Greater Expectations

Dear Sunnyview Family,

For the last few weeks, I have been reading a couple of books in preparation for what we will be teaching for the 7th-8th grade week at camp: “Do Hard Things” and “Start Here” by Alex Harris and Brett Harris. In their teens, Brett and Alex started the Rebelution, a movement for today’s teens to rebel against low expectations. In their books, the Harris brothers explain that teens today are being underutilized because they aren’t expected to do anything of any significance. They are expected to make their bed, clean their rooms, do their homework, and not get in trouble. And if they do at least that, they are praised for being model teens. But if you look back at many figures in history, they started doing world changing things when they were in their teens, as young as 13! Wouldn’t it be incredible if our 13 year olds were changing the world in important ways?

Why aren’t they? They are certainly capable of doing big things, but very rarely do they move beyond their comfort zone. Why do teens no longer naturally strive for what is difficult? They are simply reaching the bar that we set for them.

That may be a tough pill to swallow, but we have to admit that the standards we have set for teens are very basic, and our expectations are probably even lower. Look at the responsibilities that teens have during the week: go to school, do homework, clean room, be on time, stay out of trouble, hang out with friends. They are expected to do important things in college or after, think about a career in their last year of high school, and be a part of the church in the future. And people will rise to exactly where you place the bar. They will meet your expectations but not go beyond them. And teens are very good at meeting our expectations of them.

So how do we address this issue? Using a two prong approach. Alex and Brett are covering the first: speaking directly to teens and showing them that they are capable of more than they think, and more than the people around them think. We must tackle the second: we must change our expectations of teens. We can’t be afraid to lead them outside their comfort zones in a big way, nor giving them a chance to fail at what they are doing. Growth doesn’t happen when we are comfortable; it can only happen when we are being challenged.

If you and I are committed to raising up a generation for Christ, we need to treat them like they are the current generation, not the future. Because that is exactly what they are: a generation of church leaders, evangelists, teachers and world changers that exists right now. Let’s expect great things of them, so they can grow beyond us!

In Christ,

Jeremy Coggins