rebelling against low expectations

Do Hard Things in Other Cultures


We first read the book The World Is Flat by Thomas Friedman back in 2005. In it he contrasts studious, hard-working young people in countries like China and India with complacent American teens. It was one of the things that inspired us to start the Rebelution — “a teenage rebellion against low expectations.”

When we hosted a Rebelution conference in Tokyo in 2007, we had to ask the question: Does this message really translate to an Asian culture? Are there low expectations in a country that trounces America in math and science?

We decided there were — if not academically, then socially (and certainly spiritually). The response confirmed that. One young man came up to us afterward, tears in his eyes, and in broken English said, “What you said…” and pointed to his heart.

We were reminded of this a few days ago, when we got an email from a girl in China. She had read an article about us and Do Hard Things in a Taiwanese magazine:

Hi. I’m a Chinese girl at the age of 15. I’ve read an article about you and “do hard things” from an magazine. It said that you found that teens in countries like China and India were accomplishing far more than those in the US.

But in China, we always think that the education system makes the students’ imagination less powerful, and not do well in Practical ability (forgive my poor English, i don’t know how to translate that into English).

Many teens just do math or physics homework to get a high mark. But when they graduate from high school or college, they can do nothing except homework. We call them “high scores and low abilities.”

Clearly expectations for teens in China are very different, but still low. “High” expectations that only value test scores and academic achievement are just another perversion of the true purpose and God-given potential of the teen years.

A Question for Discussion…

So here is the question: How does the message of the Rebelution uniquely apply in a country like China? How about the Philippines? South Africa? Brazil? The UK?

For rebelutionaries in those (or any other) countries, what do low expectations look like in your country? What are some unique ways that low (or high) expectations for teens manifest themselves where you live? What is your personal experience?

For those of us in America, how do low expectations look different for us? What are some unique low expectations in our church or circle of friends? For those in public school, private school, home school? What about college (secular or Christian)?

Rebelling against low expectations is not a simple, generic formula. It requires wisdom and discernment. Let’s share with one another — and help one another — as we seek to do hard things right where God has placed us.

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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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  • I’m from South Africa:) One of the things I have noticed about the high/low expectations here is that we as young people are expected to get good marks at school/university, we are expected to become financially independent as soon as possible etc. We are not expected to stay sober over weekends or abstain from sexual relations before marriage etc. Basically, what I am trying to say is there seem to be no high expectations as far as morals or living a pure life are concerned, the high expectations are concentrated in the wrong areas and are lacking in the wrong areas. Surely there is a balance!
    I praise God though, for many of the true believers here who seem to be getting closer and closer to that balance in expectations and who encourage our generation in this.

  • When I went to The Honor Academy in Jan of 2008 (also where I heard about The Rebelution), I didn’t realize how much I would grow in just a 4 month period. I had to leave early for personal reasons. After the HA, that fall I started attending my local community college and I was saddened by all my fellow complacent Christians. I think a main reason that my friends were so nonchalant was that no one held them accountable.

    At the HA, we had this rule that everyone was to keep each other accountable. If you saw an intern breaking a rule or not using good judgment, then we were pretty much obligated to confront them. I remember one day I got confronted 3 times in a row. At first I was mad and thinking,” Why don’t they mind their own business!” In the end, all the rules that I had at the HA have helped me so much in living a godly lifestyle. I realized that if a Christian doesn’t have any accountability then it’s going to be so much harder for them to grow. The Lord chastens those he loves.

  • Oh my goodness, I seriously told someone that I thought that you guys might have been kidnapped or something. 😉
    As to your questions, I don’t rightly know how to answer that right now. I’ll have to think about it and then answer. Either way, I’m glad ya’ll are back!!! 🙂
    ~Kay Morris♫
    BTW, how long does it take now for Forum applications to be approved or denied? I’m dying to know. So is a friend of mine.

  • I have never thought about that before, the difference between teens in different countries…

    We all have things unique, or different from others. For example, we all have different ideas of “hard,” we have different levels of ability, we all have different levels of self-discipline, etc.

    Yet, we all have things in common. For example, we have a passion for doing hard things for the glory of God, they might be different levels of passion, but we see the purpose and need to do them. We are teens (most of us :P). Etc.

    Just my thoughts. 🙂

    I am praying for you, Alex and Brett! I can’t wait to read your new book! God bless!

    In Christ,
    Morgan 😀

  • Forgive me if I am stepping in at the wrong place. I am not familiar with the “art” of blogging. I am in my 60’s and still in the E-mail stage of Internet use.

    I read your book, Do Hard Things and helped take a few “teens” to your DC conference.

    I found your book a great eye opener on what the world thinks about “teens.” I had felt lost as a teenager many years ago since I never felt I fit in with what was “expected” of a teen and that has affected me ever since.

    My wife and I are raising our granddaughters and I hope to be a better father to them by giving them more respect and allowing them to breath life deeper so they can live for God and themselves rather than for me.

    Our church youth group leaders, I feel, should be a little more serious in the way they expect the teens to act and interact with each other and with adults and not emphasize so much the fun time of their meetings but rather God’s Love and Wishes for them. Don’t misunderstand me. Fun times are needed but not at the expense of respect for one another.

    Thanks for all you have done and are doing.

  • Hi,
    I am 19 almost 20 and I think its very interesting how low expectations can be found all over the world…i thought it was only a problem here in America. Tho their low expectations don’t look the same, Satan still tries to place chains on the youth of the world, its just different from culture to culture.

    And as far as our expectations in our Churches ….alot of times growing up in the youth group i didn’t think there really were any, but that’s the problem. we are expected to just be good little Christians and show up on Sundays and Wednesdays and simply “BEHAVE” as long as we do that we are “on the right track”. And I’m finding out that that’s the same LOW expectation for college students as well. We aren’t really expected to do anything until we have our degree…its only THEN does the church expect us to serve God. But we are supposed to do that EVERY DAY of our lives. just like you guys talk about in your book. History shows that it was the young people who changed the world!

  • I used to live in a North African country for quite a while, I can tell you, it’s full of low expectations. Most of them apply to the people in general. Achievement consists of high wages, a beautiful wife (preferably foreign) and a house. Emigrating to America is just as good, in their eyes. Partly because freedom is limited, no one has any ambitions to change things politically or nationally. I saw one demonstration there, it was for the Palestinian cause, while Arab, not anything that really requires change in the national system. It’s rare to see people caring about issues even as basic as clean streets.
    Coming to study here in the UK has been a big change. On the positive side, youth (at uni) are active and are willing to campaign for change. Pro-life, labour, conservative, green, gay rights, anti-war, it’s all here. Student-made media is big, and there are lots of student-led societies, frivolous and serious. On the negative, you’re expected to get drunk and to have sex. And university’s only explicit goal is a good career. These are my first impressions.

  • haha, Kay, that’s funny 🙂 Yeah, how long does it take for applications to the Forum to be approved or denied? I have been waiting for about a month for confirmation or denial.

    Anyway, I think that in a country like China, DHT might mean getting high grades in order to have something to do besides homework after school is done. This may be having to get a job that challenges you to learn something new.

  • I have found for me that it is so much easier in America to compromise in “the little things” versus the big things. It is so easy to watch that movie, read that book, listen to that music etc etc…
    I think that as christians we are called to live a SET-APART life for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and sometimes that means something as seemingly small (and foolish to many) as getting up and walking out when His precious Holy Name is blasphemed in a movie. We are called to me different but I think that it is so easy to be comfortable…to be lukewarm…
    Hope that made sense 🙂

  • Here in Canada, specifically where I live, the low expectations of teens are overwhelming!
    Teens around here are not expected to do anything. Most of their time is spent on the computer, or roaming the streets being arrested. Here we have a huge crime/drug rate, and 80% of all that, is caused by teens. The expectations of them are so low, that there is basically nothing expected of them. Honestly, I’m scared just living around such teens as those.

    It makes it hard for me because, people expect me to be the same way as all those other teens. When people find out I’m 18, never dated, I have 2 full time jobs and I am in charge helping my mother keep the house running along with helping to home school my little sisters.

    I’m constantly approached, even by my family, asking things such as “Why don’t you have a boyfriend, you should do this, or that and say this or that, or try a dating site!” because around here, all the teens are expected to have a boyfriend or girlfriend by the time they are like, 14!

    It’s crazy the low expectations they have in my area, but honestly, I am proud to be one of the few to go against the grain!

    You sister in Christ

  • Kay and Katelyn, it depends on how busy the moderators are. Usually they give you an answer within two weeks. But if you’ve been waiting about a month, that probably means they are extremely busy! Just be patient, they will get to you as soon as they can! 🙂

    Alex and Brett,

    Is there anything that we rebelutionaries can do to help you both with the book? I submitted ideas in the begining, I did the “100 hard things” on Twitter, and I pray for you both everyday… but is there anything else I can do? Whatever you need I’d be more than happy to do!

    Sarah 😀

  • Okay, I think I know what I am trying to say here. My poor little brain has taken about as much as it can today. I can’t even begin to describe the headache I have had yesterday and today. I may not make much sense, but I’ll try.
    I think that the message of the Rebelution would apply to a country like China (going by what this girl said) more in putting purpose into what they do. Instead of getting high grades because it is what is expected, do it because you want to learn and glorify God with what you are learning. Learn something that you can use after school. For us, we have a hard time DOING the hard things, but then, when we do, we generally have a purpose. They do the hard things, they just have no purpose in doing them and it negates what they did. So, in my opinion (and PLEASE tell me if I’m wrong, I’m terribly confused today), do hard things would mean putting purpose into their efforts. I hope I’m making sense. Tell me if I’m not.
    I was in public school for a little while before being homeschooled, and I know that one of the low expectations in school is grades. At least in my school. I always worked for A’s and B’s, and usually got them, but the other kids in my class didn’t care. I went into to public school in fourth grade and they tested my reading level and it was an eighth grade reading level. The teachers were astonished that a ten year old could read on that level. My mom (who schooled me before that) didn’t seem to think so. She encouraged reading and I loved to read. In fifth I had moved to a ninth grade level. People don’t expect kids to like reading classics anymore, and most kids don’t.
    In some churches homeschooling, modest dressing, courtship and betrothal, and conservative values are all gone, or rarely seen. It’s quite surprising to others when they see it. It’s so sad to me (and annoying, I might add) that a lot of people think I’m crazy because I’m going to be a stay at home mom when I get married. They think it isn’t possible anymore for a woman to stay at home and let her husband do the providing. It’s so wrong, too. Girls don’t have to have jobs to be ‘successful’ in life. Every time I win a battle against my flesh, I can know I am living a ‘successful’ life. Every time I do what God asks me to do, then I know that I’ve just had another success. That’s a low expectation, right there. Thinking that women are not capable to care for their own children.
    Anyway, I’m just rambling on and on, I know. Like I said my brain is exhausted. Please, tell me if anyone disagrees with what I’ve said and why. I need to know, right now, if I’m on the right track. I can take criticism. Seriously. Hope ya’ll have a great day! I’ll pray for you!
    ~Kay Morris♫

  • Thanks, Sarah Pena, I’ll try and be patient.
    Also, Alex and Brett, I echo what she said. I’d be glad to help, too.
    ~Kay Morris.
    P.S. Sorry my last comment was so long. Now it has to be moderated. 🙂

  • Even as we combat low expectations pertaining to academic or behavioral areas of our lives I think spiritual complacency is one of our most formidable enemies. We may appear outwardly dedicated to our faith, and many of our actions may hold “religious” overtones. We might attend church every Sunday morning and invite our friends to youth group on Friday night, but we can’t let that be our spiritual “fill up” for the week. It’s easy to appear as a zealous follower of Christ to those around us, but do we constantly, truly seek God’s presence in our lives? There is an incredible movement that has begun at a local church in our area and seems to be spreading rapidly. It’s called ‘not a fan.’ It challenges us as individuals not to live as fans of Jesus, but to have a constant personal relationship with Him; to be completely committed followers. Check it out at:

  • I am having diffrent expectations of me on one hand I have high expectations but they’re to much for me to handle and on the other hand I have high excpectations by my peers but the wrong ones. How does the Rebelution apply to me?

  • I think America has way too low expectations for Christian teenagers. They expect us not to care abou God.It is so hard to rebel and go against these expectations. We just have to keep Jesus and His command to go into all the world and preach the Gospel number one in our lives.
    I went to the conference in DC and it was great. The music was great and it was an awesome experience to worship with so many people. Brett and Alex: your message was great and so encouraging.I will pray for you and the Rebelution. I was amazed that people from so many far away countries came! God is using you guys in awesome ways. May He use us all for His glory, because that is why we were created!
    Isaiah 55:8-9
    For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways,and My thoughts than your thoughts.

  • That was my first comment! I’m a twin too!
    1 Peter 2:9
    But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.

  • Hey!!!!! This is exactly what my family and I talked about with the 2 South Korean exchange students that we hosted in our home. Being pushed academically is nothing really hard, or at least different for the students on the other side of the world.

  • This is excellent – I was touched by the letter from the Chinese girl. Despite her alleged English troubles, I felt that she articulated her difficulties better than I could.

    You mentioned low expectations in the arena of homeschooling – I am home schooled and I’ve certainly dealt with that. Many times when I’ve mentioned the fact I’ve been met with the response, “That must mean that you get to sleep in every morning and wear your pajamas all day!”

    I believe that the best way to battle ignorant assumptions like this is to maintain a high level of personal responsibility. This applies to everything from personal schedule to appearance, academics and my walk with God. I hope that this will be the best testimony to people who don’t know a lot about homeschooling.

  • I was just talking to a dear girl that I mentor about rebelutionaries in other countries. I asked her what she believed other teens from other countries struggle with, and I am really glad that you guys posted these questions! We both understand that low expectations havent been placed merely on American teenagers (although I do believe that our low expectations are extremely severe due to the wealth and the consumerism that is unique to our culture) but instead is a global pandemic. I am interested to read about what teens around the world are dealing with.

    In the area of America where I live (outside of Detroit, Michigan) the low expectations are sickening! Especially for Christian teens. “Christian” teens are not expected to excel spiritually and are not expected to stand up for any of their “Christian” beliefs. Teens that call themselves Christians are not expected to look any different than a teen who denies Christ. The lack of expectations for Christian teenagers are repulsive. A few months ago I had the youth pastor of my church read Do Hard Things and he loved it – he actually gave copy to all the graduates this year. Through much prayer and the Holy Spirit I hope that the Metro-Detroit area (as well as the world) will have a teenager rebellion!

    I stated earlier that I believe that America’s low expectations are extremely severe due to the wealth and the consumerism that is unique to our culture. I dont mean to lessen the severity of low expectations in anyplace of the world. Instead, I mean to say that that the low expectations in America are greatly different than that a third world country. Teenagers in America are taught from a young age that the world revolves around them and everything should be self serving where young people from a third world country are taught how to survive. Teenagers in a third world country have different low expectations that are unique to their own country. Just wanted to clear that up incase anyone misunderstood.

