Value Systems and Beliefs
value system - (n) 1) an organized set of personally held ideals or principles; 2) a group of internalized beliefs and character traits
beliefs - (n) a state of mind which trusts or places confidence in some person, tenet, or thing
As young people develop intellectually and socially they adopt a personally held set of beliefs about themselves and their world. At first these personal beliefs and principles align with those held by significant adults in their lives–parents, grandparents, teachers, pastors, etc. Group affiliations such as school, church, and other youth groupings also affect the ideals that give an individual identity. Growing maturity tests and confirms (or discards) many beliefs and ideals into a systematic set of personal values and character traits.
Within the Seventh-day Adventist educational system, there are a number of beliefs and expectations held in common. Many doctrinal beliefs are congruent with other Christian belief systems, but some are unique to our history and our understanding of truth. As individuals develop they create their own unique relationship to the beliefs and values assumed by the system. Educators have considerable influence in the value system formation of young people. The challenge for educators is to encourage students to internalize beliefs that are of known value to the community of faith. It is a difficult, but important task, requiring educators to walk the fine line between respect for the very individualized task of developing a personal value system and the need to support community and institutional values.