rebelling against low expectations

Interview on National Public Radio


Alex and Brett on NPR

Tell Me More, May 23, 2008 — Twin brothers Alex and Brett Harris are on a mission to inspire ambition among their peers. The two political prodigies have released the new book, Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations. Alex and Brett Harris explain their mission to encourage teens to act responsibly, become leaders and change the world.

+ Listen to the Interview +

Hey all, Alex here. Let us know what you think of the interview — and keep us in your prayers! We had a terrific time in San Diego this past weekend at Spirit West Coast. The message is spreading! Tomorrow morning we fly out to Colorado for meetings and interviews at Focus on the Family and, of course, the Denver conference. Hope to see many of you there! Soli deo gloria!

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About the author

Alex and Brett Harris

are the co-founders of and co-authors of Do Hard Things and Start Here. They have a passion for God and for their generation. Their personal interests include politics, filmmaking, music, and basketball. They are both graduates of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia.


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  • Wow! I was so impressed by your interview. You guys did an awesome job. I especially loved how you brought the gospel into the discussion. You go! πŸ™‚
    I will definitely be praying for you two as you travel and spread the word. Keep it up!

  • Wow, way to go guys! That was a really good interview! I just started reading the book and it is definitley challenging me in a good way! Keep it up and God bless!

  • Wow guys! Great interview! The book has really blessed me and I know it has been blessing others as well. I’m really glad y’all did the hard thing and wrote the book and keep the movement going! Keep up the good work!!!

  • When do you rest? πŸ™‚ Everything sounds terrific! I’ll be praying for your energy to keep up during the week, for the events to go smoothly, and for God to move among the hearts of those who hear the message. God bless.

  • I want to ask the same question Andrew asked.

    Very well spoken! You were good examples of the Rebelution! Let’s hope and pray this interview will have a very positive effect.

  • Its so exiting to see God working through you guys. Great interview!
    I’ll be praying for you!

  • Daniel and Andrew: We’ll be attending Patrick Henry College this Fall β€” studying who-knows-what. We’ll probably not declare a major initially. Want to come? πŸ˜€

  • Hey guys great interview and now we know who is older =D

    Oh and I have a quick question about Brett’s reply to Daniel and Andrew, why go to college if you don’t know what your going to major in yet? why don’t you wait untill you know? Just out of curiosity.

  • Hello Everyone!

    We’re sorry this is going to be quite off-topic, but this is very important:

    Tomorrow, on the MSNBC website, they will be doing a story on the Lakeland Revival going on down in Lakeland, Florida. There have been countless, miraculous healings, so much so that it has snatched the attention of secular media. The more hits on the story tomorrow, the more it will grab the attention of national news, and spread the word of this revival to others.

    In His Service,
    ~Kirsten and Elisabeth Gruber

  • Kirstin: Brett was a bit more imprecise than he probably should have been (love you, Brett!). πŸ˜‰ Our plans are currently to major in one of their government tracks — but we are undecided on which would be best at this point. We very much know why we’re going. πŸ˜€

  • This is very exciting to spread the message of the Rebelution nationally. Congratulations. God is using you two in brilliant ways. It’s all by the grace of God!


  • Great interview. I never get tired hearing how the Rebelution started and how it’s growing. πŸ™‚

    Is it too soon to ask what you plan to do after college? (I’m curious.) πŸ˜›

  • I like the way you expressed your thoughts in this interview — you did a great job of explaining everything. Several of the things you said were a great encouragement to me. Thanks for sharing it with all of us — it was a blessing. =)