    I would also like to echo what a few people have said before – if you need help with anything for the book, please let me know. I would love to help in any way. I will continue to pray for you two.

  • I was just talking to a dear girl that I mentor about rebelutionaries in other countries. I asked her what she believed other teens from other countries struggle with, and I am really glad that you guys posted these questions! We both understand that low expectations havent been placed merely on American teenagers (although I do believe that our low expectations are extremely severe due to the wealth and the consumerism that is unique to our culture) but instead is a global pandemic. I am interested to read about what teens around the world are dealing with.

    In the area of America where I live (outside of Detroit, Michigan) the low expectations are sickening! Especially for Christian teens. “Christian” teens are not expected to excel spiritually and are not expected to stand up for any of their “Christian” beliefs. Teens that call themselves Christians are not expected to look any different than a teen who denies Christ. The lack of expectations for Christian teenagers are repulsive. A few months ago I had the youth pastor of my church read Do Hard Things and he loved it – he actually gave copy to all the graduates this year. Through much prayer and the Holy Spirit I hope that the Metro-Detroit area (as well as the world) will have a teenager rebellion!

    I stated earlier that I believe that America’s low expectations are extremely severe due to the wealth and the consumerism that is unique to our culture. I dont mean to lessen the severity of low expectations in anyplace of the world. Instead, I mean to say that that the low expectations in America are greatly different than that a third world country. Teenagers in America are taught from a young age that the world revolves around them and everything should be self serving where young people from a third world country are taught how to survive. Teenagers in a third world country have different low expectations that are unique to their own country. Just wanted to clear that up incase anyone misunderstood.

    I would also like to echo what a few people have said before – if you need help with anything for the book, please let me know. I would love to help in any way. I will continue to pray for you two.

  • My heart feels like it’s being peirced deeper and deeper everyday because of what I see, hear, and what i do not see,what I do not hear, and what I do not know yet. He’s real – more real than we could ever imagine, hope for, dream of, speak of in any earthly form. It’s time to take God seriously. It’s time to know love in all his glory, and fullness.

  • Wow, my mom and I were just talking about this topic the other day! We were talking about the low expectations parents in our church put on their kids and teens. Most younger parents in our church have a give-up kind of mentality with their teens. They expect their children to misbehave and disrespect authority because they’re teenagers and it’s what they do. The expectations are low for teens in my church for sure. My Dad [the pastor of our church] has recommended “Do Hard Things” to several families in our church and they are reading it! I’m not sure yet what they think of it, but I hope it changes their perspectives as it has changed my family’s.

  • Thanks for the update guys. I am glad no big hole ate you up.
    As regards your question. I think the expectations of the other countries students should be to have the same fire for Christ and to do his work no matter how many math problems they can do. Like the girl said, ” high grades low abilities” they teach them a bunch of stuff but often times forget to tell them what to use it for, or to maybe use their own thinking ability instead of memorizing everything they are told. The socializing of the academic realm has been an absolute disaster and has lead to neglect in the spiritual realm.
    As you may have guessed I am home schooled, I do not claim any superiority in matters academic or spiritual. I would just say that growing up being home schooled is one of the greatest blessings. I had to take a drivers ed. class at the public school and I must say what I saw did not impress me and I was glad to get it over with. In an environment where Christ is excluded and learning is forced and boring. People in America as well as in other countries need support and something to set them on fire, otherwise they learn it and do not know what to use it for, or they use it just to get the things of the world and end up unhappy and broken. Let Christ be the match to light them on fire and they will burn so the whole world will see. Show how they can use there knowledge to serve the Lord who gave them a brain.

    In Christ who gave me a brain.


  • I’ve been taking some dual-enrollment classes from our local Community College and have been surprised how easy it is to get an “A” in all of the classes. It seems low expectations are present everywhere… Keep up the Work!

  • I really enjoy reading your posts. Thanks for the challenge to figure out was low expectations are given to us, personally. It’s making me think.

  • I’m Archie from the Philippines. Academic expectations also applies here. Our value is based on our academic standing. My parents want me to graduate on time because that is what i am suppose to accomplish/attain. If ever i do something extracurricular, that’s okay but focus on your academics.

    I’m not against that. Actually, I agree to that principle of finishing college and have a good educational background. But there are young people who can attain more alongside academics or without academics. The expectations on us should not be based solely on our academic achievement but also to our extracurricular contributions.

    Add to that, a teen with poor educational background is expected to be just by-standers of the community. They are expected to do the “dirty jobs.” They were not given a chance to prove that “hey aside from academics, we can also excel in some areas!” Once a teenager dropped out of school, people expect nothing high from him/her.

    I’m studying right now. My parent have high expectations from me-on my academic aspect. Their expectations on my leadership capabilities are negligible.

  • One thing I think is sad is how teenagers are seemingly incapable of having a deep, meaningful conversation, with both fellow teenagers and adults. I feel it is important for me to be able to hold a conversation with both adults and my peers well – and not about ‘nothings’ as a teenager but about something somewhat significant as an active, thinking, human being.

    I live in Australia, and although it isn’t America, it really isn’t that much further behind America as far as the teenage standard goes. It is so sad that teenagers choose to slack off instead of embracing the responsibilities that produce amazing fruit, possibilities and opportunities. However, it depends on how the parents raise the children and what mindset they are given. If a child grows up doing jobs around the house, being encouraged to have a good work and study ethic, and are raised in the mindset that there is so much more out there than what the teenage image offers, they [i]will[/i] be different teens.

    The funny thing is that although people ‘willingly’ accept the low expectation on teenagers, they are impressed and delighted when they find youth who are respectful and responsible.

  • I live in South Africa. I find that because South Africa is such a multi-cultural country, low expectations are different in each cultural group. I can only really speak for my own cultural groups.

    I had the priviledge of attending a small private Christian primary school which was started by my parents. There, there were high academic and behavioural expectations. In fact, we prided ourselves on being better behaved than the local goverment schools.

    However, I find that in general, although South Africa is considered to be a mostly “Christian” country, people (and not only teenagers) are not expected to live up to their Christian profession of faith.

    I now go to an Afrikaans government school and (Note: this is a generalisation) mostly, teenagers are expected to be confirmed into the church at a certain age. Church membership has unfortunately become a cultural tradition.

    In my opinion, low expectations within the church become translated to low social expectations.

    Regarding academic expectations, it very much depends upon one’s upbringing. Some people are obviously expected to do well at school and others couldn’t care less. The majority of the students are (in my humble opinion) underachieving. Our new curriculum is easier than the older one, yet, the majority of students are not achieving to their full potential – and on the whole, that’s considered okay. As long as you get your 70’s or 60’s or whatever your parents expect, then everything is hunky-dory and you can carry on socialising, partying, playing computer games etc.

    Our school does expect all school leavers to pass matric (last year of school), so that the school’s tradition of having a 100% pass rate for the past however many years is not broken.

    Teenagers are not expected to do hard things. Normal teenagers (in my area) are expected to pass school with university acceptance, and further they should party, get a boyfirend/girlfriend and enjoy this fleeting time of their lives. Usefulness – what’s that?

  • Oh, and I also spent 3 months in Germany as an exchange student a couple of years ago.

    In South Africa we still have some moral “traditions.” However, I found that in Germany these were not present. Most of my classmates treated the subject of sex extremely casually. I got the impression that most of them had already had sexual intercourse. One couple were “engaged.” And this in a class of 16 and 17 year olds!

    Drunken parties were accepted as being a normal part of teenagerhood. My host father even ENCOURAGED me to attend a disco which had an age limit of 18 years. At the time I was sixteen.

    Although parties like this also happen in South Africa, I am under the impression that most teenagers only begin to party like this in the later teen years. And our school does its best to discourage the teens from attending parties like this.

    Church attendance was almost non-existant. Most of the Germans regarded church membership and confirmation as a cultural tradition. Most only attend church at Christmas and Easter. Teenagers that wish to be confirmed into the church are expected to attend church at least once a month though!

    So, once again, I humbly draw the conclusion that low expectations within the church lead to low social expectations. We need to pray for our churches. All of them.

  • We have been living in urban China for about 4 years total now and were excited to see this post. As homeschooled teens interested in education, we have thought on this issue before and have often discussed the differences between Chinese and American school systems.

    The following comments are based on our interactions witha few locals and discussions with various people involved in education. We also briefly attended Chinese school when we were younger.

    Chinese do strongly emphasize academic excellence for their kids. A common motivation for this is for their children to get good grades which lead to a good school and hence a better paying job (sometimes to support the family). Also the academic requirements are quite demanding and also focused on memorisation and not an interest in the real world or creative thinking.
    Hard things for Chinese teens would mean prioritising other things besides good grades at school …
    – To honour their parents, not just by striving for good grades as most of them do, but in their whole attitude and conduct.
    -To take interest in serving others especially classmates- befriending those no one else cares for, helping classmates with schoolwork…
    -To inspire themselves and others with a love of learning for interests sake and take joy in their studies.
    -To work on social maturity in interactions with others, steering conversations towards deeper topics.
    -To use their great academic achievement and other talents for the benefit of others and HIS glory.
    -To raise the standards on issues like work ethics, honesty and the value of life.

    These are just some of things which could be worked on here especially considering the pressurised school system. It would not be easy to be a rebelutionary in such a situation, but then doing hard things is never easy!

    This is a big issue and we have many more thoughts about it! We hope to discuss it more with our Chinese friends who have more expertise in this area. Hopefully these insights are helpful to the discussion here.

  • Here in the UK, the expectations are terrible.
    Over the last few years there have been several stories on the news concerning youth comitting knife and gun crimes.
    We also have the highest teenage pregnancy rate in Europe.
    When I was in year 7 (12/13 year olds), some teens in my year got caught taking beer to a party arranged by the school.
    I think it’s really sad and shocking that stuff like this happens and it’s also really sad that teens appear in the news so much more often now. People aren’t so shocked any more when teens appear on the news for attacking or killing people or for drug offences etc. It’s almost expected.

  • I live in the US, but I’m pretty sure, that doing hard things is different for people in public schools and private schools. I go to a private Christian school, and even though it may be different then public school, it is still very hard to REALLY talk about God. You see in a Christian school, Bible is a subject in class, and taking prayer requests and/or just praying for each other is just part of school. It’s not something we choose to do, it’s something that we’ve become so used to, we forget how big God actually is.

  • whoops! I didn’t finish my first comment! so it’s like God has become smaller because we’ve gotten so used to him being such a tiny part of everyday. And also in my school there’s lots of little rules, so if you obey them ALL your not cool. And if you REALLY talk about God, your not cool either.

  • i go to a public middle school where high expectations are served daily so id like to think we dont have as many low expectations but we do. in algebra1 we are expected to do the work, get the work, and if we dont our teacher makes us stay with her during free period. According to my friends in math 8 if they dont understand something the teacher gives them extra practice homework or she tells them to read back over it. thats one of the weird academic expectations. just this week we had a bomb threat in the 8th grade boys bathroom so now all the bathrooms are monitered by an adult which means now the hallways aren’t monitered. that meant that 3 fights broke out on my hall on the same day which was the day after the threat. i look at it this way. they want to moniter the bathrooms because thats where the threat was but that meant we were free to do what we like in the hall. it was almost like they expected every kid that had to use the bathroom also was planning to do something bad.last thing…on wednesdays we have sustained silent reading(SSR) time. my friend was reading her bible so she could caught up for sunday school since she wasnt there. the teacher told her to give the book to her and get it back at the end of the day. when my friend asked why it was being taken away my teacher told her that it might offend someone. my teacher was reading a version of the quoran.

  • I’m a Taiwan’s student aging 18-19 in The Affliated Senior High School Of National Taiwan Normal University. Recently,I’ve been studying for a examination, College Entrance Examination, on coming January 19 for a month. Owning to this examination, I really learned how to rely on Jesus for every difficlties I faced.

    Since I saw the article about the twins,Alex and Brett,and their bestseller,Do Hard Thi ngs,from the magzine,Studio Classroom, for students, I’ve been deeply moved as if few of energy flow ober from my mind constantly. In the past, I often thought that Taiwan didn’t fit me for my growth in future so that I hated to study very much and usually tended to give up myself. But now, instand of giveing up my studies, I even determined myself to do my biggest efforts on my schoolworks. I think if I study enough, I want to make Massachusetts Institute of Technology as my final goal in my studies.
    In the end, I certainly thank eveything God arranges for me in advance before other thanks. And I heartfelt thank them, Alex and Brett, for their encouragement from the book. My life is now on the path I’ve been hoping.

  • I’m from South Carolina and I’m 14. We are reading “Do Hard Things” in Sunday School. The book has really made me think about what I do and what I don’t do. But it’s mostly made me think about how Alex and Brett wrote this book in their teens. Me, I don’t think I could handle doing that. I need to think about God more and that book has made me realize it. I don’t have a big story that’s breath-taking, all I have is the stories I’ve read and been told about. I’m from a small commumity and I hunt and fish all the time and people wonder why a girl does that. I do it because that’s how God made me and that’s how I intend to stay. God bless.

  • I’m being homeschooled in Texas. and i’ve noticed that the expectation level that some people have for me are a bit higher than alot of my public schooled friends (I hope I’m not offending anybody). But they’re still really low. Im the two homeschool groups that i’ve been in I noticed that the adults there expect more from teenagers, (at least some of them,) but when I volenteer at my church all the adults send me off to sweep the floors or whipe of tables. . . and are suprised that I did a good job! I’ve even volenteered at a booth at a church bazzar and the ladys working it wouldn’t even talk to me! one lady even asked my mom how old my sister was while she was standing right in fromt of her! I’m not completely shure what I want to be saying with this. . . I guess I just want to ask any adults who are reading posts on this site to ask more of teens, some are lazy and don’t do what they are asked, its true. But some will be happy to, and you may even encourage a lounger to help out more and be more porductive.

  • I think the Rebelution applies to all people of all nations of every race and culture. Not of course, to every individual, but it is not subject to one nation. Of course, this is my personal opinion, but I believe, if it is wrong, it is only partially so. I do not attempt to say I know everything, I just base this opinion on contact with other teens of other cultures and nations, and I find the WORLD has low expectations.

  • I know, Kay Morris! I thought they might have been kidnapped too! I do not know how to answer this Q. right now, but I will.
    Kay Morris, my user name on the forums is Sarah Nogueras. I just got on. When you get on, look for me, and send me a pm.

