Do Hard Things: Week 3 Discussion 3

July 24, 2008

At this point there has been NO interaction with the discussion questions.  I strongly encourage you to respond to AT LEAST one question (here are the guidelines for commenting – here).

The following is taken verbatim from the Do Hard Things – Study Guide

Chapter 3 is titled the Myth of Adolescence: Exposing Expectations That Our Robbing our Generation

An elephant is an incredibly powerful beast that can be restrained by a piece of twine (No kidding).  And that powerful animal just might be you, say Alex and Brett.  Why?  Because teens today but into “the Myth of Adolescence.”  That myth is an assumption that the teen years can’t add up to much and are meant to be spent as some sort of vacation from responsibility.  Unfortunately, those low expectations end up trapping and limiting teens for no good reason.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  Even the word teenager, the authors point out, is a recent invention.  We can choose to live by higher standards.  We can leave childish ways behind and grow up.  We can decide to do hard things.  That, say the twins, is where the Rebelution starts.

Questions for discussion:

Have you ever visited a zoo, seen beautiful and powerful animals caged by glass or bars, and felt that something was terribly wrong?  If so, talk about it.  Why do you think some teens might identify with a wild but caged bird or animal?

Do you think that harmless-sounding lies about the teen years could be holding back both you and other teens you know?  Talk about it. 

What was your reaction to the stories of George, David, and Clarissa (pages 31-32)?  Have you ever thought you could accomplish a lot more than you are now?

What do your parents expect you to do at home in an average week?  Do you deliver?  Be honest.  How much time and effort does it take to do what’s asked of you?  Do you think your parents require too much or too little? 

Have you ever found yourself behaving very differently – and accomplishing a lot more – simply because someone expected you to?  Describe the experience.

Look forward to hearing from you SOON!

 


Do Hard Things: Week 2 Chapter 2 DISCUSSION

July 16, 2008

For discussion guidelines click here.

The following is verbatim from the Do Hard Things Study Guide:

In this chapter, Alex and Brett tell the story of their journey from being bored teens to being Supremem Court interns, campaign workers, and blog hosts.  But before they had new experiences they had new ideas – big ideas like:

  • Our generation is getting robbed!
  • There has to be more to the teen years than goofing off.
  • Ordinary teens can make a big difference in the world.
  • Young people can handle big responsibilities.
  • With big dreams come big challenges.
  • What teens working together can accomplish is amazing!

They close the chapter by inviting readers to join them in an uprising “against a cultural mind-set that twists the purpose and potential of the teen years and threatens to cripple our generation.

Questions for discussion and reflection:

  •  
    • Looking back, do you see a season, a book, or an event that changed what you believe or how you live?  If so, talk about it.  How are you different now?

 

  •  
    • One teen told Alex and Brett, “Everyone I know at school is shackled by low expectations.”  Could you say the same thing?  If so, talk about why.

 

  •  
    • Have you ever found yourself responsible for a task that seemed too big for you to succeed at?  If so, what happened?  Did that experience turn out to be a bad thing or a good thing your life?

 

  •  
    • Did you identify with the story of shy Heidi Bentley (pages 19-22)?  If so, talk about it.

 

  •  
    • History shows that youth movements against God-established authority have generally amouunted to much.  How do the authors set their message apart from such movements? 

Do Hard Things: Week 2 Chapter 2

July 15, 2008

This week we are reading Chapter 2 of Do Hard Things.  The title of this chapter is “The Birth of a Big Idea: Rumblings of a rebelution.”  For the guidelines and expectations of the read along and discussion click here.

This chapter entails how Alex and Brett Harris came upon the idea of beginning the “rebelution.”  For me I am always encouraged by reading the stories of others and how the LORD works in and through their lives.  It seems as if the LORD always does more than we could ever think or imagine (read Ephesians 3.20) when we step out in faith to do what He calls us to do.

After reading this chapter I was really encouraged by the example of Heidi in her work in the political grass-roots level in Alabama.  In commenting on her introverted personality and how she arose to the challenge that was set before her, Alex and Brett said,

She had always been extremely introverted.  She hated talking on the phone, her family told us, even with people she knew.  Yet we had put her on the phone with strangers almost constantly.  Throughout the entire campaign, her family watched in amazement as Heidi jumped way outside of her comfort zone and did things that would have seemed impossible before (pg. 20).

