I recently skimmed Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion against Low Expectations. DHT is, of course, written by “Rebelution” co-founders Alex & Brett Harris (twin younger brothers to Joshua Harris of I Kissed Dating Goodbye fame).*
And I just read some of the comments on Rebekah’s last post. Monique observed, “in our culture today adults seem to be more infantile than ever.” The Harris brothers employ a great term for such maturity-impaired persons: “kidults.”
If, as the Harris brothers engagingly assert (and I’m guessing most of us have already thought this), we’re expecting way, way too little from teenagers, then surely we’re setting the bar too low at earlier ages as well. “Kidults” don’t just happen; they’re the end product of years of parental indulgence and/or negligence. And part of that indulgence, sad to say, is the myth that the older children in a large family are somehow “robbed” of their childhood because they are learning to be responsible members of their family and community rather than spending aimless hours and wads of guilty cash at the mall.
What we need is a book like the Harris brothers’ for all stages of child development. For babies: Do Sensible Things: An Infant Rebellion against People Who Make Babbling Fools of Themselves When Talking to Babies. For the toddler set: Doo Doo Things: The Twos Rebel against the Idea That Soiling Oneself Is a Necessary Evil. For our four-year-olds: Do Things: A Preschool Rebellion against Lying on the Couch and Complaining of Boredom Despite the Fact That One’s Mother Has Provided a Wide Variety of Engaging and Educational Activities. Suggestions for other titles in the series?
So by all means, let’s break out the chore charts, and no apologies. I’m still new to the idea that my children can be productive rather than destructive members of the family…So tell me, what are the two- and four-year-olds out there up to? (I’ll give the 7-month-old a pass for the moment.) We had an Adventure in Carrot Peeling this afternoon, which I would consider to be a modest success, with the quantity of vegetables consumed mid-process tipping the balance favorably away from focus on the mess.
Back to the Harris brothers’ book: I’d definitely put it in the Book, Recommended category, particularly for parents of tweens and teens to read/discuss with their kids; a good one for the church library. If any of y’all out there have actual teenagers (a season of life that’s rather beyond my imagination at this stage in the game :) ) and have read DHT or have gone to one of the Rebelution conferences, I’d be very interested in your take on it. (Yes, I’m aware that they are Not Lutheran. Broaden your horizons, people ;) )
*Strange LCMS-small-world connection: The Harris twins, who were homeschooled, are apparently now attending Patrick Henry College and are in some group mentored by Veith.