  • I lived in Peru for three months last year, and I served as a leader with the youth at our missionaries’ church. I found that the youth are very similar to the youth I work with here in the States. The struggles remain the same, and the same fight remains to pursue the Lord with all their heart. A lot of the teens in the area were sexually active. Principals and schools were actually open to us coming into the school to share the gospel and about sexual purity, because there is such a problem in the schools. They have not been able to find any hope in rules or in educating them more about it, but they have seen a change when the gospel is heard and people begin to believe. Praise the Lord!
    It was encouraging to see some of the young people lead and take charge in the group–several of the young guys were leading music and also helping lead discussion. They also ministered with younger children and were in charge of teaching at times. So in this sense, I saw higher expectations for the young people at times, as far as working and leading–but this came from the church leadership, not from the culture.

    I do believe one of the lowest expectations is the depth of a young person’s walk with the Lord. I think adults and many young people believe thats something they can only do when they’re older. I see and hear that often–use the teen and college years as a time for “finding yourself”, “enjoy life,” “have fun,” and then settle down later with a family, good career, and get serious about life. God’s Word is for all ages, all races, all cultures. I’m not talking about just being “good” and refrain from certain things, but to really begin loving as the Word says to love. To live with a passion for His glory and a purpose to share the Gospel with classmates and neighbors (I was homeschooled, so I know that homeschoolers may not have classmates to share with, but they certainly have neighbors…most of the time). These things are not above a young person’s level at all. Let’s not put low expectations on the Holy Spirit, on what He can do in people’s lives and hearts– in a twelve year-old or twenty-one year old.

  • the church is not a’s the people in and apart of the service that takes place there on sunday mornings. so when you ask “what are some unique low expectations in our church” i have to assume that your talking about the other 6 days of the week..and some low expectations would be to not act like a total jerk when your not at “church” not cuss when your not at “church” …to do nothing that would disobey, dishonor, or just flat out disrespect God..when not at “church”…maybe i went a little off the direct question..but if church is the people..hey .your in church!!

  • Hi, I’m Nicole. I’m fourteen and I live in the United States. I’m new to all this I guess, there’s no way I would have ever found this website if not for my friend who gave me the book, a door has been opened and I’m ready to explore it. It seems that everyone has their life, their plans, their everything made up, while I sit and watch everything fly by like traffic. I was settled on being just an average teen who got passed highschool with good grades but after reading a little in the book called “Do Hard Things” I’m not so sure. I want to prove people and their expectations of me wrong, and I think this book will help me do that.

  • First of all, I was pretty sure Alex and Brett had been abducted by aliens, and I was scared for a couple minutes! Thanks for getting back to us, guys! We missed you!
    As for the question of “have you noticed low expectations in whatever places?”
    One would probly be my youth group. I did more devotions/scripture memorizing in a little club I went to when I was 10.
    I always try to do my assigned devotions plus some extra Bible reading, and maybe read part of a teen self-help book, and do the memory verse every week. It’s not exactly “required”, and I have to fight to keep my head from getting big. It’s not a God-given talent I have, I’m just breezing through the low expectations.
    This is a good area to look at things like that. Everyone is always impressed when I manage to do my devotions and record it 6-7 days a week, but I do that anyway, and it’s not exactly like I’m going to turn down the impressed compliments, because I secretly enjoy them (I sopose everyone does.)
    But it’s just low expectations. It’s nothing special that I have done, or a special skill I have, it’s just low expectations.
    Thanks, Alex and Brett, for reminding me about low expectations like these!

  • If reading “Do Hard Things” was good and for my edification, imagine reading another book from the twins!!!!!!!!

    Im really looking forward to reading it.

    Many rebelutionaries who have read the book must have thought: “Well yeah, that is true, but what do we do in our country? How can we serve the Kingdom in the place God has placed us?”

    I really hope God uses this new book to His Glory, and that many may be comforted, and given ideas to show the world the joy it is to serve the One and Only God!!!!!!!

    To God be the Glory,

  • I agree with you, Katy, about the small things, the little compromises, sometimes being the hardest things of all, especially here in the US. Sometimes the hardest thing for me is simply to honor my parents, even when aren’t watching and they won’t ever know that I did…
    My great-aunt used to collect poems and quotes in scrapbooks, and after she died I got some of them. This is one of my favorites from one of the scrapbooks.

    TODAY IS HERE. I will start with a smile, and resolve to be agreeable. I will not criticize. I refuse to waste my valuable time.
    Today has one thing in which I know I am equal with others–time. All of us draw the same salary in seconds, minutes, hours…
    Today I will not waste my time, because the minutes I wasted yesterday are as lost as a vanished thought.
    Today I refuse to spend time worrying about what might happen. I am going to spend my time making things happen.

  • whoops…sorry, forgot I can’t use tab…here is the rest of the poem…. 🙂

    Today I am determined to study to improve myself, for tomorrow I may be wanted, and I must not be found lacking.
    Today I am determined to do things I should do. I firmly determine to stop doing the things I should not do.
    Today I begin by doing, and not wasting my time. In one week I will be miles beyond the person I am today.
    Today I will not imagine what I would do if things were different. They are not different. I will make success with what material I have.
    Today I will stop saying, “If I had time,” for I never will “find time” for anything–if I want time I must take it…
    Today I will act toward other people as though this might be my last day on earth. I will not wait for tomorrow. Tomorrow never comes.
    -An inspiration by an unknown author, printed in “The Christian Home”

  • I’m a U.S.A. homeschooler.
    I’m seeing low expectations in a few ways over here. Firstly, through language. Teens are expected to curse every few sentences, and nobody’s supposed to flinch at it. Teens aren’t expected to respect parents, pastors, teachers, government, or much authority at all. It’s practically expected for teens to drink +/or smoke underage, etc. The list goes on. That’s the culture at large.
    Within the homeschooling community, I think it’s easy to do well enough to get by in classes. You’re better at English than Sally, so you don’t put a whole lot of effort into your paper. The teacher gets it, gives you an “Oh, this is wonderful!” and you move on.

    Glad to know the aliens didn’t get you this time. Thanks for the post! I’d never thought about the fact, really, that Rebelutionaries had to fight the same battle on different fields.

  • I live in San Marcos, Texas, and I’m homeschooled and I’m involved with two different Bible-believing churches (because one is still young and does not have their own Awana ministry yet, etc.) and most of the youth at both churches are homeschooled and come from Bible-believing families as well, and in response to what different types of low expectations we encounter I’d say that I receive little to no ‘low expectations’ from adults (I mean, they’re grateful and all) but when you’re a young person in a godly, Christian environment which houses other young men and women who are mature in their faith, actions, words, etc., the expectation is to uphold that standard and even to raise it.

    P.S.-I really liked your first book and your Purpose Driven Death conference in Austin/Round Rock about a year ago.

  • Here’s a story our pastor told this morning at church.

    A young man went to work at a job which required him to wear a suit and tie everyday. He soon became weary with ironing his white shirt, so he decided just to iron the front, skipping the back and the sleeves, because he always wore a jacket and no one ever saw anything but his front.

    After he worked there awhile, the boss called all the employees into the back room. They were going to do some dirty work so he told them all to remove their jackets so they wouldn’t get ruined. The young man realized that if he took off his jacket, his boss would see the wrinkles and know that he only had ironed the front. The boss might think he had a bad work ethic and he might get fired. But alternatively, if he disobeyed his boss he’d definitely get fired. He decided to obey his boss and took off his jacket, if somewhat reluctantly.

    Surprisingly his boss said to him “I noticed from the day you came here that you were a good, hard worker. Now I see that you know how to do the most important things, but let the less important things go.” And the boss promoted the young man.

    Now, the moral of the story wasn’t “Don’t iron all of your shirt”, it was, don’t waste time on the non-important things while neglecting the more important ones. The Church often has their priorities mixed up. With carpet, the style of music, and social functions becoming more important then telling others about Christ. The same problem is true for everything in life. Expectations. Education. Raising children…

    In Christ~
    Jordan Elizabeth

  • I’m 42. I’m a husband of one wife and a father of one son. Used to be a top student in primary/elementary school and an above average student during high school. Unfortunately, I lived an undisciplined life. Right now I’m struggling to finish a first degree in Philosophy Politics and Economics. If only I made the most of my teen age years to do the hard things perhaps I could have been a Ph.D student right now!!! \

    Thanks for your ministry. I wish young people all over the people will do the hard things.

    Thanks Kelsey for that inspiring poem.

  • I live in the UK, and I would say that our situation is quite similar to that of America in terms of low expectations and delayed maturity. However it’s probably worth recognising that many people in the UK have little or no exposure to true Christianity, in the States while people may not be Christian, the influence of Christianity is still felt in many places.

    Among Evangelicals, one of our biggest problems is failure to promote a Christian worldview. Often Christians regard their faith as simply a part of their life rather than working out its implications for all of life.

  • Im Maynard, 15 years old and I live in the Phillipines. I’m a ChristianWell, as for me, your Book was so awesome. It contains a lot of information and it also enhance my vocabulary. As for the Book “Do Hard Things” I’m impressed to you guys.,, 🙂 the way you write the book and the cover.,, 🙂
    Maybe with the help of this book I will not waste my “teen” years and bring praises to our Lord it help me to wake up and show what who I really am
    Thank you guys for helping the young people to wake for that lie.,,
    btw, I’m not finish to read it, hehe., im on the Part 2.
    but really, thank you very much for it.,,
    To GOD be the Glory.,,!!!!!!

    For the Question:
    Here In the Phillipines, or rather in our place, i would say that it is also similar to America,
    some of the youth is way too complicated, you would see young people drinking, smoking, and some other stuff. I would say that they don’t know what they are doing. They wasting their “teen” life in that.

    After reading your book, it awakes me to pursue to evangelize to my friends. I also encourage my other Christian classmate to help me to introduce to our classmate who is Jesus.,,

  • All too often I see behavior among Christians (kids and adults) being accepted and even commended if it is just a better version of the world’s way. Just like Hannah Montana is a “better”,cleaner version of the usual pop star. We are called to be salt and light and fragrance in this world. We are called to do good things (hard things),not just avoid bad things.
    In Christ “all things shall be made new”. Instead of just mindlessly putting a steeple on the world-in other words, attaching Jesus to our already established and approved way of living; I think we should strive towards a higher,fresh,sometimes ridiculed life. A life in which Jesus does not just add significance-He IS the significance. Don’t just try to polish up the world’s habits to make them “Christian”–be creative after God your Creator. Don’t be of the world with a name-tag that says “By the way, I’m a Christain”–instead, be salt and light and fragrance with a tag that says “By the way,I’m in the world.”

    Thanks Harris guys!

  • As a homeschooler, I think that if your test scores (like on the SAT) are higher than the average public schooler’s, you have met the expectation. It doesn’t matter whether or not it happened to be easy for you to get that score, if you were challenged at all, you’ve accomplished your parents’ goals, usually. Just something I’ve noticed…

  • God’s day!
    Hi, i am Aj from the Philippines. And as a Christian I truly believe that standing up for the Word and living it is one of most pretty hard and yet very vital thing christian teens do. especially nowadays, we are being bombarded with with the “western culture” that says and shows things that christian teens do, but sadly i know some that compromise their faith just for the sake of following the trend. But as the Holy Spirit leads us to share the Word boldly i trust God that the time will come that i will witness a born-again country in Asia, To God be all the glory Forever!

  • I live in U.S.A. in Il. forgive me, i dont know how to spell my own states name.
    In my church yesterday, i was told something that made me really sad.
    An older lady said she could tell i really loved GOD. Some time ago after
    i became a christain, and decided i needed to change, i started anwsering calls to pray at the alter. At frist it was kind of scary and really embrassing. But i knew i needed to go. Another thing i started doing was raising my hands when i sang. i didnt do it because i was that much closer to GOD. i did it because some how i felt like GOD, derserved it.
    i dont think i love GOD. i know i need to love GOD if i want to really live, and therefore i want to love GOD. i really, really do. People tell me all the time, prayer, read the BIBLE,
    and worship GOD. So i do but knowing and loving JESUS, is a long road i have hardly begun.

  • One thing I noticed in the public school I attended was that complacency was the norm. And Alex and Brett are right, kids stagnate, so my friends are 14 or 15 now, but act like they’re 9 or 10. I don’t know about other countries, but the American society preaches irresponsibility and immorality. In the words of a boy scout I knew,’I hate to do work somebody else could easily do’.

  • Nice to see you guys blogging again! I was getting worried! =D

    Thanks for bring up an unthought subject….its so true that even though there are so many low expectations in America, we often over look low expectations in other countries. The girl who wrote to you from China was an eye opener and it is so sad the things teens are characterized with or by.

    I think youth groups are a big problem within our body of Christ because instead of being a spiritual building block for teens, it becomes a teenage day care where the “students” are taught for years on beginners level and can do whatever they want to. It seems that even our church body has low expecations for teens at times.

    Thanks so much for sharing and I hope all is well with the new book, school, and the promo video! I can’t wait to see how everything turns out!

    God Bless,


  • Hmmm those are some good questions. And a lot of good answers.

    What I have seen in my church is not that people come right out and say that they do not expect teens to do this or that they do expect them to that ,but instead they just speak poorly about teens in general. That teens are bad drivers, that teens expect everything to be given to them and stuff like that. In this way they set up an expectation for teens and about teens. (Although most likely not on purpose) I try to stand up for those of us that are not like that and ofcourse show them by example that teens can do more then what is expected of them.

  • I think sometimes we find it hard to speak up when others are not glorifying God in their speech. We try to justify ourselves by saying that we didn’t join in so were good, but in all reality we are guilty. The Bible says, “To him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin” (I don’t know the reference but i think its in James). When we know that we should do good (speak up) and we dont do it, we are sinning. This may be just me that finds it hard but i can believe if thats so. God may place on one persons heart something that He does not place on another’s, just like some things in one country may be different that things in ours and therefore harder.

    Harris Twins: I think what you two are doing is really hard but if you had not chosen to do it many teens would not have been changed to live for God! God bless! 🙂

  • I really missed you guys, it was like part of my family had gone missing! 🙁 Glad you’re back! 🙂

    I think that morally low expectations for teens are at an all-time low everywhere. Academically though, it is different for every teen, in every country. I live here in America where academic expectations in the public schools are far from what they should be. That is why I am homeschooled. Some parents homeschool their children because they don’t approve of what is being taught in the public schools or the environment their kids would be in. Nevertheless they hold the same low expectations for the children, academically, as teachers in the public schools do. My parents are very strict about our grades and hold us to a high standard of academic achievement. (I will be graduating at 16 :)) Besides that I am very self-motivated, I enjoy school and have a desire to do well.

