We often hear the older generation say that the present generation have lost our values. Have you ever thought about values? What are values? How are values imbibed? Have we really lost our values? What can we do to get back our lost values?
oxforddictionaries.com defines Values as Principles or standards of behaviour, while the Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary (International Student’s Edition) defines Values as beliefs about what is right and wrong and what is important in life.This means that values provide us with a set of guidelines by which we live our lives. They dictate our behaviour and the actions we take.
As humans, we have the freedom of choice to decide what is right and what is wrong.
Values are inculcated to us in a number of ways; through family, through interactions at school, interacting with friends, etc.
The family is the first place where values are inculcated in us. The family, often defined as the basic unit of society is where we learn to say our first words and learn what is appropriate and in appropriate behaviour. For instance if you grew up in a setting where foul and insulting language was used, you are most likely to use such language freely no matter where you find yourself.
As we grow up, we begin to interact with the society or community we find ourselves in. At this point in time we meet others who could have values that are at variance with what we picked up from our families. Many of us are familiar with instances where we went to secondary school with friends and saw them transform into different characters when they interacted with others. Peer pressure plays a great role in making us copy values that we are not originally brought up with.
Even adults are susceptible to picking up both positive and negative values from other adults. One of the places where adults pick up new values is at the work place. These days many people spend more time at the work place than they do with their families.
We can pick up values at any point in our lives. For me, as a Christian, the bible should be my guide as to what kind of values I need in my life.
Here is a biblical reference that speaks about selected values:
There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community
In this reference, the values of honesty, respect, selflessness, love, humility, kindness, self-control, forgiveness etc. are highlighted.
No matter what values you were brought up with, what values you picked up as you grew up, those you are learning now, always ask yourself if those values are in consonant with what God expects of you.
Pascaline K. Songsore (Ms.)
Author of Everyday Values for Sunday School Children