Whenever I hear of a theft, a cheating incident, a violent act, an act of unkindness, an assault or a dishonest act, I will say to myself, “What values, indeed do these people have?” The reason why I say this is because I believe that if we uphold the right values we would not commit acts that would hurt others. If businesses and corporations maintained good values, their staff and clients would be happy and they would work to make the world a better place. When we have values, we recognize the difference between right and wrong. With values we consistently apply the principles of right conduct in all that we do.

Definition and Examples

What are values? Defined as principles or standards of behaviour, values are our own judgment of what is important in life. Here are some examples of values.

Integrity, Reliability, Honesty, Humility, Patience, Kindness, Caring, Loyalty, Respect, Courage,Service, Fairness, Tolerance, Courtesy, Love, Equality, Compassion, Non-Violence, Generosity, Excellence.

Where Do We Get Our Values?

Our parents and our family are the first people who instill values in us. They give us the foundation which is later strengthened by our teachers. Our values are further developed by other role models. These are the ones who appear in the media and will be people we admire. As the media is so pervasive today, I believe that parents can help by discussing with their children incidents which occur and about their role models. Conduct your discussions as you sit round a table at mealtimes. Rational, logical debates are very good for everyone.

Encourage young people to read. My childhood and school days were filled with much reading. The stories we read as children taught us about what is right and what is wrong. Later we read literary classics and we gained much from knowing about good and evil. Legends and heroes and heroines fired our imagination as we learned about their exploits. Novels portray characters that, for example, are both good and evil, strong and weak, kind and mean, generous and selfish. We become more conscious of what we want to be and what values we wish to cultivate.

With the expansion of media, children can acquire values from films, television and even video games. They will see characters in all forms here and they will be exposed to a range of values. One way to ensure that they recognize good values is to be in constant communication with them. Ask them what they think about these characters and their values.

Why We Need Values

Values direct the way we behave and they are responsible for why we do the things that we do. They are even the reason why we attract or are attracted to certain individuals. Values guide us when we confront problems. They influence the way we live, the attitudes we maintain and they motivate us to perform. Values are what we believe in and for which we will fight.

They give our life meaning. They provide a structural framework for us to hold on to as we go through life. They guide us when we face challenges and this helps us to cope and manage the challenges. Not only do values guide us but they can inspire and propel us to higher levels. Values prompt us to move forward with vigour and to achieve significant results.

Some writers have described values as the wheels which drive our decisions. Our decisions are easier to make when we have values as the values enable us to focus on the issue at hand. Things become much clearer and we can take appropriate action. Knowing your values will help you to live a happier life because you will conduct your life according to what you consider is vital.

Your Personal Values.
You can develop your own list of personal values. In one of his books, Steven Covey suggests that everyone and every family should have a set of values. All you need to do is to list as many values as you can think. To decide on what values are important to you, reflect on situations and people. Consider how you would respond in a particular situation.

Visualize your future. Look at your life in total. Consider your work, your personal life and your community involvement. Ask yourself what you wish to achieve and what you consider is important. This will help you to determine some values you consider important.

What principles and beliefs do you consider important? Think of people you admire and their qualities. For example, if Nelson Mandela is someone you admire, ask yourself what are the characteristics that he had which you admire…being magnanimous, for example?

From this exercise draw the list of values that you favour. Sort the values in terms of priority. Prepare your list and print the list. Place it somewhere that you can see. Check, from time to time, to see that you are practising the listed virtues satisfactorily.

Values for the Present

I would like to end this post by stating the values that Colin Greer believes we need for the present. In his book, The Power of Character he said, “We must emphasise empathy and idealism to heal and repair the world; courage and discipline to take action and adhere to the principle of doing no harm; honesty and loyalty to bring a forgiving attitude to our affairs and make human lives more valuable than things. Finally we must bring compassion to our action in the world.”


  1. Like to share with you the values of the Fruit of the Spirit :
    love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

    This is what I grew up with – and still need to put into practise over and over again.

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