    I was just wondering, since politics keep coming up in the message of the Rebelution, how would you answer someone who does not believe that politics can be a means of bringing forth God’s Rule, without compromise? I’ve researched the various presidential candidates for this election to a degree, and even some who have already dropped out of the running, and could find none whom I believed 100% in what they stood for. I feel strongly convicted to bring forth change in any right way I can, but also feel strong convictions against some things each candidate stands for — so I’ve opted not to vote because I’ve felt that if I voted then I would be responsible for lives lost due to simply choosing what would appear to be, due to the results of my research, the “lesser evil.” But I also believe that the reason that evil, in any sense, triumphs, is because good people do nothing. So I also don’t want to be apathetic in any arena, at any time. I have hope that a country can change if the leaders/rulers are just and righteous, but I have little hope that politics can change so that just and righteous men would become elected, or if they were, that they would be able to stay good and stay in power within the format of modern politics — as there are so many behind-the-scenes deceptions involved in running for office, in winning votes, and, even, in simply co-existing in the industry amidst people who constantly look for ways to gain more power, money, or success, regardless of the means by which they “climb higher.” I know that in each industry and in nearly every work place one would face the same challenges, of course. But I also have begun to realize, as I’ve researched the history of our country more and more, that, unlike other professions, there are no truly and honestly good politicians — a “righteous politician” or “righteous politics” seems to be more of an oxymoron than an achievable dream. How would you two respond to these concerns of mine, and of others who I know, as a proponent of pursuing political avenues of changing our nation, and world, for good?

    P.S. You’re both TOTALLY staying in my prayers — as will your ministry and each upcoming event. =)

  • Great interview guys! It is great to see that your message is getting to so many teens.

    Will you both end up studying the same thing of do you think you will have different majors, even if they are both in the government sphere? just wondering.

  • The interview was great. Well done. It’s wonderful to hear how the message keeps spreading! May God continue to bless and strengthen you both.

    Hey everyone,
    I am scheduled to have my wisdom teeth pulled on June 5th at 1:45 and I’d really appreciate your prayers during that day and the following week. I was doing my required reading for the surgery and it has me very nervous. I’m sure it’s not such a big deal, but the shot for the Anesthesia (I don’t enjoy the thought of the needle) and the recovery process has me close to breaking out in a cold sweat. So, if I could have your prayers I would very much appreciate them.
    Thanks and God Bless!

  • What a great opportunity to share your message on NPR. You both did a great job and were very well spoken. Way to go!


  • The interview was very enjoyable to listen to! I was just thinking, you guys have really developed the vision and I think are becoming more precise and clear in presenting it as time goes on. (Basically your interviews are getting better and better πŸ˜‰ )Keep up the good work. πŸ™‚

  • Just wondering–Have you all heard of Dr. Ron Paul? He’s a Republican presidential candidate and is really for the Constitution. Do some homework on him.

    I’ll be seeing him speak down in Minneapolis this weekend.


  • Amanda: I’m praying for you as you prepare to have your wisdom teeth pulled. I don’t really like needles either, so I can definitely empathize. I’ve been fortunate to have my wisdom teeth fit in my mouth without causing problems. =)

  • hey this is off topic, but i just read in the wall street journal about 13 year old Keiara Bell

    in detroit, who gave a lesson in civility to Monica Conyers, the president pro tem of the

    DetroitCity Council. Apparently Conyers called the council president a “shrek” @ a hearing

    in April. 2 weeks after making the remark, during a panel discussion with a local school,

    Keiara Bell stood up to Conyers and admonished her for being so immature, and Miss

    Bell didn’t back down when Conyers engaged her in debate. there is a video on Youtube.

    type “Monica Conyers debates school children” in the search bar. It’s really great!

    Alex and Brett, let me know what you think of it:)

  • It was a great interview, guys. You were very clear and concise. It’s wonderful that they allowed you to give glory to God. πŸ˜€

  • Hey guys,
    Wow! What a wonderful opportunity to share what God has laid on your hearts! I do have one thought. When asked if one needs to possess faith in Jesus Christ to view and apply your message, you replied no. But, it seems that if one does not believe in Jesus Christ, doing hard things would seem completely ridiculous. Were you saying ( sorry if I am sounding critical, but I want to understand your meaning) that overall, it doesn’t really matter if one knows the LORD, as long as you do hard things? I don’t think you were, but it was left somewhat unspecified. Anyways, just a thought…
    Thank you so much for sharing, you guys are awesome!

