Three Boys, 70.3 Miles

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Victor, Alonzo, and David

Meet Victor, Alonzo, and David, collectively known as V.A.D.  All seniors in high school, these three young men have taken on the challenge of training for and then competing in a 70.3 Ironman.  They are doing this with no similar experience and no previous training to give them a boost in their preparations.  The challenge they’ve taken on is insane – and they’re doing it for a good cause.

For those who don’t know (which included me until about a year ago), a 70.3 Ironman, also know as a Half Ironman, is a triathlon.  The boys will have to swim 1.2 miles, bike 56 miles, and run 13.1 miles.  Their trainer is a veteran triathlete who qualified for the 70.3 Ironman world championships in Las Vegas this past year, so the boys are in good hands in the months leading up to the race.  That being said, they certainly have their work cut out for them!

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The Cost of Passion

“Our generation wants to be passionate about causes without suffering for them — yet “passion” means “to suffer.” Are we ready to grow up?” –Alex and Brett Harris, The Rebelution

This little quote piqued my interest when it popped up on my Facebook newsfeed, so I decided to do some quick research.  I looked up the word “passion” on merriam-webster.com, and scanned down to the word origin.  This is what I found:

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The Value of a Work Ethic

A poster for Team Conan, created during the To...

Conan O’Brian (Image credit: Wikipedia)

“Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.” -Conan O’Brien

I don’t normally turn to TV personalities for words of wisdom, but I remember watching Conan give his speech on his final night on NBC and being struck by the simple truth of these words.  As I move from town to town and work for different schools, it usually only takes me a day or two to jump to the top of a sub list.  It’s not because of some extraordinary talent that makes me better than other subs or teachers.  Instead, I am constantly praised for my strong work ethic.  I take my job seriously, I complete the tasks given to me, and I give a full report at the end of the day.  Plus, I’m nice to people while I do all that.  For some reason, that’s enough to place me on the top of the sub lists within a day, even when there are other experienced teachers to call.   Continue reading

More From “Start Here”

In my last post, I discussed the practical advice on doing hard things from Brett and Alex Harris’s book Start Here.  The bulk of the rest of the book is spent on the mindset of a rebelutionary – not on the need to do hard things (that’s what their first book was for), but on how to think and act and live like a rebelutionary.  They covered topics from dealing with peers who don’t understand and time management to keeping up the motivation and how to respond to the unintended consequences, both positive and negative, that come from doing things that go against the cultural grain.  And over and over again, they bring it back to full dependency on God.

17 yr. old Zac Sunderland on the cover of ESPN magazine (photo via therebelution.com)

I was impressed with how strongly they warn against pride that may come from the attention and praise that may come from doing hard things.  Teens that have followed the rebelutionary lifestyle have made it on the cover of ESPN magazine, have written their own books, and have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for various charitable organizations and social causes.  Brett and Alex themselves have been interviewed by media venues such as NPR and The New York Times for their work.  In Start Here they very candidly address the dangers of such attention.  They remind readers that everything they do is through dependency on God, and when they remember that, pride is transformed into humble thankfulness to God for allowing them to be a part of His work.  As they so often remind the reader, they don’t want to be considered exceptional, special, or “better” than other young people.  They sincerely believe that ALL teenagers have the capabilities to do hard things when they break away from society’s low expectations and make themselves faithful to God. Continue reading

A Place to Start – Learning from the Rebelutionaries

I picked up a few books from the library yesterday.  I figured I should start my research with the authors that initially inspired my ideas, so I now have three books by Marcus Buckingham and one book by Alex and Brett Harris waiting for me to read.  The book by the Harris twins is named Start Here, so I figured I should probably read that one first – you know, since it told me to.

Cover of "Start Here: Doing Hard Things R...

Cover via Amazon

Start Here is the follow-up to the first book the Harris twins wrote, Do Hard Things.  In Do Hard Things, Brett and Alex challenged teens to a “rebelution” against the low expectations set for teens by our culture. It was the first book I read that started the gears turning in my brain on this issue.  The chapters on the myth of adolescence struck a deep chord, and I loved all the examples they set forth of teens doing great things when they allowed themselves to be used by God.  I’ve always loved the passion and potential in teenagers, and Do Hard Things was the hard evidence of those ideas.  I partly wanted to read Start Here just to see the next step in their mission, but I’m also kind of hoping for some help myself.  They wrote for teens, but I, too, need some advice on how to pursue a big idea that’s been placed on my heart, and that’s what they offer in this book.

 So far I’ve read the first three chapters, and I’m just as impressed by the Harris boys’ work as I was on their first book.  The target audience is definitely teenagers, so some of it takes some translating to make it apply to my situation (changing “homework” to “my job” and “chores” to “housework,” etc.), but the messages are still very good. Continue reading

Avoiding Neverland

Peter Pan playing the Pipes

Have you ever read Peter Pan?  Not the Disney story, but the original novel by J. M. Barrie?  While I do consider it a work of literary genius, I would hesitate to hand it to young children.  I mean, let’s be honest.  Never Never Land is kind of creepy.  Indians kidnap children and the pirates try to kill everyone, while the fairies drink and have orgies (yep, you read that right).  Tinkerbell calls Wendy a word that starts with a “B” and rhymes with “witch”.  Peter Pan himself isn’t much better.  He is a fun character, but he isn’t intended to be a hero or a role model.  In fact, he can be kind of a jerk in his childish ways.  At the end of the book, all the children, including the Lost Boys, realize that they need to leave Never Never Land and grow up.  Peter Pan is the only one who remains behind, and the reader is actually left feeling a little bit sorry for him.  Neverland is not a place to stay, because people are supposed to grow up.  But for some reason, (probably thanks in part to Disney), Neverland and Peter Pan have become idealized symbols of eternal youth in our culture.

I’ve noticed a trend in my reading.  People are taking a lot longer to grow up than they used to.  Did you know that the concept of being a teenager didn’t exist until the late 1800’s?  Before that a person was either a child or an adult, but nothing in between.  Brett and Alex Harris have already covered the the rise of the teenager in their writings, so I encourage people to check out their article The Myth of Adolescence on The Rebelution website for more information.  Or better yet, read their book!  (See Resources page).  Seriously though, at least read the article.  Teens are a relatively new phenomenon, in the grand scheme of history.

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