The Myth of Adolescence

1 Corinthians 13:11 “When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.”

Jasmine, Betsy, and I attended the Do Hard Things conference this weekend put on by Alex and Brett Harris, authors of the Rebelution Blog, and their father, Greg Harris. In the one day conference, they discussed the myth of adolescense, that in todays world we tend to add on to 1 Corinthians 13:11, ‘When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I was a teenager, I looked like a man, had the abilities of a man, but still spoke, thought, and reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.’
Their message was simple: teenagers today need to learn how to do hard things. They listed several examples from our nations history of extraordinarily hard working teenagers who went on to become adults that went down in history. My favorite example was of David Farragut, the U.S. Navy’s first admiral. When he was twelve, he was made captain of a captured ship and was given the responsibility of seeing it safetly back to America along with its crew and captain – which he did. Alex and Brett argued that these people did not have extraordiary teen years because they were going to be famous later on in life, but that they were famous later on in life because they prepared themselves properly during their ‘teen’ years.
The brothers spent the majority of their conference defining this ‘myth of adolesence’ and then encouraging fellow teenagers to do hard things. They gave much practical advice of how teenagers can do this, including reading good (hard) books, stepping out of comfort zones, and working beyond what is expected of you.
Alex and Brett have their own list of ‘doing hard things’ credentials, which they laid out for us at the beginning of the conference. It was pretty impressive and served to show young and old alike that they were not just full of ideas, but that they acted on their ideas successfully. They also reminded listeners again and again that they were able to accomplish these things because of the work that God did in them, none of it was of themselves. The glory was always given right back to whom it belonged.
The twins also showed that they believed so strongly in what they taught that they not only followed it themselves, but they provided many opportunities for others to do the same. An example of this is their conferences this year. They were put on by teenagers. Every worker we saw working at the conference, be it signing people in, selling t-shirts and books, working the cameras, or helping to lead times of singing, were younger than I am. The brothers assured us that all the work that is done behind the scenes is done by teenagers as well. And let me assure you, the conference was very well done. Everything ran smoothly. The only problem I could find the entire day (and I was looking for problems) was that during times of singing, the power point with the words on it was a little slow in switching from slide to slide.
Greg Harris, the twins father, shared the gosple. I was so glad that they did this! At a conference for young people, it is always wise not to assume that all present are saved. Mr. Harris did a great job preaching the gosple in a way that was beneficial to believers and non-believers alike.
I would encourage everyone to read their book, Do Hard Things. It is not a difficult book to read. But it will encourage young people to take their time as teenagers seriously. It will encourage parents not to have low expectations of their children. It will give families ideas of how they can grow together and raise up strong men and women of the Lord.
I am very glad that I was able to go to the Do Hard Things conference. It backed up a lot of feelings that I have been having for a while and gave me lots of ideas of how to work these feelings out in action. I think that the message preached applies to everyone, not just teenagers, and am excited to see how the Lord uses it to work in the lives of those who went to the conference with me.

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