Think About Hard Things

Ever have one of those great ideas but find out that somebody has beat you to it? My idea was to inspire the other teenagers around me to be something more than anti-intellectual slackers who goof off.

And then I found out that there is a pair (twins!) of teenagers named Alex and Breet Harris that has been doing just that. They wrote a book called Do Hard Things (image from which encourages teens to get off of their sorry arses and… do hard things.

Splendid! Except…

They support that ignunt fool Mike Huckabee, are planning on speaking at Focus on the Family later this month, and in their interview with NPR (how I heard of them) Alex said that “Our life narrative is are we being faithful servants to Jesus Christ? And when that’s the narrative it makes sense to be doing what we’re doing. And if that’s not the narrative… it’s kind of meaningless ultimately.”

To be fair, the other twin said that the point of doing hard things is to grow so you don’t necessarily have to share their faith. But, on their website they say that they’re doing it “for the glory of God” and I’m afraid that, as an Atheist, I’d have to say that they’re doing the right thing for the wrong reason.

The way I see it, they’re doing the right thing to suck up to Jesus and the Judeo-Christian god. So, why do I think that teenagers should actually be doing something with their lives at this age?

Because you’d be surprised about the wisdom we can gain from 13-18 years on Earth (I certainly gained quite a bit, though I’d be the first to say I don’t know everything yet). Because we all have talents which we are capable of applying to fixing problems. Because we’re all human and humans ought to do good in the world.

I think that Alex and Brett probably agree with those reasons, even if they’re doing it for other reasons.

But, as much as I would endorse activism for teenagers, activism for a bad cause does more harm than good. Which is why I would not just encourage teenagers to be activists, but to also think about the causes they are supporting. If teenagers can learn to be freethinkers, I have reason to believe they will do what is right more often than what is popular, or what their parents have indoctrinated want them to do.

Think about hard things. Then do hard things.

6 responses to this post.

  1. I heard this interview, too, and proceeded to roll my eyes and snort derisively at the “Our life narrative is are we being faithful servants to Jesus Christ? And when that’s the narrative it makes sense to be doing what we’re doing. And if that’s not the narrative… it’s kind of meaningless ultimately.” commentary.

    I don’t need to be a “faithful servant” to be a decent human being. And endeavoring to grow and learn is a worthwhile pursuit for its own sake, not meaningless.

    What a sad, sad world those boys must live in.

    And yes, The Huckster is an ingnunt fool.

  2. I’d have to say that they’re doing the right thing for the wrong reason.

    Can we sum up much of religion the same way? We shouldn’t kill people, but not just because the Bible tells us not too. I’m sure many of your readers have heard this argument before.

    I’m glad the authors encourage others to think and ‘do hard stuff’, even if it doesn’t make the reader a huckabee-supporting theist. Sounds like Alex and Brett are tolerant of other belief systems.

  3. I fail to see how they are doing anything hard when they supposedly have ‘ole Grandpa Jesus in the driver’s seat. Really, in my opinion, religion is like ordering a combo instead of making your own order – it’s for people not creative enough to create their own philosophy and think for themselves.

    Of course, I tend to be rather more critical when it comes to Republicans. It’s good that they’re getting out and fighting for what they believe in, even if what they believe in leaves a bad taste in my mouth. No matter what the message is, those of us not old enough to vote should be able to be heard.

  4. Speaking as a Christian, I think what they intend to do is noble, of course I also agree that we must be free thinkers

  5. Posted by Joe on May 27, 2008 at 6:42 am

    I heard the interview, stumbled across this post doing a blog search on the book, and just tonight came across the following review on Amazon. I thought it applied:

    Not a “Christian”? Read THIS review

    I am NOT a fundamentalist Christian- I am a liberal, ultra-progressive Roman Catholic and a democrat. I am writing this because, although I have different political and spiritual views from the authors of this book (and nearly all of the reviewers) I thought this book had a lot of ideas worthy of thought.

    I didn’t always agree with certain ideas (though a modest dresser myself, I wasn’t happy with parts of their modesty survey). Nor do I agree with some of the authors’ religious statements and conclusions. But after deciding to “agree to disagree” with those parts, I can honestly say that the overall thesis and message of the book I completely agreed with. Moreover, this book was very well written and inspiring, even for me, an adult well past the teen years.

    I’m not going to waste space on Amazon talking about the good points of the book- plenty of reviewers have, and you can read what they wrote. All I’m saying is, you can disagree with certain political and religious views of the authors and still get a lot out of this book.

  6. My parents tried to mold me into a good little Christian girl. But they accidently taught me critical thinking along the way, and I was hooked!

    For this reason, I wouldn’t worry too much about WHY they Do Hard Things, as long as the Hard Things are GOOD Things. People who possess the ability to think critically will inevitably learn to do so once exposed to its use in society.

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