    Therefore my observation is that yes, low expectations vary in different spheres of life and in different countries, but they also vary from school to school, family to family, and teen to teen. No one is bound by low expectations, and everyone can choose to fulfill, not the expectations of the world, their parents, or themselves, but the expectations of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

    (I certainly hope that made sense. :wink:)

    [b]To all waiting for forum confirmation.[/b] I am a moderator though I am not in charge of reviewing forum applications. I am sure by what you have written here, and the zeal you show for the Rebelution, that you will get in. I also know that all the moderators are extremely busy as we are working on improving the organization of the forums and getting some new features started up. I look forward to seeing you on the forums in no less than a few weeks! 😀

    [b]Alex & Brett-[/b] I would add my offer to that of Sarah Peña’s (a very good friend of mine). I am doing all I can to promote the Rebelution (i.e. Prayer, Moderating, etc.) because its transformational power means so much to me. Let me know if there is anything else you need. 🙂 You are constantly in my prayers! Thank you so much for your undying perseverance and dedication.

  • In Canada, especially in British Columbia, where I live, expectations are very low. It is expected that teens will smoke pot, drink, do drugs and have improper relationships. If you don’t fight your parents at every turn, and aren’t generally rebellious, people think you’re queer (and if they don’t know your age, they think you’re in your 20’s). Little is expected academically as well. In high school, there are specific ‘dumb people’ classes for every subject, and you can choose to take them instead of the hard ones. Labels such as ADHD are flung around, and put on people that would be just fine if their parents actually disciplined them.

  • I realized several years ago that American churches are full of low expectations. They want their teens to abstain from sex, but they don’t suggest not dating or avoiding bad situations, instead they just teach how to resist the temptation instead of avoiding it. Or music and movies, lots of churchs don’t say anything about. And how many pastors have you heard preach against evolution from the pulpit? I know very few who have, most are afraid to offend people. When the church is afraid to offend other Christians we have a problem. The church is meant help the Christian grow in their faith and beliefs, not let them to continue to believe things are wrong because we don’t want to offend them. I don’t believe in being offensive to non-Christians because they don’t know. But when we are letting a Christian go the wrong path, we need to stand up and do something and not be “non-offensive” about it. Sorry if this makes no sense, I’ve been studying all day and I think my brain is fried, but the American church is something that bothers me so bad in the last year and a half I’ve gone very little. I know that’s bad, but I can’t find one that is good for me and what I need. They are all so complacent and intent on sugar coating the gospel or teaching bubble gum sermons that have no meaning. We need to revamp the American idea of church and make everyone accept only high expectations for how we are to live.

  • I am homeschooled, but the other kids in my youth group aren’t. I’ve noticed that as a teenager at our church, you don’t have to be exceptionally great, to be viewed as exceptional. Just by doing what is right, and being respectful, you are viewed as some “great kid.”
    I don’t think any of the kids in the youth group are necessarily “bad” in the world’s eyes (ie: doing drugs, drinking, smoking, etc.) It seems to be that as long as you don’t do that stuff, it’s ok. You’re doing good, and it’s okay to stop there.
    However, the kids that go to the youth group, are going to a Christian school. I don’t know many people who go to the public school, but I do know that non-Christian parents will send their kids to the Christian school, just so the kids won’t have to go to the public school (it’s one of the worst). In spite of not knowing much about it, I do know that the expectations at the public school are really, really, low. The parents actually encourage the students to fail, so they can be tested for mental disabilities. They fail the disability test, and then the parents get a check. That, to me, is just awful! Those kids will go on in life, with no prospects, and no source of income except a welfare check. And it’s really the parents fault!

    Also, Alex and Brett, I’m with the other girls – if there’s anything I can do, just let me know. I can’t wait for the new book!!!!!!

  • I thought that maybe you guys broke down with all that you are doing! I agree with what Elsa said although Hannah Montana is not a clean pop star. My dad has taught at a Christian college all my life and we get frustrated be the lack of expectations for study, dress, behavior, language and observance of the Sabbath. Also poeple always think that because I am homeshcooled that I do nothing but sleep in and wear pjs all day. Not true. People also expect that I do speech and debate. I volenteer at the local rebublican head quarters and I think that that is doing more good than speech and debate at this stage of my life.(No offence intended.) Peope also expect that I do sports. I am praying for you guys! You have inspired my so much.

  • George Washinton (The first U.S. President) became a comander in the british army when he was only 19. James Madison (the 4th U.S. President) finished a four year college coarse in two years. Why can’t young people today pull off things like this? We have the power, but it’s not so much that we can’t, its that so many just don’t.

  • complacency were I live is common, and creeping up more than ever before. Chicago is filled with real, and poser ” gangsters, thugs, woman selling themselves short, and selling their bodies for money, pleasure, and the worldy view of love they construe in theie own mind.” Many are believing that there is no way out, and this is the way to live. Let me first tell you that this is not just on the streets of down town were I witness this, but it is in the high life of a community college. Laziness, boredom, angst to live a life of fullfilment, but searching at a well that will not quench their thirsty souls.

  • Emily, I agree with you about churches becoming complacent, but I would say that instead of avoiding them maybe you should join one and start showing the facts about those things. I know there are endless resources when it comes to anti evolution, the bad idea of dating, and the abstaining from viewing certain movies. Hey and if you get kicked out just remember how many times it happened to Paul. And if we all just avoid them, are they going to change? I think this is an amazing call for rebelutionaries, and I think it is time more people realize the sort of mission work that needs doing right in their back yards. I know I need to. Anyway, hope I was not to offensive… hhehe.

    In Christ


    P.S. chip is my blog name.

  • Zoe: I totaly agree with you. I too live in BC and thats exactly what I am expected to be like, as a teen living here. I am auctualy looked down upon because I dont smoke, drink, stay out all night partying or have 100 friends (any friends for that matter)


  • hello! I’m Adelpha from the Philippines. I’m 16 years old. The Rebelution is such a big help to our country the Philippines. You see, most of the teenagers in the Philippines are leaving to the low expectation of our society. As what I’ve experienced, I’ve seen lots of teenagers in my county involve themselves in things like drugs, sexual immorality, smoking, and many bad things. When I read the book Do Hard Things, I found mysel inspired by what it says. There are lots of things that a teenager can do. But I rarely see teenagers who live up their lives beyond what the society expects of them. I realized that a teenager’s life is the time where I am full of energy discovering what God want me to do with my life to bless others.

  • Hi guys! Welcome back!

    I’m from the Philippines and I’ll speak for middle to upper class teens here at least. From experience, sometimes expectations here are even lower than what I perceive to be the norm in the US (I hear it’s quite normal for teens to have summer jobs there). Teens are expected to try to finish school period. Parents, relatives, even the church, give way to school requirements (hey, school is tough!) all the time, and because school is difficult, teens are not expected to care about much else except their own comfort outside of school. Most if not all my buddies graduated from college without ever having a job of their own. Teens never have to worry about finances, politics, welfare of the poor, most household responsibilities etc. until they graduate from college & enter “the real world”. Teens are expected to be caught up with their looks, social status, friends, cellphones, entertainment, and premature boy-girl relationships.

    There are exceptions, of course, maybe I just grew up with the rich & spoiled set. ;p

    Still, as a country we’re really poor at discipline and a sense of responsibility that goes beyond tight, personal spheres, and perhaps one of the reasons is that our adults failed to ‘launch’ properly due to low expectations during teen years. Check out our traffic, corruption, and garbage problems. And what about the number of financially dependent young people in their twenties and thirties who still live with their parents? To clarify, we Filipinos don’t consider that (living with parents) shameful in itself (close family ties, a lot of married couples live with their in-laws and that’s totally fine) – I’m even pretty proud of that – but I don’t think many of us learn to live within our own financial capabilities instead of our parents’. The low expectations persist to ‘adult’ life (I mean 21 yo above).

    Thanks for reading =)

  • To add, I would say there’s a need for a rebelution here in the Philippines as much as in the US, and doing hard things would look just about the same here. Teens shouldn’t behave like kids in somewhat grown-up bodies.( By “kids'” behavior, I refer to the unacceptable immaturity, but not the many wholesome ways which we all, including octogenarians, should continue in.)

  • Jessica Letchford, I agree with you about teens not being able to have meaningful conversations. So many teens today only know how to use their mouths for gossip and slander.
    Anders Laub, you’re right. A lot of teens act younger than they are and assume very limitied responsibility. But also, younger kids, 9-11, are now trying to act much older than they are. When you find young girls at that age wearing full makeup, it’s a little, I guess disturbing. They try to grow up too fast, in the wrong way, though. They grow up in everything but maturity and resposibility. They just do everything a teen would. As they get older, they just never mature, always staying at the same level. When I was in the fifth grade in public school, almost everyone was dating. These kids were 11 and 12! They had to double date with their older brothers or sisters or cousins because they weren’t old enough to drive. I suppose the reason they try to grow up so fast is because teens today have set the example of all fun and games teen years. They don’t know what their teen years should really look like. My dad always used to say, “With freedom comes resposibility.” That is one of many of the rules I live by. I know it’s important to combat the teen problem of today, but I think, inside of that, we teens should be trying to mentor the younger children anyway we can. We should help them learn from our mistakes.
    Tabitha Hems, thanks so much for the info. I heard from a friend that it could take a while. I’ll try and be patient.
    I think this was a really good, thought -provoking subject. Everyone seemed to really start thinking about it in depth. That’s a good thing, of course. Anyway, I suppose I’ve written quite a bit on this subect, so I’ll close with, God bless you and keep you all. You guys mean so much to Him. Everyone here on the comment section, and the Forum, and Alex and Brett, too. It doesn’t matter what you do, or who you are, He loves you.
    ~Kay Morris♫

  • I am reading this book as I help lead a small group of 15 year old girls through my church. I am astounded by their commitment to rebel against the low expectations in American schools. I know it’s not easy, and I’m sure they give in to it because it’s just easier sometimes. As a mother of two now, I read this book from an entirely different perspective than as teen. And although I look back at my time in high school and wish I had this book and someone to challenge me in it, I am more inspired to raise my expectations for my sons. I don’t want my boys to be normal in this society, I want them to excel and to be challeneged and competent and high-functioning throughout their entire life. But at the same time, I am a little scared, because I know teenagers (generally) like to do the opposite of what their parents want. And to know about the expectations that the world has for them are terrifying should my boys choose to rebel against my husband and me.

    This rebelution needs to brought to the public schools and churches across, not only this country, but also the world. The people in leadership and authority need to be aware of the low expectations they are placing on the world’s future leaders; and the impact is negatively placing them in precarious life situations. These authority figures need to be on board to expel the minimum requirements (and sometimes less) and challenge world’s teens and even themselves to rise above the status quo.

    That’s my soapbox…thanks!

  • I believe that there are low expectations in almost every country in some way. Low expectations here in the US are kind of overwhelming but just because they are different in other countries does not mean that they’re not there.
    I’m home schooled so, thankfully, I’m not exposed to the extremely low expectations in public school but I still have to deal with them. I know a friend that goes to a Christian school and says that the kids that attend are no different than the ones that go to public school. It may be a Christian school but it doesn’t mean the kids are Christians. It kind of hurts me to see that all of these teens think its ok to be irresponsible just because everyone else is.
    All of these people are saying they don’t need God, and then wondering why the world is headed where it is. I think if we put God back into our lives, our schools, even our churches! we’d get somewhere. We all need God.
    I gotta fly! I missed you guys! Thanks for the post!

    Be Blessed and Be a Blessing!

  • C.J. 15, I agree with you, kids can do things like that now 🙂 We just have to put aside what everyone else is doing, ignore it, and push through for what we know we are called to do. We have to stop looking around and being discouraged, and try to live our lives to the fullest. If we do that, God fills in the rest!

  • Hi! I’m Andy and I just recently read the Book “Do hard things.” It talked about this website and i thought i would check it out

  • Hello? Alex and Brett? If you don’t tell us rebelutionaries what we can do to help I might start pestering you both with PM’s and e-mails. 😉 You’d better answer before that threat becomes a reality… 😀

    Really, we just want to help you guys. You’ve done so much for us. 🙂

    Sarah 🙂

  • I read the Q? and i think i got some answers. Some ways that high expectations manifest in my state (Montana) is this kid who won the state spelling bee at age 15.He obviosly pushed himself and tried his hardest. I agree with Dee. I think that there is definetly a need for a rebelution in other countries like China or the Phillipines. Also, just to get it all out, some unique low expectations (or i should say temptations) for homeschoolers are just sitting around all day and not doing any work.

  • I’m from Brazil and I’m 23. I thought about the expectations about teens… firstly I ask to myself… what expectations… in Brazil unless the place I know from my country I don’t think there are high expectations about teens. And I’m not talking just about the Christian reality. In or out of church teens and adults think that teenager time is made of fun moments, and this the time to be immature, time for not have responsibilities, you know, because are teens. And most of parents think the one thing that a teen need to do is study. That’s the only one responsibility for teens. These days my church opens a financial course for teens, and I hear a question from a friend about it: “why teens need to do a course like this? they are teens, they do not have money enough, they don’t need this”. Unbelievable!
    why teens do not need of a course like this? They have money, they are able to manage their money, so, why not? When we are teens, people think we are too young for things that involved responsibilities, we can drink, have sex, drive without a drive license(in Brazil we get the drive license just with 18) and that’s ok! But teens don not need to learn how manage their money because they are too young for it? Is it right?
    Sometimes I think teens are been prepared for a career, but not for a real life, with real responsibilities. and you know what… in or out of church. In my church I can see a lot of young people who have or are building a career, but have not expectations about marriage, for example!
    And when they were young… parents, church, society say to them they were to young to manage their money, to young to be responsible for something important in church, they couldn’t be a leader of something in their church because they were not mature enough, now they grew and when they become young they are facing a new true… they are not ready to be responsible for a family, and some young Christians who I know are not ready AND they DON’T WANT to be responsible for something huge like a marriage. I don’t know in US but in my city and in my church there are young people with 30(and more)that are not marriage and I really don’t know if they are ready for this.( even at 30). They were prepared to a career, but not to a responsible for something more. The Adults think the young should get marriage and have their families, but sometimes I think they were not instructed to go out of their teenager and be a man or woman with responsibilities, and when they were teens they used to date and that was ok! they dated who they wants to date, and nobody said anything because they were teens, they could do this! Now people think the young from church are ready, but nobody tells them how should be ready, or what is be ready to big responsibilities. Parents, church, society think that teens can not do a lot of things because they are immature, I think if there are teens who are immature, maybe it is because of our culture says to teens they are immature and too young ALL THE TIME, and at the same time do not say how they can build responsibilities. Maybe, my culture does not trust in teens because of their age, and I think I do not trust in culture to Instruct teens.

  • Wow! I am amazed at how much I can learn from all these comments put together- it is so encouraging to see such a response, and to read all this info that everyone shares.

  • I can not wait for the new book to come out! I’m so excited to hear what God is doing in both of your lives!
    God bless

  • Well, I live in Norway, and from what I can tell we have quite different expectations of young people.

