Recap: Do Hard Things

We went to the Do Hard Things conference over the weekend. Quick takes:

– inspiring and motivational
– disappointed that we had to leave early (previous commitment in conflict with the conference schedule)
– good books and resources available: We took some for “homework” and so our conference experience will continue as we read.

First impressions:

We arrived a bit late, but the conference organizers had things under control in the front lobby. Since we were preregistered, check-in went quickly. We were directed to create nametags and head in to the auditorium where we could hear praise music already blasting. On the way in, each of the youthful participants received an audience-participation gadget.

The main floor was full, and those who seemed to be ushers (I think they were ushers. They looked like ushers) didn’t seem to know what to do about it. They hovered in the back, by the doors, paying little heed to the conference attendees who were also hovering in the back, by the doors, trying to figure out the seating situation. (A large bank of seats near the back sort of fooled the casual observer, appearing empty as you entered, but proving to be “reserved” with personal possessions.)

I finally asked an usher if we could find seats upstairs, and she (seeming surprised) gave it a moment of thought and then said, “Sure!”

Since we weren’t familiar with the church, it took us a minute or two more to find the stairs, but intrepid, intelligent home educators that we are, we managed to solve the problem despite the fact that we were still on an adrenalin high from rushing there (belated), we were tired from a late night the night before, and the music was blasting our senses.

Why is it that teen music, even teen praise music, is so LOUD? Is the stereotype that all teens are deaf? Are teens deaf because they listen to music that’s so loud? Is the volume turned up to ear-tingling levels because teens are used to tuning things out? Do teens enjoy painfully loud music? (Mine don’t.) Is the volume kept high so that deaf participants can enjoy the music vibrating from the floor?

Wish we’d brought earplugs, at least for the musical portion. The lyrics were good, the tunes singable, but we sang along with our fingers in our ears to protect our hearing. Did you know that if a sound is loud enough to be uncomfortable, even painful, that you need ear protection, to keep the delicate mechanism inside your ears from damage?

(We had the same problem at the homeschool co-op, the last couple of years. We got in the habit of arriving late and skipping the praise-and-worship portion, because the music was painfully loud. When I say “painfully” I mean exactly that. Pity. The organizers try to set the tone for the co-0p day, but the praise portion is so loud that it’s damaging the hearing of those who come to hear, whether they realize it or not.)

Since I don’t want to leave this on a negative note, let me reiterate that the messages were good, encouraging teens to rise above modern society’s low expectations. I wish we’d been able to stay the whole day.

A friend loaned us the conference on video, so we can watch the session we missed.

Last word:

If you have a chance to get to one of the remaining conferences, GO. There are conferences coming up in Kansas City, Indianapolis, and Baton Rouge. If you live some distance away, be encouraged by the group that traveled from Dubai to get to the Portland conference. Besides that group, there were others who came from hundreds of miles away, including Arizona, southern California, and Alaska.

If you do plan to attend an upcoming conference, expect to be challenged and encouraged.

Oh, and bring ear protection.

(As the Lord allows, come back tomorrow for a more in-depth look at the message of the conference.)

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