  • Wow guys, this is big…really big. I mean, NPR! That’s awesome and you guys did a wonderful job explaining the purpose of Doing Hard Things. I was also proud of the way you both gave a great witness for our Lord Jesus Christ. I enjoyed it very much.

    Oh and Amanda, I’ll be praying as well.

  • Great interview, guys! I really enjoyed it, especially when you witnessed for Christ. Not everyone would have the courage to do that on national radio. I read your book and really enjoyed it. So did my brother, and my dad is still reading it. I hope to come to your Maryland conference. Keep doing hard things!

  • Hey, Amanda! I’m having my wisdom teeth pulled on June 5th, as well. I’ll be getting finished just as you’re getting started. I’ll certainly be praying for you!

    I’m so excited that you guys got to have this opportunity. Praise God!

  • Kirsten: No surprise even if they didn’t know the major. I didn’t for almost a year after I entered. College can open up a lot of fields for a person–my mom didn’t originally know she was interested in cartography, nor I in economics. Lots of people switch partway through, anyway.

    Brett: PHC? Are you kidding? That didn’t at all occur to me as the type of school you guys would pick. I was thinking Swarthmore, or maybe Randolph College.

  • Great interview. I’m still working on a lot of things in my life that you talked about in Do Hard Things and probably always will be. God has been giving me opportunities to jump out of my comfort zone and it really helps you grow. The hardest thing is crushing the pride that stops you. For me personally, I really struggle with being complacent, making excuses, and justifying what I do and don’t do. There was so much information in the book that I actually took notes which was an awesome idea because now I have something to go back to when my friends have it.

    Anyway, back to that interview. I like how you mentioned how you wrote this book from a Christian perspective but it’s really for anybody. But without Christ, I don’t think I personally would have the same motivation to do hard things as I do now, but again, great point.

    God bless you guys! (By the way, I always wondered why Alex always seems to come before Brett. I always figured you’re older. I guess now I know.)

  • You guys did a great job in the interview! I will be praying for your safety and energy as you travel this week.

    Funny about Patrick-Henry College….my mom says she wants to send me there…I am grateful I have a few years to plan though. πŸ™‚

    God bless!

  • Great interview! I really did like how you did weave the Gospel into it! πŸ™‚ Praying for you guys!

  • What a cool interview! Way to go!!! It’s really inspiring to see what you guys are doing–it’s working–I want to do stuff like that, too! I have been reading all of these books that say we’re supposed to be serving God, but they never give any suggestions on how to start from Ground 1. Your suggestions and your book is awesome and really, really helpful! Thanks so much for ministering to us!

  • Hey Guys! I have been listening and reading your brother Josh Harris’ stuff for years and I am just now hearing and learning about you! I am reading your book, Do hard things, and it’s great! I’m luvin’ it! Keep up the good work and may our Lord Jesus Christ bless you as you go out and encourage our peers to live for Him with all of their hearts.

    Megan ( 18 – KY)

  • Just listened to the interview. Ohhhhh….it was so good! I loved how you used the phrase “life narrative.” So, so encouraging to listen to.

  • Patrick Henry…cool guys! While there you’ll have to look up some of our friends…We have a good friend working for HSLDA and one that works at Patrick Henry!

  • Alex and Penny: Thank y’all for the answers like I said just curious =) and just to be clear I have no problem with people that do enter college when they don’t know what they want to major in I just don’t always understand exactly why. So thank y’all again for answering. I’m almost seventeen so I’m starting to think about things like that although I’m fairly certain that I want to take a three year internet cource to get my master herbalist certification. (I believe that God has instilled in me a love of taking care of sick and wounded people without the use of drugs and since he put the herbs here I’m gonna use them. =) I’ts also a field that is strongly influenced by witchcraft and worship of the Earth so it will be a great chance to wittness! =D )

  • Kirstin, I’m in a Master Herbalist course right now!!! I actually have some information on a good Christian Herbalist program (which, sadly, I didn’t know about until I had already started a more secular program) if you’re interested. Also, the school I’m getting my certification through is only a one year course, and you get certified and everything. So visit my blog and leave a comment if you’re interested. I don’t want to flood this site with herbalist links. lol. But if you comment on my blog, I’ll leave them there for you in a comment. πŸ™‚

  • Kirstin J. and Miranda,

    That is really neat that you’re both pursuing herbal courses! I took one a while back and am contemplating furthering my knowledge in that area since I really enjoyed it. I enjoy researching on how to use herbs in so many various ways. I used Shonda Parker, who is a Christian, homeschool mom. It’s a good program.