    Youth here are expected to get reasonable/average grade at school, play some kind of sport and to have some form of friends. Let me expand.
    We don’t have a very big pressure at school, but rather in social areas. Activities, such as a soccer in a lot of areas, are a way of getting friends. We’re pressured to have a group of friends around us, as odd as it sounds, by teachers even more than parents. I have more friends in other areas of the country, and I notice a lot of people find it odd.

    Another aspect of this is binge drinking and acting out on weekends, from the time you’re 14-15-16. It also seems a lot of people expect teens to be stupid, negative, just downright disrespectful.

    Lastly, and this may seems contradictory to what I’ve just stated, our culture expects everyone to be very efficient and do what the should.

    This might not be everyone’s experience, but it’s how I feel growing up here, so.

  • hey its frank i live in the USA and ive been reading your book and i just wanted to ask would it cost me any money to have you guys come talk to our youth group please get back to me with information thanks

  • Ya, about meeting with youth groups, I think that would be really sweet if you could talk to my youth group to. I am not a leader but I’m sure my leaders wouldn’t mind. You should get back to me on that with imformation, too, please! thanks! 🙂

  • I know other people have said this before, but if you need help with anything, please let me know! I would love to learn something new.

  • Those some-what rude comment are a perfect example of what us teens are trying NOT to be like. We should be proud to be different, even if it means being hated on or mocked.
    God Bless you all, including Ken and Dunkleberyy =D

    Your Sister In Christ

  • You know what, I’m sick of churches in America acting like clubs you join and hang in!!!!
    What about the music people listen to? If I listen to hymns and less than contemporary Christian music does that make me weird?
    Why is it not weird to have sex out of wedlock, but extremely weird if you believe dating should be for the purpose of marriage and dating as young as 12/13 is a perverted sin!?!
    I am really losing it. Rise up America, Rise up Christians!! Stand up for what you believe in!!!!! Don’t you realise the only reason America is even here today is because of God and our forefathers believing Him to be their everything! Stop just singing contemporary songs about how we should stand up for Christ, stand up! How could a Rebelutionary blend in to people in the street! For Shame!! To meet one and have that person just be like ‘whatever’! The Rebelution is not JUST a club!!!!

    Moderators: if this is too scathing remove it.

  • I know for a fact that some of the low expectations in my community lies mostly in our schools. I am a junior in high school and sometimes it really shocks and saddens me how low they really are. For example:at my school there is(in my opinion)a severe drug problem and nobody is expected to care. My english class had a discussion were we were talking about how students should or should not be required to go to a study hall class an oppurtunity to do home work, whether or not you are failing your classes or not and some of my classmates feel strongly about this. When my teacher suggested that the students do something about it they said that they couldn’t because of their age, and that they wouldn’t be taken seriously. So therefore it wasn’t worth trying. When my teacher asked them about their reasoning they said it would be pointless to force fellow students to care, and if they fail then they fail and that required study hall of any sort would be pointless. This greatly saddened me. I longed to speak out but I’m ashamed that I didn’t. The point of this was not do a he said she said thing but to bring to light some issues that is being faced at the moment. I am not in any way excluding myself as a perfect spotless saint; I too have become caught up in my personal affairs that I have also done the whole,”Well I’ve got better things to do,”thing.Better than than sticking up for what’s right ? Better than going up beyond the I don’t care attitude and the mediocrity that comes along with it? I long to do something big for Christ especially pertaining to the drug problem at my school but I’m not exactly sure how to get there..(sorry that’s kinda off topic)

  • Danielle, I was struck by your comment, “I’m sick of churches in America acting like clubs you join and hang in!!!!” I personally think a lot of teens and adults have the misperception that if we just believe in Jesus as our Savior, we do not have to be obedient to Him and we can do like everyone around us. Christ Himself gave us higher expectations when He said, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me.” John 14:21. St. Jphn says, “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” I John 2;4.
    Bob Prince

  • Hi, Im 23 and I live in the UK. Ive just started my last year of university.

    To be honest there are some incredibly low expectations of students. You are almost expected to come to uni to party, go out and get drunk, spend all the money you have for university and live in your overdraft. Whilst people in the UK complain about the way students are no one seems willing to expect more from us. We’re supposed to just scrape through our degree and most people are expected to just float into some low job and just do whatever.

    If you even begin to look different to the all partying and drinking student type then you stick out like a sore thumb. Its good for making and stand and being different but when you tell people that you’re a christian and you want to do well at your degree people are just so shocked. Its as if people dont expect you to ever do anything academically or otherwise!

    I just dont understand. Its not all about getting a degree or great job, but honestly the UK dont expect you to make a difference. Its like they’re moulding you into a sheep whether you like it or not! Its a sad way to live and I just pray that God will raise up people to change this country’s outlook!

    Han x

  • Hello again, I’m just wandering again here in your blog site. And Im just here to ask a a question, and i think you will say that its a simple question. Why can’t we start to share the experience we encounter with Jesus or the relationship we had in Jesus. But I can’t start it, even if I had on my mind on how to share it with them. Like on my back of my head saying, maybe my friends will not listen to what i say or they will not take it seriously. And maybe they will say on their mind “who the heck he thought he was, saying that to me”

    Maybe you thought “Am I really a Christian?”
    Yes I am, but as for me its a hard thing to do with my classmate, I’m just a 15 years in Philippines, a High School Student. maybe you won’t understand me. Maybe you can help me, by praying for me to do it!! Thank you

    Thank you if anyone of you respond in this comment

  • I am Japanese, second year student in National Univ..
    Like John Wu said, here in Japan, entrance exam is very big deal for us. Most parents want us to go to better college or university.
    It is often said in comparing American and Japanese college, “In states, easy to get in but hard to get out. In Japan, hard to get in but easy to get out”.
    I found it not a lie after a while entering college. God totally bless me with great university that has good academic level. But, seems many people do not study as they did in High school. well, I should include myself in “they”.

    University brand has very strong influence in getting a job here. So, many parents wants us to study really hard to get in good colleges. Some parents express so much expectation that thier kids become rebellious for intense pressure.
    So, in a sense, there is big expectation from parents for us to study hard. But, the problem I found is that they almost only expect us to study. It seems there is less social activities than in States, which is hindering us to try to participate in society.

    Some start social activities when they start going to college, but it seems to me that there is a huge lack of foundation.
    When I read “Do Hard Thing”, I was surprised that how teenage can play a rule in election and raising funds. I have never heard t\a story like those in Japan.

    Having said these things, I think, here in Japan, there is low expectation for teenage as well. Especially in college because they think once we enter a collegem, we are on a rail to some or more than some degree.

  • I am American, second year school at Mission Creek and it is GREAT!!!!! I have a brother who is a senor at South Bend High and he is under so much stress on where he wants to go. and by the way i need to start studying to its just really hard when yo jave eight brothers and sisters. I shouldn’t use that as in excuse. God has blessed me though so i thank him alot. GOD BLESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • I’m am American and a Homeschool studant. and I find the exspectations I have are to get worst them I am I’m having a few issues with my youth paster right now who keeps telling me and my Mom that I’ll be rude wild and very socilized (Having pre marital sex).
    I think he’s just giving me excuses to be that way and he also has a thing agianst me for not going to his youth group full of silly teens anymore witch is another exspectations people have for me is to be the regular Silly Teenager and when I tell them I’m not like that and not going to be like that they tell me “Oh come on your just afraid to have fun”

    I’m so fed up with all these nonsensical exspectations of me


  • I agree wqith you full force Danielle!!!
    We have been in and out of about 20 churches because they are more geared towards a place for teens to hang out, rather then worhsiping our Lord.
    Dating at such a young age is not odd these days, but are those kids really ready to think about marriage?

  • My youth group went to D.C. to see you guys in September, and we are so excited to start doing some hard things in our community and school. I can’t wait for your next book, and I am really excited to hear about some of the low expectations in other countries as well as how they can be overcome.

  • Hey My school takes mission trips every year to Peru. But this year we don’t know to eaither go to Peru or the Philippins. What do you think Alex

  • Ever since I’ve been reading the book, “Do Hard Things” it has inspired me to do so much more. I am currently inrolled in a highschool and it is much more difficult to stay pure and faithful to God. With all the gossip and latest things, at times I want to just give up and go with the crowd but I know that I can’t. Its a daily struggle for me even more so to have wholesome talk. In school I am not known as the ‘popular one’, far from it. Many of the guys in my school are aweful to me, swaring at me and saying such vulgar things and I constantly have to bite my tongue to keep from swaring back but reading this book, seeing the struggles of other teens in it just keeps my faith up. It shows me that if they can do it, surive through even tougher ordels, than why can’t I?

  • Q: What are some unique low expectations in our church or circle of friends?

    A: In my church I keep finding out that a lot of adults refuse to look beyond what they expect. In my various jobs at my church, one of which I am the only teen worker, I am often overlooked. I feel like the adults negotiate around me because they think I won’t do my job unless they’re their to hold my hand the whole time. I just want to do my job as best I can, but it’s really hard when when co-workers think I’m incapable. I highly doubt they realize the situation they put me in by doing this. Its hard to deal respectfully with them when they treat me like I’m four years old. I am hoping that they will start to believe I am capable if I just continue in the work God has for me.

  • Our prayers are with you Tiffany, It must be really hard, I have trouble enough and I am home schooled. Be brave, be strong, let all that you do be done with love.

    In Christ


  • I just wanted to let the two of you know what a blessing your book has been to me. I was driving in the car a few weeks ago with my two teenage sons when we heard your radio interview on Focus on the Family. We were really excited to hear what you had to say. We have long taken issue with the term “teenager” and the general expectations that go along with it. Our sons consider themselves “young men” not teenagers and were thrilled to hear the things that you had to say. We quickly went out and purchased the book wich I have since read and heartily agree with. We will soon be purchasing additional coppies to distribute to the youth group at our church. I will be very interested to see what they do with the challenge to “do hard things!” Keep up the good work!

  • Great to see you guys back in business! I’m a sixteen year old from Malaysia, and honestly I could give a really long email on all the struggles that arise from being in a multiracial country where we deal face to face with huge racial issues. We have mainly Malays, Indians and Chinese in our country, with a large number of ethnic races in East Malaysia. What’s great, though, is that we experience many different cultures. I completely understand what the Chinese girl meant about so much pressure on simply getting A’s and being so spoon fed that we don’t really know how to THINK apart from exams. We get that here too. In Malaysia, as Christians, we also face issues with spreading the gospels as we are not allowed to do so to the Malays, AS A LAW. One could easily be jailed here for spreading the gospel to Malays. My best friend is a Malay! (I am mainly Chinese) and it is difficult for us to obey God sometimes due to fear.

    But please do pray for the Christians here in Malaysia, especially the teens! God really is doing amazing things here (I wish I could share everything!), and there has been major mission mobilization that has been going on around teens, prayer movements for our nation and for national transformation BY TEENS, which is really a whole “REBELUTION” movement as well. Also, Malaysia happens to have a large number of unreached people groups in our country. We have Buddhists and Hindus and Muslims all around us, so please pray for Malaysian Christians to rise up to the challenge and really take this opportunity to shine Jesus’s light to all these people groups!

    Serving Jesus, mariel

  • Sorry, I just realized that I didn’t really elaborate on teen expectations here in Malaysia. Well, I dare say there is MUCH emphasis on exams here. Our education system is very exam oriented, and we aren’t given the kind of opportunities that westerners are given to pursue other skills or hobbies and such. HIgh schoolers on average take about ten exam subjects, plus other subjects that don’t necessarily involve exams. We aren’t taught to be creative and most of what we learn is just so that we can “do well in exams”. we do face peer pressure as well, like sex and drinking and partying, but on a MUCH lower scale compared to the west. Pressure for such things deepens much more progressively at university level, though. Because of our Muslim government and practices, such things like abortion are banned, which is GREAT, but of course there still are clinics that operate in secret. I can say that we are blessed, in a way, to be a bit more behind when it comes to social peer pressure issues. But like i mentioned earlier, we deal with many other issues, like racism sometimes.

    expectations on teens are still low, though. we’re not expected to have much character, and we’re also sometimes looked down on when we try to dream big… well i hope that this has helped give some insight on how things are in Malaysia. Please do continue to pray for us.

  • I live in New Zealand and have the privelige of going to a school who have made it their mission to “develop educated men of outstanding character” this means we are EXPECTED to show certain values, the most important of which are: Pride in self, school and our values, Industry (recognising that to acheive anything requires hard work, not taking the easy options, and focusing on getting the little things right. Mediocrity is not ok), Integrity, Courage, Respect and Humility, as well as being gentlemen, polite and courteous. I think that this philosophy is what all teenagers here -and I suspect all over the western world- need to have placed on them…

  • Kay Morris, just so you know, I did not fall off the end of the world. Check to BRC tonight, and you will find out why you haven’t seen me in a while.

  • Tim said that “mediocrity is not OK.” Alex and Brett asked in their question for discussion what were some unique low expectations in our churches. I have a dream that as the time gets nearer for Christ to return, those who truly hunger and thirst after righteousness (wherever they may be on the face of this earth) will no longer be satisfied with mediocrity, but will truly be new creatures in Christ. If we truly repent of our sins and truly desire to obey Him, we are promised that we will receive the Holy Ghost. Peter says in Acts 5:32, “We are witnesses of these things and so is also the Holy Ghosst whom God hath given to them that obey him.” If we receive that Holy Spirit, our chief goal in life will be to do the will of our Father in Heaven, and if that is our earnest desire, we will certainly not settle for mediocrity in our lives.

  • Okay, I wasn’t on last night. I was gone all day and busy all night. I’ll have to try to do that today.
    ~Kay Morris♫

  • This is a video about Howard Stern’s, a famous violinist, trip to China in the 1970s. It shows how the musical students in China strove to play with technical perfection but Stern taught them to play with passion.

    The movie shows a child pianist prodigy, Lang Lang, who has the passion many of the students had yet to learn. He was around seven when the movie was made. He’s now really famous and plays all over the world. It seems to match what you said about students in the East still feeling the low expectations.

  • Thanks Christian. Means a lot to me.

    Each day that I read the pages of this book, I am just so awe strucked. This book is more than just words like any other books. It is something you can confide into, something you can truly relate it. I am truly blessed to be reading it and I hope that when I finish it, I can pass it on so others can read it as well.

    My prayers are with all who follow in doing hard things for the Lord.

  • Hi, I’m a 16 year old missionary kid in Cusco Peru. I went to your conference in Washington D.C.. I agree with you. I have noticed that Here in the US and in Peru, adults and peers have low expectations for us. I have felt that we as youth should do more and harder things. Keep the message going!

  • Wow… It is amazing how many teens and young adults from around the world responded to this post.

