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Values—What Are They?

They are talking about it on the evening news. Bookstores have shelves of books on this topic. What is it? Family values! Everyone is talking about family values. Have you ever stopped to think about what these words mean?

Values are the family's ideas or strong personal beliefs about what is important and what is not; what is good and what is bad; what is right and what is wrong. Each family has a different set of values that are meaningful to them. Some families count honesty and friendship as important values. Other families choose education or cooperation as their top family values.

Many families don't stop to think about their values. They may not explore how their values fit in today's world. Yet, values chosen by a family affect...

Values give meaning and direction to every part of the family's life.

Most values develop through living in a specific family and culture. As children grow they are exposed to other people's values at school, the playground, and social events. They may be confused by the different values. Parents need to talk about their family values and why these particular things are important to their family. They also need to help children learn to respect the values of others.

Values may change throughout a lifetime. A family is laying an important foundation for their child’s values to grow when they:

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