Living our Quaker values
Friends Schools place a priority on teaching the values felt necessary for leading a life of service in the community. We seek to encourage our children to explore their individuality and their responsibility as school community members in the framework of a person of faith. Friends School staff seek to permeate the whole of our school life in each classroom with these values. The school staff seek to reward those who enhance the life of our school community and to encourage better behavior from those whose actions or words are unacceptable to us.
Allied to the Ethics Program is the Community Service Program which aims at helping students to develop a strong sense of affiliation to their community. As a child progresses through each school campus, he or she is encouraged to learn from and support those who are less fortunate than themselves and to expect to play a part in service to the community. The International Baccalaureate program includes this element as a necessary component for the successful completion of the Certificate or Diploma.
We also have the Chapel program, where weekly attendance has become an important part of Friends School experience. All Chapel events begin with some time of silence and reflection. These short periods of quiet are given to remind us all of the presence of God in our lives and in the community. They provide a little time to learn to lay aside the business of our lives and relationships and be still.
The Chapel program is designed to provide an opportunity for students to share in the celebration of the life of the school and the gifts that students bring to life in the School community. It may also be used to manage or reflect upon events which affect our lives together. The program may from time to time re-inforce the history of our school and our land, hear directly from our graduates about their successes and failures, learn something of our Quaker culture and tradition and reflect any aspect of our life and times together which is best heard as a gathered community. Friends School makes every effort to make these occasions special and memorable.
What follows is a statement of our school values and their implications:
To be honest and truthful in all that we say and do. This challenge ranges over the management of our financial affairs, our tax obligations to government, our dealing with the law in our community and in all the words that we use in writing or in speech in our communication with others. We should not allow the strength of our convictions to betray us into making statements that are not true or are unfair.
To live simply is not to buy what we do not need or cannot afford. This challenge is based on the principle of leading a life free of ostentation and unnecessary luxury. This relates to proper stewardship of the world’s resources, conserving those resources, valuing them and using them when required and only out of necessity. This embodies a concern for the effects of our personal and collective behavior on the global economy and on our environment.
To acknowledge in our lives those emotions, attitudes and prejudices which lie at the roots of destructive conflict. To faithfully maintain our witness that war and the seeds of war are inconsistent with our understanding of the love of God. We should stand firm in this testimony even when others commit or prepare to commit acts of violence. We should acknowledge that those who do prepare for or commit acts of violence are also children of God.
To behave towards others as we would expect others to behave towards us. This principle has within it no discrimination between gender, race, economic class or social position. There should be no special treatment afforded to any person that would be not afforded to another unless there are open and transparent reasons for so doing. We stand by the testimony of marriage as a union between one man and one woman each equal before God.
To respect the diversity among us in our lives and relationships. We should refrain from making judgments about the life journeys of others. This implies that all individuals should be accorded freedom of belief and expression in political, social and religious matters. We should expect individuals to speak their mind even if we find that uncomfortable. We will need to examine ideas that we disagree with or find difficult or challenging and express our own point of view openly and honestly. We should not be afraid of disagreement and should not let any disagreement cause us to behave badly towards another but accept it as an example of our diversity. We should trust that God is Love and Truth and his work in us over time will find agreement among us.
To take the fullest opportunity as it arises for the use of our gifts in the service of God and the community. We should use this injunction wisely. It is not required of us that we should be constantly busy. It may be wise to cease our service activity or to change the direction of our service completely. We should be guided by God’s will for us and attend to what Love requires of us.
To live our lives in such a way that we are open to inspiration and new ideas which challenge the way we think and act. We should explore God’s world acknowledging that our journeys in it could always go further than the boundaries that we set ourselves. There is inspiration to be found all around us, in the natural world, in the sciences and the Arts, in our work and in our friendships, in our sorrows as well as our joys. We should be open to new ideas from whatever sources they may come but we should also approach all new ideas with discernment seeking to enrich and understand our lives together in all that we do. Listen to the promptings of love and truth in our hearts.
To be disciplined and respectful in our behavior towards others and in the exercise of our responsibility towards our family and community. To employ the disciplines of reasoned argument and logical process to problem solving recognizing that reason and logic are important tools in understanding our universe. To know when to exercise sensitivity, creativity and lateral thinking in relation to others and the world around us. To respect our bodies knowing that we are God’s creation.
To so order our lives that we expect a just and compassionate community in the life of the School. We seek to banish fear and to encourage a sense of security. We seek to promote a sense of belonging and group responsibility particularly when disruptive behavior in the classroom, corridors or playground occurs or when behavior that damages good relationships between people needs correction. We also wish as a community to welcome behavior that supports and encourages growth towards the ideals of the School.