    I would like to say that it is disappointing me when I receive shocked looks from people who find out my age and schooling background. I was homeschooled until the age of sixteen, when I graduated. I then started my first year in a three-year program at a local technical college, in which I am in my second year. I never felt like I did anything special, I just worked hard. I have been accused of being an ‘over-achiever’, but I say that I prefer the term ‘ambitious’.

    I just turned eighteen, but when people at work or school ask me my age, they are always surprised, because they think that I must be at least in my early twenties. I have been told that I just act more mature compared to most people my age. I could never figure that out, until I took my younger brother to youth group the other day.

    The way I saw ‘Christian’ teens behaving was a real disappointment for me. They were immature, their language wasn’t always polite, and they just seemed to be acting like kids. I mentioned this to an adult friend of mine, and she wasn’t the least bit surprised; in fact, she told me that they are just kids! I was a little sad to see teens, some of whom are older than me, acting like thirteen and fourteen-year olds.

    The worst thing is that I really hoped that I would see some different behaviors from teens who say that they are followers of Christ. I really hope that I am not being too judgmental, it just seems that even youth group teens do not behave any differently than any others. I have found that my experience with adults is usually much more edifying, and I prefer their company than that of people my own age.

    Soli Deo Gloria,
    Chanel V.

  • Just reflecting on what Tim said on the New Zealand education system…it’s really great for him that his school puts such emphasis on striving for excellence and all of those other desirable qualities that so many teens are lacking today but what I am most pleased about is the fact that there still exists in New Zealand a school that makes this their main focus.

    Here in Kiwi-land our Government has a fairly new baby by the name of NCEA, a national education certificate that, to my way of thinking and certainly to those in my church, encourages every single teenager in NZ without exception to pass their school days with minimum effort. Night before cramming as Alex and Brett mention in their book is easily the norm for many because they are succeeding at it. Our NCEA system is a breeding ground for lethargy and apathy because all it takes to pass is an ‘achieved’, the lowest mark possible.
    I have personally tried to overcome this overarching sense of low expectations by aiming for ‘excellence’ and the do hard things attitude of the rebelution is so encouraging for me as I aim for this goal but sadly many of my christian friends do not as a direct response to this low standard.

    So in answer to your question, I think New Zealand’s problem is largely to do with it’s education structure though of course we have the drinking and partying to contend with so in that respect we are the typical westernized culture of stalling adolescents. It would be interesting to see if a bunch of teens could have a shot at changing that…maybe another hard thing to add to your list!

  • I watched the video of Josh being eaten by the beanbag and thought it was a great analogy of what is required in true repentance. If we say we are trusting God and the Holy Spirit in turning our back on evil, but then keep on willfully dabbling in what we know is not right, there is a real question as to whether we have truly repented from our sins. Jesus said, “Not everyone that says unto me,Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matt.7:21)

  • another leah: I was just skimming through the comments when I stopped and read yours. Providential! I too live in USA in IL, and can imagine how you feel. I think it is probably something a lot of us fight at certain times in our life. I think our relationship with Jesus Christ is a lot like a marriage, in more ways then one, but first let me point out two of them. 1. We won’t always FEEL our love for our spouse. Love is so much more then feelings it’s the everyday things like doing Hard Things for Jesus sake. 2. My mom tells me that she loves my father more and more as the years go by. Our relationship with Jesus is the same the more we get to know Him, the more we will love Him. You probably already know this but these are just somethings that I have found encouraging myself.

    One more thing – One of the things that I do is keep a journal by my bed and every night I put one thing in it that I am rejocing about. Maybe, you could do something similar except write down ways you loved God (held my tounge when I didn’t want to:) and ways He’s loved you (gave me special time with my mom).

    I am praying for you! Hope this encourages you!

    Moriah Ortega

  • I would like to respond to Emily’s comment. I, too, have felt a great deal of disillusionment with the church in America for the past several years. Although it is important to do whatever God calls us to do to “revamp” the church, we have to realize that we live in a fallen world and can never make the system of organized religion perfect. The church is a made up of a flawed group of individuals.
    The important thing to do is keep praying and keep striving to live out what God would have us do. Our actions do impact others and they will eventually follow our example.
    In the meantime, think about this quotation from Jan Karon’s At Home in Mitford:
    “… if you keep your eyes on Christians, you will be disappointed every day of your life. Your hope is to keep your eyes on Christ.”

  • While reading your book, I thought of all the expectations of America has for there children.
    During that I see that all average Americans don’t expect for there children to go to college,
    and if they do they probably will fail. You’ll see our president ( God bless him and guide him) talks of rising in our education ,but yet we lack behind in so many ways. India a third- world country has some very educated individuals, but does that stop them. My mother is Mizo or Indian and she is the most educated women I’ve ever met in the ways of God and in education. Yet, she lived in poverty. They expect higher expectations of people in poverty, then of people in America with houses,jobs, and money. Where I live our expectations our lower than the ground, at least every person in the public school system is failing or addicted to something. For believers that is a war ground. I was harassed almost every day. As harassed I mean snooty comments about christ, rumors spread and I wasn’t that popular. Now, in a christian school those things still happen not about being a christan but, they talk about a new girl whose very diligent about what I do.
    Saying that I mean I’m not exactly nice to certain people because the are exremly rude to me. Although that’s something i am lacking.

    Thank you for reading my thoughts
    Remi John 3:16

  • I liked K’s quotation from Jan Karon’s At Home in Mitford:
    “… if you keep your eyes on Christians, you will be disappointed every day of your life. Your hope is to keep your eyes on Christ.” Let us keep in mind that unless we have the Spirit of Christ within, we are totally incapable of keeping His commandments. I frequently think about what He said, “When you shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants; we have done only that which was our duty to do” Luke 17:10. If we are keeping his commandments it is the Spirit of Christ which is doing the work in us, and we have nothing of which we can boastl As Paul said in 2nd chapter of Ephesians – “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast.”

  • I’m an American, and have been amazed by the low expectations in so many places. My brother, sister, a friend, and myself took an test on economics and we were VERY surprised to qualify in the top 100 in the state, when only one of us had ever studied the subject! Then, when we went to the state competition we were put in the AP division because we were all home-schooled. Imagine our surprise when we beat other teams that had studied the material!

  • Hi, I’m a Chinese-American living in China who often identifies better with American culture than Chinese culture 😉 However, from where I am, I do have the unique privilege of seeing both worlds and understanding it slightly better than others.

    My family is actively involved in the educational system here, and what the girl from Taiwan said is true. Most Chinese and Taiwanese focus solely on getting good grades. It is difficult for us to convince them to study for the purpose of learning, growing, and self-bettering.

    Schools in the States, though they have many problems, do encourage children to think outside the box. Schools in China tend to suppress children. They aren’t expected to think for themselves and are mainly focused on testing well.

    It’s a different set of challenges that they face in terms of academic challenges, but no single culture is better than any other. Each one has its problems. The diligence of the Chinese students is admirable… but outside of tests, they have little motivation to study, and that isn’t quite as impressive.

    Americans can learn diligence and perseverance from the Chinese. THe Chinese can learn to apply their learning from teh Americans!

  • I live in the Philippines. As for low expectations, society here (at least to what I’ve been exposed to) expects you to do school and finish it and get a job. Success is measured by social status and the salary you get.

    I recently graduated from college and I decided not to be employed just yet. I chose to use my degree in volunteering for a cause that I believe in. When I tell people who ask of my volunteer work, I must admit that they think it’s a waste for my degree. Well I don’t think it is, because this is what God has called me to do. All the same that’s one of the low expectations I’ve experienced.

    I must say that the Philippines is highly influenced by the U.S. If something is popular in the U.S. it often comes here as well. Fashion, music, movies, trends, emo & goth culture… name it, we almost have it all. Our culture has this colonial mentality blended well in it due to 300 years of Spanish reign and 40-year American occupation. Anything that comes from the West is accepted. So in short, low expectations come here too.

    Expectations only measure up to materialism and not on the character of people.

    As for other expectations, if you don’t belong to the group of expected finish-school-get-job-be-rich then you are expected to fail and just be a failure. Well, that is generally speaking on how I see adults treat teens who often fail (and there are lots of them). The result, teens don’t try to reach for more. They stay and get stuck where they are.

  • I live in the U.S.A. i went to your last conference. I was also reborn while I was there. I have a lot of low expectations right now but I am setting higher expectations for myself rightr now. I am trying to go out of y comfort zone. How am I doing that, I am in a play and that is way out of my confort zone. I am the lead and I have a lot of lines to memorize but I think that I can do it. I am happy that I am doing that. I hope I don’t get to far out of my comfort zone. How do I stop and make sure that I don’t do that???? I think that it might be hard. Can you help me????

  • I live in the United States, and i had many low expectations untill i read “Do Hard Things” and i realized that i can push thoughs expectations away and show everyone that i(and other teenagers) can do hard things. I’m only 13, almost 14 and everyone compliments me about what i do for such a young age. Although i do great things for my age, i believe i can do even greater things. I have given up many things to show that God can do great things through youth, and im willing to do more…but the question for me is “what else can i do?” Would you be able to give me some more ideas?

  • I have many low expectations at 15 yers old but m homeschool group is trying to help us break through by teaching a class on the book “do hard things” theres so many things to do and we should do them. I am helping organize a youth night at my church with my drama team. everybody we’ve told about it thats an adult has said that we won’t follow through but we are going to show them that we can and we will

  • I live in the U.S., and went to the Rebelution conference last summer – a great event.

    I would have to submit that Thomas L. Friedman is probably not the best source for information on how to live our lives — especially as Christians. For those of you who don’t know who he is, he is an often skeptical liberal newspaper columnist.

  • I am almost 13 and I just read the part that says… All effort even failed effort is good. I love that saying. I also love that you guys always have the answer that I am looking for in your book. I am happy that I went to that conference. I have a question for everybody on this blog. Did you ever you go to the conferences. Also, did you get reborn or born again. I was at the last conference in Washington D.C. I will always remember what they said about stepping out of my comfort zone. I took their advice and now I am in a play. I would of never tried out for it because I would be afraid to come out of my bubble and get on that stage. I think that I will need to act and be in more plays and musicals because I want to be an actress when I grow up. I am excited to finally be in a play/musical. I hope that I do good. I have been setting a lot of higher expectations. I am taking the ACT tests this year. I am only in seventh grade. If you don’t know what the ACT tests are, the ACT test is a high school test for juniors and seniors. I will be taking this test in a high school class room with juniors and seniors. I am in a gifted class so I can choose between the SAT and the ACT test. I have picked to take the ACT tests because I think it would be a good thing for me to see how hard it would be and what I would have to study for it in high school. I am so happy that I have gotten the chance to do this. I have to go now.

  • Lizzie Luvs 2 Pray, I know how you feel about being thought of as a stick in the mud for not wanting to join a silly youth group. been there myself.
    You’re doing the right thing though, I’ll being praying for you 🙂

  • I have great news!!!my friend Tyler (i noticed he has left quite a few comments, and we go to the same school.haha) and i have figured out that we are going to the Philippines this year!yay!

  • I live in Virginia, USA and i found your book: “Do Hard Things” at my church (Wave Church). At first I was just like, ‘Hmm…that looks like an interesting read.’ ( I LOVE to read books! btw so i am always looking for something new) As I kept visiting the bookstore at my church, I kept visiting the shelf that your book was on. I felt like just the title itself was speaking to me. It was like somebody came up and smacked me in the face so i would realize what was going on. I finally bought it and it is changing my life as i am righting this comment. It is an amazing book and you two are really inspirational. I brought your book to school so i could read it and it caught the attention of alot of people. like, people that i would never have imagined to be interested in it were interested in it. Some of them, because, they thought it was freaking awesome that Chuck Norris did the forward..but others were TRULY i have i little line of people waiting to read it. hahaha

    anyways, I will be praying for you and your ministry-thingy 😀 keep being super-cool-preacher-guys !!! haha 😀

    ps. you guys should come to virginia beach, virginia for one of your conferences….lolol

  • Dear Alex, Bret, and anyone who would like to read this message,

    There are many differences in each and every culture that is on the earth, if it weren’t like this then we would all be the same in faith, or religion, culture and government, and have the same likes, or dislikes. This world would be satanic for the reason that we would not have stopped building the tower of Babel and we would have kept trying to work to God, which is religion. (Religion is the human trying to work to God; faith is God coming to the human through the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, A.K.A the Gospel.)

    The system of everything being the same and fair would become a place were everyone would turn away from God and depend on themselves to make things work everything out for the better. God wants everything to be unfair in order that we may bring glory to him when, in the time that He has worked, it all works together for you and you are blessed. The apostle Paul wrote ” He who humbles himself will be exalted at the proper time.” God wants you happy and He cares for you.

    I hope that this message does not reach dull ears.

    Thank you for reading this,
    Your brother in Christ,

  • Storm says, among other comments, “God wants everything to be unfair in order that we may bring glory to him when, in the time that He has worked, it all works together for you and you are blessed. The apostle Paul wrote ” He who humbles himself will be exalted at the proper time.” God wants you happy and He cares for you.”
    I believe this has been the case thus far, with so many differences in denominations and cultures.
    But I have a dream that as the time for Christ to return gets nearer, (which we have no understanding of when this will be) Christians will become more united by taking heed to the instructions of Jesus Himself in John 7:17, “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” So the key to being more united depends on us being fully committed to doing His will (which we cannot do without His Spirit dwelling richly in us) and it is His Spirit which does this work, and we have nothing of which we may boast – this is the ultimate in humility – letting the Spirit guide us in what we do and what doctrines we believe.

  • I am 16 and live in Eagle River, Alaska. In our state, the public school graduation rate is 64%, and even though I am homeschooled, I still feel affected by the low expectations in our schools. I am also taking college classes while finishing highschool and am continually tempted to act like what our society thinks the stereotypical teenager acts like.
    I also have the influence of our homeschool community’s culture along with my homeschool friends to excel at every thing because I am a homeschooler. With these high expectations, I am continually comparing myself with other homeschool students. This can be a positive peer pressure, but with some of my peers, it seems as if my wish to be better than them is in conflict with my ability to have a good Christlike friendship with them.
    My prayer is that God will refine my attitudes and desires that are outside His will.

  • Dear Bob Prince, Storm, Alex, Bret, and anyone who would like to read this message,

    Storm is right in that the unfairness of the world turns others to God. We also have to remember that if the world was fair, we should have no possible chance to get to heaven. Our multitude of sins, inherited and committed by ourselves, condemn us to certain death and eternal separation from God in a fair and unbiased world; even if God still existed in this hypothetical state, He would only be allowed to give us our just punishment.
    I continually thank God for His grace and mercy. Mercy is not receiving what we deserve, in this case our punishment, and grace is receiving what we do not deserve, in this case, atonement for our sin through Christ’s death on the cross.
    I also am likeminded with Bob in that I have a desire for unity among the body of Christ’s believers. This could help us have a greater impact on unbelievers; this is because, instead of seeing different denominations arguing over what are the absolute truths of God’s Word and how can and should we worship Him, they would see a God-given joy, peace and fervor to do God’s will shared by all believers.
    They would see something that that they would want to have. They would see God’s love on a great scale. Until that day, what we can do as believers is simply what Solomon did, fear God and obey His commands. This fear is not a worldly fear, but a respectful and honoring fear, a fear that acknowledges what He did for us, accepts the gift of salvation, and seeks to honor God because He created us, died for us, and wants to have a personal relationship with us.

