense of social responsibility we have as teens” (pg. 285).
Responsibility elicits the best from children, young adults, and adults. It seems as if it can be compared to the carrot on the stick before the donkey. It is there before us, beckoning us closer, to push harder, perform better, and to care more for others rather than ourselves.
Problems call forth our courage and our wisdom; indeed, they create our courage and our wisdom. It is only because of problems that we’ve grown mentally and spiritually.
By substituting responsbility with problems we would be lead to conclude the same thing.
On a final note about taking responsibility, consider…if each and every single one of us, regardless of our age, knew that we are responsible to fulfill the first and second greatest commandments now (read Matthew 22.36-40), rather than when we graduate high school or college, then I imagine everyone would take more of an initiative in passionately seeking-out after God themselves and to turn in selfless love to those around them, being socially responsible for the ills of our community and world.
When we are given this burden to love God and others, we will be compelled to do so. When we realize that we are called to work out our own salvation, then we will take responsibility for doing so, because we know that it is God who is at work within us to both will and to work for the purpose of His good pleasure (read Philippians 2.12-13). We will realize that God is not limited to our age, that He is not waiting for us to reach a certain age or milestone before He can work within and through us. Come on, do we really believe that He is in heaven tapping His foot inpatiently waiting for every young person to “grow-up?”
The big deal about young people having responsibility is having something set before them that is challenging and calls out from them the need and necessity to act, to act courageously, to act wisely, and to learn from the mistakes made in striving to accomplish a feat.
Let me ask, do you agree or disagree with the importance of responsiblity in the life of a young person (for some of you, “teens”) and adult? Does it create one who is personally responsible for themselves as well as others?