Yarra values

There has been a great deal of talk in the political domain about shared values. People coming to Australia, if they are as fortunate as us to get here are challenged to subscribe to a uniquely Australian set of values. Whilst there has been some lack of clarity about exactly what these values might be, the general consensus is that they should include something about mateship and a fair go. This begs quite a number of questions. Who are our mates? Who deserves a fair go? On what basis do we decide who is worthy of such laudable Australian virtues? Is the notion and application of a fair go selective? Selective virtue is a very interesting morality. There is a certain irony in much of the discussion as politicians enter the values debate with gusto whilst cautioning church leaders not to dabble in politics…

There is a good case in certain circumstances for a commonly agreed set of values by which a group may live and work together. Here at Yarra we subscribe to a commonly held set of beliefs, customs and practices which assist us to live and work together, hopefully for a common set of goals. Whilst there must be room for individuals to both express their individuality and grow as individuals, there is also an imperative to know and understand some basic assumptions or truths about who we are and why we are here. In this way, a shared understanding leads to shared practices which identify what is important and what we need to do to make it happen. Not everything is subjective…there must be some objective truths.

We value:
Excellence and endeavour
Respect and integrity
Creativity and compassion
Community, service and leadership
Safety and wellbeing
Our Christian ethos and our Anglican tradition
(Yarra Valley Grammar Mission Statement)

We are challenged to think well of each other. We are called to look for the good rather than search for fault. We are taught to care rather than condemn and act rather than ignore. Neither can we be selective in our understanding of virtue. There are indeed challenges as we often fall short of our aspirations. Surely though it is better to know what is right and good even if we sometimes fail to live it? It is when we no longer aspire to greater things that we lower our gaze and expect and get the lesser. We don’t have exclusive rights to the virtues of justice, integrity and compassion, but over 50 plus years of educating the young we should at least be reasonably good at trying…
Dr Mark Merry