    May God bless you as you do His will,

    His servant and your brother in Christ,


  • Dear Alex, Bret, Bob, Sven, And others,

    I like to clarify my first message. I was addressing the matter of we will NEVER be united for the reason that it is the devil’s world and the body constantly being tempted and tormented, sometimes AGAINST itself. But he doesn’t have complete control over us or the world.

    I do not agree on the point that we simply “fear God and obey His commands”, on the contrary, we should give ourselves to Jesus as a “living and holy sacrifice, that is a pleasing aroma, which is our spiritual service of worship.” Then you need to wait and “obey His commands”, but do not become idle. You need to LISTEN for His calling and use your spiritual gift, that you were given at faith alone in Christ alone, for the benefit of fellow believers and to build up the body of Christ.

    Also to all of those who are trying to “push”, for absence of a better word, the Rebelution, you should not be doing so. You should let the Spirit draw you to a way you can counter the deprivation of expectations. Some of you have found the Spirit’s calling, but most of the entries that I have examined had a lack of the Spirit in the life of the one who wrote it.

    I hope that these things are taken to heart.

    Thank you,
    your brother in Christ,

  • You should let the Spirit draw you to a way you can counter the deprivation of expectations.

    ~Amen to this Storm.

    Leeanna Miles – you’re coming to the Philippines? 🙂 I live here. I mean, I live in the Philippines. 🙂

  • Sven says, “I also am likeminded with Bob in that I have a desire for unity among the body of Christ’s believers.”
    I believe that God has in his mercy, has allowed us to drift far away from Christ’s prayer in John 17:21-22, “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one.”
    St. Paul wrote in I Cor. 1:10, “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgement.”
    Jesus said further in Matt. 10:40, “He that receiveth you [the Apostles] receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me,” and St. Paul was certainly acknowledged to be an Apostle. So technically, we are out of the will of God in our numerous divisions. I pray that we will desire that we may so strongly desire to do His will, that we may “Know of the doctrine whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” John 7:17.

  • What a good question. For me, a homeschool teen, I find that people’s expectations of me vary according to what their teen is like. One of my friends has a problem with disrespect, so her mom is expecting that in me. Another lady I know, her daughter and son are not responsible, and so when she gives me a message to tell my mother she checks up on me to make sure I delivered it. So I kind of get a little bit of everything, but thankfully my parents help keep me on track.

  • Dear Ale, Bret, Bob, and others,

    We will not be unified until we are in the presence of Christ.

    Bob, your understanding of dispensations is skewed. You are expecting that Christ is going to come to the earth and establish his throne. I am here to inform you that something MUST occur prior to that event; we will be caught “up together with Christ in the air.” This is called the Rapture, and it is the event that we should eagerly look forward to, NOT the coming of Christ to establish His Kingdom. The things that you are speaking of will be actuated seven years after the Rapture when Christ DOES come with all believers in Him behind Him. After He establishes His Kingdom is when all that you have said will come to pass.

    Please take this into consideration.

    Thank you,
    your brother in Christ,

  • Dear Christin A,

    I am but a tool in the workings of Christ. I am not the one who leads myself to write these things, but it is God working in me to “will and to do for His good pleasure.” I am not the one that you should be saying Amen to but God.

    Thank you,
    your brother in Christ,

  • I hadn’t heard of any of this until an elder in my home church recommended this book to me and then gave me the link to this website.

    For a few months now, I have been trying to get my church to adopt a model of 24/7 prayer as a partnership with an inner city Milwaukee sister-church. I have met a lot of resistance because many believe that it can’t be done. How does one person fire people up for prayer and then to take a prayer shift at 3am? Only God can do this and seeing other people my age embrace this concept, is very moving. This weekend my campus (UWGB) is having it’s first ever 24/7 Prayer weekend all because God was able to work through the couple of us who had faith no bigger than a mustard seed. Every generation since the coming of Christ, could have heralded the return of Christ if we took the Lord’s final command as the Great Commision instead of the “Great Suggestion”. I want to be that generation! The harvest is plenty and the workers are few, and the red harvest moon is rising meaning there is little time left. (Red Moon Rising by Pete Greig).

    Thank you for inspiring youth to take up the banner for Christ.

  • Dear Typers,

    Reading your words of inspiration truly touch my heart that words can not compare to. Hearing all that each of you go through, all the challenges that you have to bare each and every day, all the struggles and demands the word gives you and hearing how even though you may fall short, Jesus is always there to pick you up truly lifts me up when I too fall.

    I love reading your words of advice and can’t wait to continue reading the next chapters of “Do Hard Things.” For those who is just starting, there are no words that can say just how great this book is.

    I commend each and every one of you that sticks with Jesus through and through. I praise those who are not afraid to preach the word of god. I know how hard it is and knowing others are going through it as well truly helps me over come my challenges.

    I pray for you all.

    Love, your sister in the making,

  • Hey Storm, I think it’s great that you’re so humble, but all ‘amen’ means is something like ‘let it be done’ in Jewish or Hebrew or some other language. So, I don’t think it can, or was, being used as anything bad. Wow, y’all all have some pretty interesting thoughts, it’s making me think…more. 🙂

    Camille E.

  • I live in the U.S. and what irks me is the low expectations within the church. I am 15 and have been visiting churches a while and have yet to find a church where the youth is expected to or knows much more than about the Bible than Jesus died on the cross for our sins. That statement is what you teach a 4-year old. One of my favorite verses, Joshua 1:8, says that you should meditate on the word day and night. I am not saying that all youth in churches are like this, but they are expected to be like this.

    It is so normal that sometimes when I visit a church I do not want to bring my Bible so that the youth will not think I am a nerd.

    I was raised in a house where my father reads the Bible every night possible and we are encouraged to read on our own every day. This has made more conscious of the low expectations within every christian household.

    Please give me your thoughts on this matter.

    Your brother in Christ,

  • i belive its the same as the united states. we are all young people trying to live for God in a world that is trying to kill us spirtually,emotinlly, and even phyiscally. We need to stand for ou generation where ever we are located.

  • Dear Camille E,

    I did not say that it was used incorrectly just that I can not take credit for what God is doing in me. Also, your translation is correct, but Amen was also used to mean “I believe that you will do as I have asked” which in the ancient world was equivalent to saying “I believe in you.”

    Thank you for bringing this topic up.

    Thank you,
    your brother in Christ,

  • At my school(which I might add is a Christian school), it’s much the same as with other schools, not doing homework, not studying for tests and quizzes stuff like that. Also I have seen people go through highschool and they follow culture of others having sex before marriage(we dont have a problem with smoking and drinking though). But there is always things to fix at any school no matter wheree you are. I have just started reading your book the other day, it’s great.

  • Hello!
    I am Genelizette from Philippines.
    Your message from here really helps us a lot.
    Your message strengthens us especially now,our country is facing a lot of catastrophes.
    and our city is one of the devastated place here. Brothers and sisters in Christ, we really need you right now. Your prayers is our strength. Though we differ in the language that we use, I firmly believe that we are one with what we believe, and that is we shouldn’t conform with the patterns of this world and let brotherhood and the love that our God wants us to share with prevails. After the storm Ketsana wrecked our city, an epidemic of Leptospirosis is spreading in our city, lots of people died. Some people lost their hope and some are being in the state of shock and trauma. I myself was one of the victims of the storm Ketsana. But inspite of that bad experience that I encounter I never lose my hope and I still keep my faith and hold on to God alone. I believe God wants me to realize something and He is teaching us to trust Him wholeheartedly and let Him be our God.Please include us in your prayers so that many people can recover from this situation that we’re going through.

    Thank you and may our Lord Jesus Christ bless you continually.

    ” Sa Diyos ang Kapurihan”( to God be alone the Glory)

  • Christin A.!!!!!!!

    Our school is going to General Santos! do you liver near by there? That would really be the coolest thing ever if you could come and see our ministries!!! 🙂

  • Alex & Brett,I was thrilled to be able to get an Amazon Kindle edition of your book this past week-end. I especially like the feature that allows a search of different topics. When I searched for references on “obey” I was immediately led to some of your closing remarks in the book (Page 229 in hardback edition.) You made the following profound remarks on the ULTIMATE HARD THING: “What you just read is the gospel. This simple, profoundly beautiful truth has transformed millions of lives. Here is where the Rebelution comes in, because the mark of genuine transformaton is to trust God enough to obey Him, to do what you know pleases Him, even when you know it won’t please other people; to do hard things.”
    These remarks are certainly in keeping with the words of Christ,when he said in John 14:21, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me.” St. John says further in I John 2:4, “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandmentsm is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” Peter says in Acts 5:32, “We are witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.”
    Many have watered down the gospel to the point that obedience is never stressed as a doctrine. You fellows and the Rebelution are not only helping the rebellion against low expectations in the secular world, but may well have sparked a rebellion against low expatations among those who claim the name of Jesus Christ as Savior. I even have a dream that denominational barriers can begin to crumble, that we may be One in Christ, as He and the Father are one.”

  • hey…im from philippines,i have read your book “do hard things”…really great one…do you also have plans to go here in the philippines and do some conferences or seminars?Thanks,more power!!

  • hey Rey Ballaso!

    My school is going to be going to the Philippines this year for our mission trip and we are going to be doing a lot of things there, such as evanglistic stuff and meetings for youth and adults. O, and were going to General Santos. That would be the greatest thing ever if you would be able to join us!:)

  • Hi! I’m Johna, also from the Philippines. First of all, I find it pleasantly surprising to see a lot of replies here by teens from the Philippines. (Holler to ya’ll!) I would like to echo their sentiments–Alex, Brett, we would love it if you guys could conduct your Do Hard Things conference here. It would be such a great opportunity to have you guys inspire the multitudes of young people here striving to make a difference.

    To do hard things as a teenager in the Philippines is very relative. There are those who aspire to run for public office, or represent the country in one way or another, for example at an international peace or development conference. There are also those who aspire to graduate from school (the Filipino dream really is to finish one’s education), but sometimes the goal stops at that, to get one’s diploma. Still others, aspire to get a job–sometimes anything that they can–in order to send their siblings to school or to put food on the table, serving as breadwinners for their families. Economic factors kind of come to play in teenagers’ aspirations here(economic factors are greatly influenced by our long colonial history), which is inevitable. I think, though, it would be good for us to be able to rise above ourselves and our situations and see the bigger picture. This is easier said than done, but what I’m saying is that maybe our level of expectations should not depend so much on our economic backgrounds. A kid who needs to find a job to send his/her siblings to school could still aspire to get an education for his/herself, or, at the very least, find a job wherein they could use his/her God-given talents. Someone who has worked all his/her life to graduate could aspire still for a job that gives them peace of mind and through which they could serve and make use of their talents to the fullest. Still, those who have had the privilege to go to school and represent the country in international meets could take the next bigger step in giving other kids the same opportunities they themselves have had. The possibilities are endless; we may have different hard things to do, and the level of expectations may be different for everyone, but hard things are not simply what makes for triumph depending our economic background. Hard things are what we do for God’s glory.

    I emphasize economic class and background because, where I’m from, the population form a very wide range of that. And you could hear many, different aspirations of many, different teenagers, on many different levels and magnitudes–depending what class they are from. But I believe that even this is not enough to stop us from becoming the generation the Lord wants us to be and doing great things for Him. If only we could break free from the chains we see as limitations and look past them to the Lord that made us–in His image, at that–we could surely overcome the problem of low expectations in the country, throughout the nation and across the classes.

    (Alex and Brett: whenever you guys decide to come to the Philippines, we Rebelutionaries are ready here to help out! =)

    Christin A: Where in the Northern Islands? You guys keep safe, if I’m not mistaken, typhoon Ramil is headed for there right? Annnd by the way, were you the one who left a comment in my blog? =)

    Leeanna Miles: Would like to say that I live in the Philippines too, although, I’m not too sure if General Santos is close to our place. We’re at Cavite. All the best with your missions trip! Fun fact, General Santos is the hometown of Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao =p Hehe)

  • Hello guys! i am eleven and not yet a teen:) but i wanted to comment because not a hole lot of people think i will go far. in school i am terrible at math one of my friends says i won’t do anything with life because i can’t do a simple fraction without paper. but then anain my mom says i just need practice and i could be einstein…..well my dad mostly thinks my nineteen year old sister won’t do anything with herself. She has a bad BF (Boy Friend) and moved to calli. she refused colledge because the world expected nothing from her! i live in the U.S.A. and if a 11 year old can see this why doesn’t the world do something!

  • Hey Brett, Alex! unfortunetly for generations now every girl and every boy are SUPPOSED to kiss when the are 11 and it doesn’t matter who it could be a 16 year old boy! i dont want to do it but my friend already wants to kiss his girlfriend at 12! and why because his mom has never expected him to do anything else in life!

  • guys by BFF is a Ballerina and has soooooo much talent but…….her teachers ell her shes terrible they dont expect anything from her

  • One low expectation toward teens in American churches is this: teens are not expected to understand or relate to adults. In churches there are youth groups, Sunday school classes for teens, and special teen study and prayer groups. Hardly ever will you find teens in the same room as over two adults. In larger churches this is easier to find; in smaller churches, it isn’t as intense.

  • Does anyone participate in publicschool sports, but homeschool?? For me it’s a struggle. At practice, most of my friends are christians, but don’t act like. They crude sexual and racial jokes, then praise God for the beautiful day. How do you approach people like that, when your not laughing with, and how do get em back on track without being offensive or anti-friendly. I’m not saying I’m righteous, but, what do you do??

  • Yo guys, how’s it going? I’m new to the Rebelution and it has hit me hard. It think its incredible that you have asked this question because I have been thinking about it alot lately in relation to the American church. Why do we as a body of believers, an holy and beloved group of people with unimaginable power inside us in Christ, never shoot for the stars? never do hard things? never live out faith in a way that screams that Jesus is more valuable than our stuff? Call me crazy, but I think the American church can end the need for welfare in the US. We must take back the burden of the poor, downtrodden, and oppressed. Christ loved us when we had nothing to offer. We must to this same hard thing to our fellow Americans. Let me know what you think about this. Over the last few days I have been throwing this idea around at the University of Tennessee and excitement is growing. I’m convinced God wants this to happen.

