The values which previously sustained people have to be applied in new ways in the reality of the present-day technological, urban world. Although the people of some communities continue to honour widely recognized values of the past, the application of past values to the actual situations in other communities may be felt inappropriate by many residents. Widespread attachment to the land, for example, seems out of place when agricultural enterprise requires more acreage and fewer people than ever before, and when a large farm that once supported 20 families now needs only five individuals to operate and maintain its advanced agricultural machinery. The traditional expectation that a family should care for its own home and grounds is complicated in rural communities by the fact that much available housing is dilapidated far beyond what even the most skilled home handyman could repair alone. Further, there is no way to deal with community sewage, public areas, or zoning ordinances on an individual family basis. The traditional qualities of warmth and graciousness, which work well when relationships are close and personal, seem to have nearly disappeared in the realities of today's job market, an arena in which they are greatly needed: some people cite discriminatory hiring practices, while others speak of insolence in everyday encounters. All this indicates that traditional values are not being applied, or are being applied inappropriately, to an unprecedented community milieu.
Social structures have changed dramatically and often painfully during the past 40 years. Only when a community finds ways of applying its traditional values in ways appropriate to its new situation will it demonstrate that it is seriously committed to a new future.