    Brett, Mary G., Ashley, & Aimee,

    Thank you for your prayers. I know I’ll need them!
    Aimee, I’ll keep you in prayer as you go through the same process.

    God Bless!!!

  • Hey, my best friend (Who just started reading the book) plans to take a Shonda packer course and I plan on becoming a midwife as soon as I finish highschool (I’m doing 6th grade now), that would work great but we’ll most likely be living around three states apart, ’cause we’re moving this summer. . WOW! guys that is a great interveiw! I just found out I get to come to the Dallas Conference! YAY! See you there!

  • Amanda and Aimee: I had a tooth pulled for my 10th birthday present (we happened to get the day after my birthday). The needle hurts about as much as pricking your finger with a sewing needle. Now, I haven’t had my wisdom teeth pulled, I’m not even sure that I have them yet. I know that having them pulled most be much different than having other teeth pulled. Remember Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him , who have been called according to his purpose. May The Lord bless you with peace and trust.

  • Amanda and Andie: Thanks for your prayers and encouragements.

    Andie, I so wish that I could go to the Dallas conference, but there’s no way it’ll work. πŸ™ I’m remembering Romans 8:28, though! Great verse!

  • Ditto on Ron Paul! Alex and Brett have made it clear before that “The Rebelution” does not endorse a canidate (they can’t, it being a non-profit something-a-rather.) As far as I know, theypersonally support Huckabee. I’m all for Ron Paul myself.

    We are getting off topic though…

  • Kirsten, Andie, and Amanda:

    This is amazing. There is more interest in Herbalism than I would have thought. Christian Herbalist Yahoo Group, anyone??? πŸ˜‰

  • Cool! It’s great that the Rebelution is spreading! I’ve been reading “Do Hard Things” and I just want to let you know, it’s great!

  • That was soo good!:) I’m in the middle of reading the book and now after listening to the interview I’ll be very appreciatative of every comma…or the lack of :p

    I also just want to say a BIG thank you, as because of your book, our teens and youth group are becoming a lot more closer!
    We have started discussing the book and why this idea is soo important in this season of our life. We’re all super excited to get stuck in!lol

    I had hoped you guys would go there as I thought it would be the best preparation you could get for government work from a Gospel centered perspective. This speaking from the growth I’ve been able to watch in my sister as she’s attended the collage for the last four years(she graduates in December). BTW you really should give the monthly local contra dances a try.
    Great Interview, although I must admit I missed the part when she mentioned which of you is older. I heard the PHC not the age, so which one is older?

  • Ha ha,
    I had a hunch that Alex was older. Brett just seemed more mischievous! Sticking a screwdriver into a electrical box (or what was it exactly?), being afraid of showers, and the like. I was curious, why doesn’t Brett have an account of the forum? Do you guys just share Alex’s or what? I was just curious. Can’t wait till the Minneapolis conference!
    In Christ,

  • Great interview guys. It’s awesome to see this movement spreading so rapidly. I heard about the over a month ago and was eager to become a member. However, every time I click on “Apply for Membership” I am greeted with ATTENTION: Come back in a few weeks. How much longer must I wait? God bless…

    In Christ alone,


  • Miranda that’s an awsome idea! I’m sure my friend would love to join if you made one. I would too for that matter, I’m growing some Chamomile and Peppermint, and would like some Christian ideas and advice, but I don’t want to fill The Rebelution with comments about herbs. I always thought herbalisim was a creepy new age/witch-craft type thing, but it’s not. The Bible talks about herbs (in a good way) in Genisis 3 I think, and what higher authority do we need than that?

    P.S. I could help you start a group, I’ve made a few before.