  • Hey johnalene!
    Thanks for the fun fact!
    Even if you don’t live to close to General Santos, doesn’t mean that you can’t keep in touch.
    i really do hope that you can at least try!:)

  • I’m studying engineering science in one of the biggest engineering school in France. In order to get in, one has to get really high grades in high school, and once accepted, to work very hard.

    Well, these young guys and girls who are striving to master thermodynamics, chemistry and mechanics don’t find it an issue to get drunk and sleep around. Actually, these things are almost expected from students in France.

    I used to think that for me to have the “do hard things” attitude mostly meant to work hard at university and strive for excellence for the glory of God. But obviously, seeing that many do work hard but have pretty low moral standards helped me to reconsider my position. The “do hard things” attitude should include all of life, otherwise it’s worthless…

  • It’s a good thing I discovered your blog while searching for fresh ideas that will spike up my presentation a bit. Just perfect. I find the entries “refreshing.” When I read this post, I just can’t resist the urge to participate. Pardon the length of this entry.

    Here in the Philippines, the society is still quite conservative. I say quite ‘coz people are slowly on their way to liberation from feudal thinking and “ancient” principles. And most of these people are the youth. Like the rest of our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world, the youth, we, usually tend to be apathetic and passive. We still haven’t realized the power that we have. Somehow everything changed back in 2001 when the call for the impeachment of then President Estrada was at its peak. The youth marched to EDSA and protested against corruption and bad governance. And then, he was gone. Of course, there were other theories why he suffered that fate but I would like to think that it was because of the youth’s realization that “Hey, I have a role after all.” If the youth wasn’t able to realize that, at least other sectors did.

    From 2001 onwards, there’s been a constant call for the youth to take a stand and speak out. Politicians slanted their campaigns for the youth. Mass media institutions came up with different programs for the youth. Perhaps the church may have came up with something, too.

    And somehow, the constant prodding empowered the youth even more.

    Now that the presidential election is just a few months away, the hottest-up-for-grabs chunk of the market is the youth. Which I think is good. Young Filipinos are highly expected to push for change by standing up for their rights. I’m quite confident that the youth are wiser now.

    However, education and career are entirely different stories. Given that the majority of Filipinos are poor, the expectation to finish college and land a high-paying job is quite low. BUT, the expectation to provide for their families is still high. In other countries, independence is promoted. Here, dependence is cultivated. You don’t work for yourself. You work for your parents, your siblings, your relatives… The ties that bind us to our families are quite strong…So strong sometimes that it’s absurd.

    I’m not saying that we should entirely wipe that out or that it’s bad. I just hope that we find balance soon. It just breaks my heart to see young people slaving off their lives for other people. I just hope that before we voice out our opinion on what will happen to our country or the world, we’re able to decide what will happen to OUR lives. After all, the revolution starts within.

    Good night guys! I hope we all learn from each other.

  • GOOD JOB SAMUAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I think thats cool!!! Low expectations are pretty much my life. BUT God answered my prayers from last month and now i might get to go to Singapore Asia for two months on a mission trip!!!!!! I am trying to save up money to go and it IS hard but its gonna be worth it! my DAD doesn’t think i’ll do it.
    But my mom is trying to help me!

    🙂 Tiffany Allen:)
    (An eleven year old)

  • Hey guys,

    I just finished your book. I am 33 and am a full time youth pastor as well as a full time seminary student. I really appreciate all that you wrote in your book. It has really changed me and my thoughts about youth ministry. I realized that I am spoon feeding my students and doing everything for them. Even though our ministry has grown and even though I feel that my students grow in their relationship to Christ, the expectations that I have for them were really low. I decided that I was going to raise my expectations. I have given my students the opportunity to take the program and run with it. I told them that they could take care of it front to back and I would just keep handling the spiritual part for a while because I have a plan for all of them. They have decided to take me up on my deal. I am very excited to see what they do. I have a group of leaders that have stepped up to take on the responsibility of the ministry. My first challenge to them was to get your book and start reading it. I feel like the challenge and inspiration that you present will get them even more fired up. I just wanted to tell you that from a pastors standpoint, I really appreciate your book and really appreciate the spiritual aspects that you have put in it. Keep it up. God is raising up a group of radical, responsible, PASSIONATE young people for a revival in Christianity!! I want to be a tool that he uses to make that happen. Thanks again!!

    Jabo Thomas
    Youth Pastor
    Lanes Chapel UMC
    Tyler, Texas

  • Johnalene,

    I got your e mail and im excited to know if you can come and join us.

    are you considering coming? that would be so cool!:)

  • To Reid Cimala, Alex & Brett. Reid said on Oct. 22nd, “I have been thinking about it a lot lately in relation to the American church. Why do we as a body of believers, an holy and beloved group of people with unimaginable power inside us in Christ, never shoot for the stars? never do hard things? never live out faith in a way that screams that Jesus is more valuable than our stuff?”
    Some may feel that my post on Oct. 19th was rather grandiose when I said to Alex & Brett. “You fellows and the Rebelution are not only helping the rebellion against low expectations in the secular world, but may well have sparked a rebellion against low expatations among those who claim the name of Jesus Christ as Savior. I even have a dream that denominational barriers can begin to crumble, that we may be One in Christ, as He and the Father are one.”
    I believe that the statement of Alex & Brett on page 229 of their hardbound book is shooting for the stars. They wrote, “Here is where the Rebelution comes in, because THE MARK OF GENUINE TRANSFORMATION IS TO TRUST GOD ENOUGH TO OBEY HIM [capitalizations are mine.]
    If all who claim the name of Christ as Saviour and are truly desiring to do His will, were to agree on these words of the twins, I believe they would insist that this should be a foundational doctrine in a non-denominational group of Christians. those who believe that Christ meant what he promised in John 7:17, that, “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.”
    Martin Luther, who stressed that we are saved by faith, not by works, wrote the following remarks in his exposition of John 3:19, “Although faith suffices for salvation and although I attain heaven thrugh faith, it is nonetheless true that good works must issue from this faith: otherwise, faith is not genuine – – – wherever sin still holds sway, there is no forgiveness of sins and no faith in Christ.” (From Luther’s Works, Vol. 22: pg 393-4; Sermons on the Gospel 0f St. John, Chapters 1-4)

  • I am from the Caribbean island of Barbados and let me tell you, low expectations is the norm for believers and non-believers. Young Christians here think once they go to church and look holy there then they can do whatever they like during the week. But I see a rebelution beginning were more and more Christians are becoming radical for Christ and actually walking the walk and not just talking it and doing what they like behind the scenes. As a leader in my youth group at church we emphasize living to the standard of holiness that God has required everyday. I think the teens really starting to accept the hard line that needs to be taken.

    P.S. To Kay Morris: I read ur comment and just wanted to say i agree and by the way, wanting to be a stay at home mom is a very worthy pursuit. I want to do the same thing! I am working full time at 26 years of age and have excelled in the corporate world but i when my husband comes along i am going to give it up in an instant to raise my kids! You are not alone in your aspirations!

  • Hey Leeanna Miles My name is Tiffany, and i am eleven. Do you think kids like me can be missionary’s my dad said “Yah, Right.” but i feel like God is calling me to singapore were my BFF is.

  • Hey!!!!! I am eleven years old and Tiffany told me about this place and i check every-day! A low expectations line in america i think is the jobs…No ONE PERSON under the age of fifeteen is aloud to work. (besides baby sitting and stuff 🙁 )

  • Cherise said on October 30th, “I am from the Caribbean island of Barbados and let me tell you, low expectations is the norm for believers and non-believers. Young Christians here think once they go to church and look holy there then they can do whatever they like during the week. But I see a rebelution beginning were more and more Christians are becoming radical for Christ and actually walking the walk and not just talking it and doing what they like behind the scenes.”
    I believe that true repentance and belief in Jesus Christ require that we live up to the HIGH expectations of our Lord, and I am convinced that we MUST HAVE HIS SPIRIT TO DO THESE THINGS.
    Christ said (Matt. 10:37-38) “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.” Again (Luke 14:33): “He that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” I believe that it is not in our power to meet these HIGH expectations unless we have His Spirit. St. Peter said (Acts 5:33), “We are witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them THAT OBEY HIM.” And Romans 8:9 goes on to say, “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” So we must have His Spirit to do His will. Since the Spirit of Christ accomplishes the work, we have nothing of which we can boast. See Eph. 2:9 about the Spirit being a gift from the grace of God to those who truly have faith in Him.
    I believe it behooves each of us to pray earnestly for Christ to show us if we truly desire to do the will of God. Jesus made it clear in Mat. 7:21 that “Not everyone that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaen; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Our very salvation is at stake.

  • OMG! Daughter of the king and Tiffany told me bout ths place and this is cool!!! I am 11
    and well………I just wanted to say WOW and all of you guys are COOL! 😀 also I think america has a prob. wt. other ppl and how thay act

  • Hey Guys! I’m Kelsey, from Almeria, Spain. You guys asked what the expectations are like in different countries, and I just couldn’t resist!
    In Spain, the teens nowadays have extremely low expectations for life, and nobody expects much from them anyway. In my highschool, for example, one of the girls in my class was caught cheating, and instead of getting on her for cheating, the teacher got on her for not knowing how to cheat.
    Everyone is just expected to go sleep with everybody, they even hand out numbers for girls to call in case they get pregnant, and need help. When they heard that I was going to keep myself entirely for my husband, they just couldn’t understand and thought that I was a nun!
    I’ve also noticed that kids talk back to their parents as if it were no big deal. They think that honoring your parents is old fashioned, and that they know what’s best for themselves. I find it really hard to understand that the parents themselves expect less than anyone out of their own kids.
    Church is also perceived as old fashioned and boring to them. Even the Catholic Churches are almost empty on Sundays! The expectations are so low (but I guess this is just Cathlic. . .) that if you get baptized as a 6 month old and do your first comunion when you’re 8, you’re good to go!
    Here it’s all, “live life today, and get everything right tomorrow.” (but as you can guess, they never do!). I think that teens here, and all over the world are in need of a revival. They need God more than ever, and they just can’t see it.
    If you ever find time, please pray for the rebelutionaries here in Almeria. Even though we’re not many, I know that God can use anyone in anyway to accomplish anything he wants to, and that includes us!
    Alex, Brett and all of the others: Thankyou so much for everything you do, I know you hear it a lot, but you guys are doing an excelent job! Keep your eyes on Jesus!

    P.S.- Have you ever considered doing something on here in Spanish? I don’t know if you will ever be able to do a conference here in Spain, but I think that even if you can’t get over here, the teens would be really encouraged by this website if only they could understand it! Especially the modesty survey, and the “Do Hard Things” entries! If you ever wanted to, or needed help translating stuff, my sister and I could translate some things, and maybe even get the Spanish teens excited in doing some hard things for Christ! Well, just an idea!

  • OMG that sounds terible! i am soooo sorry!!!! you see though, i want to be a missionary when i grow up and that sounds like a good place 2 go!
    I never thought that life was that bad!
    Kelsy Rose, thank you soooo much if you get this comment please email me @
    [email protected] that is awfull!

  • On Nov. 13th, Kelsy Rose from Spain said, “If you ever find time, please pray for the rebelutionaries here in Almeria. Even though we’re not many, I know that God can use anyone in anyway to accomplish anything he wants to, and that includes us!”
    What a great request that is!! I personally believe that God answers the prayers of all who “hunger and thirst after righteousness,” regardless of where they live on this planet. Christ said in Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are they that do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled.”
    I truly believe that the “Doing Hard things” blog can be an instrument for conveying the high expectations of our Lord and Saviour to people like Kelsey who earnestly desire to do the will of God, and that He will make arrangements for her and others like her to be given the gift of the Holy Ghost “to them that OBEY Him,” Acts 5:32.
    Kelsey said that she and her sister could help translate some things into Spanish. What a great thing it would be to translate some of the blogs which target the high expectations of our Saviour into Spanish for her friends who may not be proficient in English. Please e-mail me, [email protected], if I can be of any personal help.

  • Oh Wow! That looks awsome! Can i help??? that sounds sooooo cool!
    oh yah and Mr. Prince, i was wondering who in the halibit do you want to email you???

  • LOW EXPECTATIONS, HERE IN THE UK ITS REALLY SAD. AT 16 TEENS ARE ALLOWED TO SMOKE. We are one of the nations with the highest teenage pregnancies only second to America. In school and Colleges free condoms are given away. Most teens get pregnant to get free housing and welfare benefits. Lots of teens on the streets committing lots of crimes and many people being bullied to the point of suicide.

    People insist this is a christian nation but only 9% attend church, most youth don’t attend youth groups because its not fun enough and when its fun they still find it top it all off the social, political system are doing their best to limit the christian voice, in the name of tolerance and fairness. Some christian are becoming weak to the point of calling themselves liberal Christians( IS THERE SUCH A THING). there IS A LOT OF BAD THINGS GOING ON AND IT SEEMS SECULARISM/HUMANISM/ATHEISM IS ON THE RISE ESPECIALLY IN THE COLLEGES(UNIVERSITIES). most PEOPLE ARE BECOMING MORE AND MORE HEDONISTIC( WANTING PLEASURE) BUT JESUS IS THE WINNER AND GREAT BRITAIN WILL RETURN TO THE LORD REVIVAL IS ON THE WAY. PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR OUR GREAT NATION AS WE HAVE ELECTIONS COMING UP MAY 2010.


  • Nikita asks if there is such a thing as a liberal Christian. Jesus said, “If we love Him we will keep His commandments” – John 14. Peter said in Acts 55:32 that God gives the Holy Ghost to them “that obey Him.” So how can we claim to be Christians when we openly break His commandments? We need to pray that Christ will show us whether we desire to do His will at all cost. Certainly we all make mistakes in our Christian walk, but I don’t believe we can blatantly continue to break His commandments and claim that we have the Holy Spirit.

  • Hi everyone! I see that there are many requests for prayer of many different issues. I will definitely pray for you all. Just know that God loves you and will never give you more than you can handle. If it feels like no one is there, know that I’m praying for each and every one of you even though I don’t know you personally. But hey, you guys are my brothers and sisters in Christ so I must look after you. None of you are alone. God Bless your hearts!

  • salut

    je cherche une fille en alsace qui s applle ROCKS elle étais dans las paques 2010 à Genèrve elle est prof anglais dans un école primaire si vous les connaissez merci des me contacter [email protected]

  • Thoughtful and interesting, thank you. I grew up in manilla but moved to england at such a young age I can hardly remember anything apart from the delicious food. I finally found some authentic Filipino recipes if you want to take a look, I thought I’d share it with you!

  • We absolutely love your blog and find most of your post’s to be exactly what I’m looking for. can you offer guest writers to write content for yourself? I wouldn’t mind producing a post or elaborating on most of the subjects you write related to here. Again, awesome web log!

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rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →