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Book Review: Start Here: Doing Hard Things Right Where You Are by Alex and Brett Harris with Elisa Stanford

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When twin brothers Alex and Bret Harris wrote Do Hard Things in 2008 their challenge to Christian young people to rebel against low expectations in order to do greater things for God’s glory, it struck a chord. Teenagers suddenly looked beyond their game consoles towards an inspiring vision of what youth have historically been able to accomplish – far more than we’re led to believe today with the overwhelming prevalence of the myth of the ‘teenage years’.

Their follow up companion volume to Do Hard Things is entitled Start Here: Doing Hard Things Right Where You Are – a logical title for a book designed to guide budding ‘rebelutionaries’ from vision into action while tackling common stumbling blocks that may arise along the way. As a parent who admittedly hasn’t read their first, ground-breaking volume for young adults, I’m impressed by the Harris’ godly, balanced approach to striving to accomplish much for God.

The Harris twins keep young readers attention upon God and His glory, upon respect for their parents and God-given authorities, upon seeking to serve Him where they find themselves, even if He seems to have shut the door on some opportunities to serve for Him now. With the passions of youth it can be so tempting to throw all other responsibilities aside in the pursuit of a driving goal, but the Harris brothers encourage adding to existing responsibilities through the guidance and approval of parents. They never undervalue the ‘smaller’ hard things – the things that develop character step-by-step in daily life. Washing the dishes when you don’t feel like it, being faithful with devotions, loving your difficult siblings – these things are all as hard as raising thousands of dollars for charity or producing award-winning independent films.

These larger hard-things are also valued, and Start Here includes the inspiring, real-life stories of rebelutionaries who have moved past society’s low expectations and into God’s calling on their lives at a young age. From their own experiences, the Harris’ share advice on resisting pride, speaking with media, pushing through setbacks, resting, and much more in a slender volume of only 176 pages. Chapter by chapter discussion questions in the appendix make this volume easy to use within a youth group setting, or any gathering of inspired Christian youth.

Do Hard Things is already headed toward the status of a modern discipleship classic for today’s youth, and Start Here will likely be following closely behind it. I’ll be holding onto my copy of Start Here and picking up a copy of Do Hard Things for my own children as they enter into young adulthood, inspiring our children on to greatness, for His cause is worth it, undoubtedly.

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