  • Wow! I love the book and ya’ll did a great job! I think what ya’ll did with that book backs up alot of teens and their efforts to be more and it can help us be better witnesses (through our lives) to those around us what it looks like to DO HARD THINGS! I love it when it said that we need to be known for what we DO, rather than what we dont do! How true! (Matthew 5:16)
    (this may be the wrong place for a comment about the book, but I am not to good with this blog thing yet! haha!)
    Tiffany M. M.

  • That was a great interview and very encouraging. Public speaking is something I need to get over. πŸ™‚ Another hard thing to do! Will be praying.

    Your sister in Christ,

  • Sticking a screwdriver in an electric box?? Sounds like something my brothers would do. =P πŸ™‚

  • Wow guys!! What a blessing to speak on secular radio and share your message with a whole new group of people! Way to be bold about your faith in Christ! While I was listening to you guys speak at your conference in NC, it did cross my mind that at least one of you needs to include being president in your future. πŸ˜› I will be the first to sign up to campaign for you!

  • Your interview was excellent! I’m glad that The Rebelution is spreading. I hope to do my part in spreading it, I just linked to The Rebelution website; is that OK? If not please let me know!
    In Christ, Ahlaischa

  • How was Spirit West Coast? I wish I could have come but its a bit of a ways to drive lol. I’m going to the WHO convention next month though, is Noble or Household of Faith gonna be there do you know?

  • Grace C: Alex is older.

    It’s so cool to see such a good thing spreading. God really helps get His message out, doesn’t He? πŸ™‚

  • Hey.. was Skillet at Spirit West Coast? I think they were maybe. Did you get to see them? That would be awesome! I wanted to go to Spirit West Coast. It’s only like.. 20 hours away. πŸ˜‰

  • I just have to say, that interview was awesome!!! You both represented the rebelutionaries very well! The rebelution is really spreading! I just read Do Hard Things, and I’m going to tell my friends about it, and then re-read it. It was a great book to read right as summer is starting because that is the time when I get lazy. I’m also planning on re-reading The Barbarian Way. Have any of you read it? It’s pretty awesome, and goes along the same lines as Do Hard Things. You should check it out. πŸ™‚

  • Thanks Meshaay!
    And sticking a screwdriver in the electric box is not necessarily a mark of immaturity, it could be curiosity and a burning desire to see what would happen if you do or what is in there. This from the vast experience of a girl who plugged a set of needle nosed pliers into an outlet when I was nine. The good news was that the pliers had rubber handles, the bad news was that I shorted out all the electricity in the house and my mother hadn’t saved her computer game for about an hour. Anyway all this to say immaturity is not necessarily the only thing marked by seemingly (and actually) dumb actions.
    Although I must say this is the first time I’ve heard of someone else doing something like that πŸ˜‰

  • Does anyone know how David Boskovic is doing? He comes to mind every time I come to this site (which is often) and I say a prayer for him. I hope his recovery is going smoothly with minimal pain.

    My older brother went to Patrick Henry a year or two ago for a debate camp and thought about furthering his education there, but decided against it. It does not surprise me in the least that Alex and Brett would choose PH. πŸ™‚

    God Bless!

    If you don’t mind, I might come over and join you and the other “herbalists” on your blog. πŸ™‚

  • Hey guys, this is completely off topic. But I was wondering if you could pray for me. I caught a bad cold at New Attitude and (since my collage runs on quarters) I have my finals next week. I’m struggling rather badly in faith (and consequently emotionally) because the cold is accompanied by severe fatigue and I have a LOT to do before finals next week. Anyway do hard things is just cleaning up after myself(i.e. take something out you put it back etc), homework is currently a very hard thing.
    SO prayers for better health and firmer trust in God to provide would be VERY MUCH appreciated, Grace

  • Hey, great interview! I have been encouraged greatly by your social rebelious idea/views. I pray that the Lord will continue to help you all as you continue to serve Him through your work.

  • Alex and Brett,

    Great interview! Thanks for leading the example on “do hard things”- big or small πŸ™‚
    It was neat to hear you guys at Spirit West Coast!

