The Consequences of Watershed Issues on High School Curriculum

by May 3, 2020

The beauty of the snow-capped peaks along the continental divide in the Rocky Mountains is awe-inspiring. The snowdrifts formed by the wind throughout the winter create beautiful formations and smooth fields of deep snow whose untouched serenity inspires and refreshes the heart. Despite the beauty, each year the temperature eventually rises and the snow begins to melt. The snow that was once such a uniform display of beauty at the mountain’s crest melts and runs off one side of the slope or the other. The combination of the forces of gravity and the contours of the land divide the resulting water that was initially very close together. On one side, the water accumulates in various tributaries and rivers eventually traveling to the Gulf of Mexico, while on the other the water funnels into the Pacific Ocean.

Francis Schaeffer used a similar picture of a watershed in the Alps to illustrate the importance of foundational issues. Foundational issues are those that define the “watersheds” for our lives and our cultures. It is often the case that differences in opinion about foundations seem mundane and trivial to most observers. However, the decision to be on one side or the other of foundational issues is anything but insignificant. This is true because such issues logically force you to move in one direction or the other. Moreover, it is not until the forces of time and logic drive us to see where our positions ultimately lead us that we understand the impact of those decisions.

Many of us are alarmed as we see our culture becoming more and more accepting of policies that deny the sanctity of life, limit the free exercise of religion, erode our right to privacy, and continue to infringe on the right to private property. However, becoming active in many of these “causes” can feel like trying to stem the flow of the Mississippi and divert it to the Pacific Ocean. We may be able to transport some of the water there bucket by bucket, but the general flow of the river to the Gulf of Mexico is relentless as it presses on despite our efforts.

The snow that was once only inches apart at the mountain peak ended up in completely different places because of the natural forces of geography, gravity, and time. Similarly, choices we make on watershed issues will take us to very different places because of interplay with the natural forces that God built into his universe. Until we see the watershed issues and the natural laws with which they interact clearly, we will never really be able to stem the tide.

The consequences involved are much deeper and more significant than we typically acknowledge. Curriculum that does not begin with this foundation can unwittingly hinder students’ abilities to understand the nature of their world. Perhaps there is no area of greater confusion in our culture today than political economythe political choices we make that affect how wealth is produced and distributed. Boundary Stone’s purpose is to create curriculum and tools to help you more effectively teach from this natural law perspective. These tools will enable you to teach economics, government, and history in a way that builds a strong foundation. This foundation is necessary to equip people to recognize the real solutions to today’s economic and political issues. Without it, we find ourselves struggling to divert the water in the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean.

Paul Cleveland

Boundary Stone was started by Dr. Paul Cleveland. Working as a professor for over 35 years has allowed him to study and think deeply about issues of political economy. He has discovered ways to communicate these sometimes illusive concepts to today's students, often through story telling, which makes understanding these principles more accessible to all of us.


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