Transitioning out of the Greenhouse
Alex and Brett Harris are young men with a passion for God
and for their generation. At the age of 16, they founded one
of the most popular Christian teen sites on the internet today:
TheRebelution.com. They are the authors of Do Hard Things and main speakers for The Rebelution Tour. Alex and Brett are speaking out for God with a message to their own generation: stop wasting the teen years and rebel against the low expectations of an ungodly culture.
Brett and Alex Harris, authors, speakers and founders of the Rebelution, are currently exploring their fields at Patrick Henry College.
COURT REPORT: What was your role in your family’s “greenhouse”?
ALEX: Our father has always impressed on us Solomon’s words in Psalm 127 about “the children of one’s youth.” A special blessing comes with the children you have when you’re young. I think part of that has to do with the role older children can play in helping to raise their younger siblings.
BRETT: For Alex and me, the most influential people in our lives have been our parents. But the second most influential would be our older brothers, Josh and Joel. They were part of the greenhouse that first taught, trained, and modeled the mature Christianity our parents desire for their children. Now we get to play that same role for our three younger siblings. It’s an honor. We’re part of the family team.
CR: How do you balance a growing independence with respect for your parents as you grow older and transition out of the greenhouse? How did that transition affect your siblings and the younger generations in your community?
ALEX: As Brett and I have moved away from parents and family and into college, honoring them has meant actively seeking their input as we make important decisions, treating their counsel as weighty, and continuing to be part of the family team. Our parents have done a wonderful job of helping us transition into the cold frame of college and the field of ministry to our generation. What we hope that process has done for our siblings and other young people is demonstrate that “doing hard things” and growing up can be a real partnership between generations. It shouldn’t be an isolated, individualistic thing.
CR: How did you recognize the connection between your responsibilities as a young person and your potential to impact the world in the future?
BRETT: Our dad has always taught us that, as young people, we’re in the season of preparation. Alex and I encourage teens to do hard things and impact the world for Christ as young people, but the goal is not to be great teens, the goal is to prepare for a lifetime of effectiveness in God’s service. Faithfulness in this season of life prepares us to step into the next season with strength. That’s why Alex and I chose to go to college. It wasn't because we don’t have other things we could be doing—or that we’re continuing to do—but because this is the best time we’ll ever have to focus, study, and prepare. If we desire to be used by God, we can’t be shortsighted.
CR: Your dad talks about finding the Solomon in your field. How did you find your field to begin with?
ALEX: We were blessed to have almost been born into the field we’re working in now. We’re a family of speakers, writers, and teachers, so in a way, Brett and I have Solomons all around us in our parents and older brothers. Being able to stand on their shoulders has been an amazing thing. That’s how the greenhouse should work, too. We want to serve our younger siblings in that same way, helping them identify their unique gifts and develop them to their full potential.
CR: TheRebelution.com is about encouraging other young people to transition out of the greenhouse. Can those who have gotten older without tasting that weight of responsibility jump into the hardening process at a later stage? How can parents help ignite a fire in these young people for what they can contribute to their families, the kingdom of God, and the world?
BRETT: It’s never too late to do hard things. Responsibility is like a muscle, so while you can’t just flip a switch when you turn 21 or decide you want to get married, you can grow and strengthen and harden—that’s what it means to transition out of the greenhouse. Even for young people who don’t put off responsibility, the switch from greenhouse to cold frame to field doesn't happen at the same time for everyone. Every child is different. What’s hard for one might not be hard for another. The key to growth is to do what is hard for you. Our parents, and later our older siblings, modeled what it meant to do what was right, even when it was hard. They showed us what it meant to serve God and impact the world for Christ. And they included us in what they were doing. That fired us up more than anything.