    God Bless

  • Grace C.:
    I don’t know if, when you asked for prayer, you were addressing Alex and Brett or everybody else, too, but I’ll be praying for you. πŸ™‚ I’m also going through some faith-growing times– I trust God that that’s what they are, even though to me it just feels dry and hard.
    1 Peter 1:3-9 is a really encouraging passage, a reminder that our faith is being refined, tested, made genuine through struggles and hard times. Both the letters of Peter are so full of hope!. I’ve always found them great to read when I’m discouraged and worn out.
    May “…the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, … restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”


  • Wow! This is great! And I always had an inkling Alex was older:)

    Grace C. I will definitely be praying for you.God IS faithful and He WILL see you thru’.

  • Grace C.,
    I’ll be praying for you. Being sick with alot to do is not any fun… I know. May God strengthen you as you go through this time.
    God Bless!

  • Hey guys…just now got took the chance to listen to this. What an excellent interview! It’s so much fun to hear you on NPR! I loved the different questions she chose to ask. (And your responses, of course.) Prayers & Blessings! πŸ™‚

  • Your interview on NPR was one of the most articulate interviews I’ve heard. Well done guys!
    I am praying for you both and the Denver conference.

  • I just came from the Rebelution conference in Denver, CO,and I just had a question for you guys. I’m a 13 year old and God just seems not to be doing any thing in my life. Does that mean that my life does not have much purpose?

    Okay i just listened to your interview, i think that you guys did great, thanks for defending the faith in that one question. Blessings in everything I’m Praying for you both.

  • Grace C: I know what you mean, I have a friend in college right now, and her faith is

    tested every day, sometimes it would be easier to just give in. But this is part of Doing

    Hard Things!…it takes great strength to do something hard, and if you ask God

    for help, He\’ll bring you through. He doesn\’t give us any more than He knows we can

    handle!;) Every time I hear somebody say that, it makes me smile, because you know

    He\’s taking care of you:)! One passage that has always helped me is Psalm 4:9, \”In

    peace I shall both lie down and sleep, for You alone Lord, make me secure.\” It reminds

    me that God is in control, and I don\’t need to constantly worry or stress, because, He\’s

    got everything under control:) Of course I\’ll be praying for you!:)

    your sister in Christ!,

  • That was such a great interview. In went along with what you guys said in your book very well. What an amazing oppotunity to share the gospel (!), and on a secular radio station too!

  • Alex: Very good job. I especially liked your first few sentences. It really set the tone for the talk.

    Brett: Great! You sounded relaxed and smart.

    God Bless you!

  • Rachel,
    I read your post and wanted to give you some encouragement…

    Sometimes God works behind the scenes in our lives even when we think nothing is happening….
    if we keep obeying God (Jesus) and trusting him he will direct our steps…. sometimes that means viewing the little hard things as his will for us too

    Dont be afraid if you haven’t gotten the opportunity to do the big hard things…at nineteen if I compared myself to all the big things others have done I would feel pretty bad, and yet there is no comparing to be done…God has a different plan for each of us

    You are very important and very loved by Him
    Jeremiah 29:11

    I hope this encourages you πŸ™‚
    your sister in Christ,

  • Nicole: I don’t know if you will see this, but here are my thoughts about politics. I agree that politics are a rather messy area and sin there is more obvious than in some other professions. I think this election in particular will prove very difficult for Christians. I also know that there is no action or profession that is not tainted with our sin, whether it is visible or not. So there will never be a candidate that we can fully support on every issue. However, such huge issues are at stake in elections (abortion, marriage, immigration, defense of our country) and our silence there could end up doing more damage than help. We are blessed to be able to vote and not just live with the laws of a cruel dictator as so many people do. As Christians we also have the knowledge that God puts people in power and removes them, we need have no fear! For this reason, I vote for the “lesser evil” on the most important issues and pray that God puts His ruler in place to bring whatever peace or tribulation will best serve His purposes and bring Him glory in our country, world, and universe. I do know that there are some people who do not vote in particular elections or any elections, these are just my thoughts.

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rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectationsβ€”a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More β†’