A Review of
Start Here: Doing Hard Things Right Where You Are.
Alex and Brett Harris.
Paperback: Multnomah, 2010.
Buy now: [ ChristianBook.com ]
Reviewed by Chris Smith.
Alex and Brett Harris are the authors of the recent book Do Hard Things, which they have described as “[countering] the Myth of Adolescence, which says the teen years are a time to goof off and have fun before ‘real life’ starts.” They have now also released a followup volume, Start Here: Doing Hard Things Right Where You Are, which is a sort of practical guide beginning to explore the ideas offered in Do Hard Things. Although admittedly,I have not yet read the first book, in reading Start Here I am inspired by these young men’s social critique of adolescence and their striking call for teens to step up and to put their energy to use imagining and doing meaningful work. Start Here takes on many of the seeming impediments that would stand in the way; indeed the sort of “hard things” that the authors challenge youth to undertake. Secondly, I deeply appreciated their advice not to do these “hard things” by oneself, but rather to invite others into our undertakings or even to engage ourselves in the meaningful and redemptive work that others in our churches and families are already doing. Similarly, their encouragement to “move against the crowd” seem to resonate with the Gospel story and is an essential word for the maturing of teens beyond the social traps of popularity and “coolness.”
Start Here is essential reading for youth workers, as well as for churches in general. It is exciting to think that the authors’ message is getting out there and I pray that it will continue to be used by God as a means of transforming both teenagers and their church communities.
[ A copy of this book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.]
C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com