In her book, Protocol Matters, author Sandra Boswell writes, “For Christians, the purpose of protocol . . . is the development of relationships, self-discipline, and kind behavior toward others.” As any parent knows, inculcating such behavior takes a deliberate effort, as we all naturally tend to think more of ourselves than of others.
Protocol at Providence includes training sessions that instruct students in appropriate behavior in social situations. Young men learn how to honor young ladies by showing deference and courtesy; young ladies learn how to dress, converse, and act in a way that honors Christ and shows appreciation to the young man.
Students eagerly anticipate Protocol every year – an opportunity to get dressed up, to spend a night out with friends and family, and to engage in a formal cultural and community event. It is not “Christian Prom.” Our Freshman and Sophomores attend dinner at a nice restaurant followed by a cultural performance. Our Juniors and Seniors attend dinner at an elegant restaurant in downtown Seattle followed by a high quality cultural performance.
The purpose is not to promote dating or exclusive relationships, but rather to train up our young men and women in a safe social setting to act in a way that honors a member of the opposite sex, ultimately teaching them skills and behaviors that will make them better citizens, better spouses, better parents. Unlike a typical prom, parents and other adults play an active role in the event, providing mentoring and guidance.