What moral values are presented in The Swiss Family Robinson?

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  • A work ethic.  The father is constantly in motion, always leading his family on to the next task.  He chides his sons when they are lazy, and teases them for sleeping in.  The mother too is constantly working on projects which will benefit the family, which is a large part of the reason that the father calls her an "excellent wife."  All members of the family show initiative at different points, building, making, or discovering things on their own. 
  • Honoring God.  The father, we learn from the introduction, is a pastor.  He leads his family in morning prayers every day. If any of them say anything that is flippant or verging on blasphemy, he gives a stern rebuke. He urges them to trust God when they are still on the ship and thinking they might die.  He frequently thanks God for the good things provided for them on the island, and he makes it a point that the family will have a Sabbath once a week, where they rest all day and have a worship service.
  • Curiosity.  The father is apparently a naturalist by hobby.  He is interested in science, and is constantly learning about the world.  From his point of view, being shipwrecked on a tropical island presents a marvelous opportunity for him to observe up close the exotic plants and animals that he has read about, and for him to encourage his sons to explore and learn about the natural world.  He is often pointing interesting phenomena out to them, and when they find an object of interest, he allows them to keep it. 
  • Courage and fortitude.  The family face many dangers  and discomforts, especially when they are first shipwrecked.  The father always encourages his sons to be courageous, not to shrink back from tasks that seem dangerous or daunting, and not to whine and complain when they experience something unpleasant (such as being pinched by a lobster).  He takes them on several expeditions that are very risky, but prove very rewarding for the family, such as exploring new parts of the island or venturing back to the wreck of the ship to get more supplies. 
  • Humility.  The father immediately rebukes his sons if they begin to boast or gloat over one another.  He reminds them that they are not solely responsible for their accomplishments.  He also warns them (in his Sunday sermon) not to coast on their natural abilities.
  • Mercy.  Other things being equal, the father prefers that his sons not hurt or kill animals on the island, unless there is a good reason for it.  He also makes it a point to search for the ship's crew as soon as possible, to see if they might have made it to the island and be in need of help.  The crew had abandoned the family on the wrecked ship, but as far as the father is concerned, this does not take away from the family's duty to render help if needed. 
  • Affection and fun.  Despite their very disciplined lifestyle and despite (or perhaps because of) their deep respect for authority, the Robinson family show a lot of affection for each other and a healthy sense of fun.  They are often laughing at silly things that happen, despite being in a survival situation.  The father is intentional about building a family culture; for example, in one chapter he encourages his sons to come up with names for all the places they have discovered on the island. 

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