If we believe that salvation is possible only through the life of Jesus Christ (read John 14.6) and that God empowers us to be a witness for Him to others (read Acts 1.8), then why do some of us use our “shyness” as an excuse to not connect with others for the purpose of introducing them to Jesus Christ?  Also, if God has promised to empower us to be a witness by sharing Jesus Christ with others, then how can we say that it is true if we do not step out in faith on His word? (you so have to check-out the example of Peter in stepping out in faith upon the promise of God in Luke 5.1-11). 

What can we take away from this?  What we can take away from this little blurb is that we cannot cop out on personal responsibility by using our personality quarks as excuses.  We cannot place anything in our life in a position that is greater than God.  As if it has more power over us than what God is working in us.  The power of God that is at work towards us is so much greater than any personality trait, physical deformity, or speech impediment, that we may or may not have (read Ephesians 1.18-20).


Further thoughts on responsibility

July 12, 2008

The following is a collaboration of miscellaneous quotes on responsibility.  For additional thoughts on the importance of responsiblity in the life of a young person, check-out “What’s the big deal about young people being responsible” and “Are you living your part?”

Abigail Van Buren,

If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders

Booker T. Washing,

Few things help an individual more than to place responsibility upon him, let him know that you trust him.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer,

Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility.

And my favorite of all is from Theodore Roosevelt,

Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat. 

It is not the critic that counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly, who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds.


Are You Living Your Part?

July 11, 2008

If you are a young person reading this, have you asked yourself, “Am I living my part within the body of Christ?”  “Am I playing my part and living my role doing what God has made me to do?” 

Did you know that regardless of your age, maturation, skills, giftedness, and whether or not you have gone through puberty, that you are a part of the body of Christ? 

Ever since reading Do Hard Things and conducting some additional research upon the importance of responsibility in the life of a young person (see “What’s the big deal about young people being responsible?”), I was reconsidering how God does not divide the body of Christ into age categories.   

For example, we read in 1 Corinthians 12.12, 14, and 27 in the New Testament, 

For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ…For the body is not one member, but many…Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.

After reading this little blurb on the body of Christ, we must ask ourselves, “Has God set an age limit for a Christian to become an official part of the body of Christ?”

After reading this passage the resounding answer to the question is NO! 

With that being said, why don’t you take 1 1/2 minutes to watch the following video clip:

Since there are no age restrictions made by God in regards to one’s participation in the body of Christ, everyone needs to consider that:

  1. Everyone is a part of the body regardless of their age, sex, nationality, and feelings.
  2. Since everyone is a part of the body they have a purpose in it to serve God, for the fame of Jesus.
  3. If you are not living your part, then everyone one of us suffers, including myself, adults, and silverheads. 
  4. You, yes you, are the eyes, hands, feet, shoulders, and mouthpiece for Christ!

In reiterating the final message of the video, “ARE YOU LIVING YOUR PART?

If not, “Why not?” “Have you considered that your lack of participation is causing others to suffer?” “Did you know that if you are not living your part then you are missing out on what God has in store for you?”   

Since you are important and vital to the the body of Christ, then why not consider being more of an active part of it? 

If you worship with us at Perrow, then why don’t you click here and see how you can get plugged in! 

If you have any questions feel free to get a hold of me.


What’s the big deal about young people being responsible?

July 10, 2008

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.  

In quoting M. Scott Peck (as found in Dr. Epstein’s book pg. 285),

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, considerRead the rest of this entry »


Do Hard Things: Week 1, Chapter 1 DISCUSSION

July 9, 2008

The following questions were made available from the study guide found at www.therebelution.com 

The discussion guidelines can be found here and my introductory comments on chapter 1 here.

Questions for discussion:

As you read the inside flaps of the book and the first chapter, how did you react to the authors’ talk about change, hard things, and “rebelution”?

Usually we try to look to older (hopefully wiser) people for life advice.  Do you see any risks when teenagers – in this case, two nineteen year olds – try to persuade other young people to change how they think?  On the other hand, what might be some advantages to the authors’ age?

“We don’t think ‘average teenagers’ exist,” write the twins.  Do you feel average?  If so, why?  Does that ever feel like a good thing?  If not, what is it that makes you feel not average?

The fictional Dundress monks were well intentioned but unhappy Christians who believed that more misery must mean more holiness.  Have you ever thought that?  Where do you think that kind of thinking comes from?

In what ways do you think popular culture misrepresents what the teen years are for?  Can you think of one thing that would change if you and your friends believed – really believed – that low expectations were ripping you off?

Remember, AT LEAST 1 comment and AT LEAST 1 response to someone elses comment. 

Looking forward to chatting with you!