Traditional Values


Traditional values are alive and well in this modern world. 

Prospective parents are expressing with increasing clarity which features attract them to consider Calvin Christian School for their children. Four reasons predominate: 

  • Being a Christian school;

  • Having a reputation for both academic standards and duty of care;

  • Having a holistic approach; and,

  • Upholding traditional values.

These families have conducted their research and are articulate on the school’s prominent standing in all four of these areas. 

They express their belief that the clear link between all of these outcomes is a value-driven approach around traditional values of a disciplined environment. It is beyond clear that parents are strongly favouring a values-driven approach that they perceive as being eroded in the modern world. Preserving values from generation to generation is a difficult task. However, it is vital for the health of our families, school, community and society at large. The preservation of respect for individuals and authority are two contested value positions. 

The challenge for parents and teachers is that the values we are teaching are all too often very different to those of contemporary youth culture. It is valuable and proper that each generation has its own identity. This is best demonstrated and identified through the generational connection to different genres of popular music. Mozart might be timeless, but the sound of the 1970s is vastly different to the that of today. Classics are timeless, but hits may be popular for a time only. Differences in generational values were once a slight variation on a theme. Changes we once witnessed were only a shift of emphasis around a common thread of generational values. It now is tempting to consider that the core values are altering. For example, honesty was always the best policy. Now, ensuring loyalty and alignment to friends has become paramount, regardless of veracity.

So, I pose the question, ‘What do we and our children have in common with a frog and a fish?’

The answer is provided by two old philosophical chestnuts. 

Question: How do you boil a frog? Answer: Place it in cold water and raise the temperature gradually until the frog is boiled. It will not notice the temperature change. 

Question: Does a fish know what it is like to live in water? Answer: Probably not as it doesn’t know anything different?

Each year Beloit College in the USA releases the Mindset List, which was originally prepared by Ron Nief, Director Emeritus of Beloit College Public Affairs; Tom McBride, Professor Emeritus of English; and Charles Westerberg, Brannon-Ballard Professor of Sociology. The purpose of the list was to remind teachers that they must adjust their cultural references in their explanations.

For example, the students commencing their first year of university this September in the USA are mostly 18 years of age and were born in 1999

  1. These students are the first generation for whom a phone has been primarily a video game, direction finder, electronic telegraph, and research library.

  2. eHarmony has always offered an algorithm for happiness.

  3. There have always been emojis to cheer us up.

  4. It is doubtful that they have ever used or heard the high-pitched whine of a dial-up modem.

  5. Whatever the subject, there’s always been a blog for it.

  6. Women have always scaled both sides of Everest and rowed across the Atlantic.

  7. Bill Clinton has always been Hillary Clinton’s aging husband.

Their cultural soup is of a very different flavour to that of their parents. 

Traditional values can be lost in the passing of one generation. Our position, and the Christian position, is to maintain these values as fundamental to the tradition that has Christ at the centre. Calvin has a reputation for fostering traditional values. So, let us continue our vigilance and be careful to notice subtle changes over time. Let us consider the cultural and social environment within which we live, not allowing distractions and shifting societal norms to cause us to lose track of our Christian principles. Let’s continue to faithfully encourage and instil these values in the next generation.

Iain Belôt - Principal