Choosing my values

Published: 25th October 2012 12:12 PM  |   Last Updated: 25th October 2012 12:12 PM   |  A+A-


Sunil has integrity; he gave credit to his team when they won the match and did not hog the limelight”… “Kamini is honest, she owned up for taking the library book without permission. What courage...!”

“Rashid is so disciplined; he is clear about his time set aside for work and play. He said a clear ‘No’ when his friends invited him to come to the bar to celebrate the last day in college….”

Have we not heard the above lines many a time in our class? Attributes such as honesty or discipline often indicate admirable qualities in a person. These are values that describe certain qualities or attitudes that are often universal — whether a person is wealthy or poor, living in a metro or village, educated or not, the standards are usually the same. A person’s norm of what is ‘proper’ or a ‘favourable’ attitude is often based on the way he or she wishes others to treat him or her. Some values can be result-oriented and can vary according to different cultures.  

Many of us in schools or colleges look up to our parents, teachers or elders around us and hold them in high esteem and often adopt these values as adults. For example, when parents are punctual, children model their behaviour on theirs and value time. The same applies to daily hygiene. Value-based education can be a part of our curriculum and are building blocks that nurture our skills to deal with the journey of life. We can make a conscious choice about what values we want to internalise and how we want to use them in our lives. Having core values is a part of requisite life skills and makes life easy.  

Just preaching values and not practising them in our daily lives can be conflicting and often, many of us may not be aware and may confuse those living with us. For example, the teacher may be rude to his or her students and may be upset when they are rude and answer back. If we do not recognise the worth of a value, it cannot become a part of our lives.

Many of us consider education and knowledge as an important value and may put hard work into our studies. Values that are imbibed in childhood often continue into adulthood.

Values may harm: The schools we go to and the friends we have play a role in shaping our values as we may model ourselves on a person whose qualities we like and we imbibe those. For instance, if we have friends who lie to their parents we may internalise the value of being dishonest as we like the person so much.

Or if we are at a party and many misuse alcohol and tobacco, we could put aside our own private values and do what the rest do.  What helps is open communication and discussion to clarify values between us, our friends, counsellors  and family.

Below is a list of values and there can be many more. Choose three values that you prioritise as being important reflecting on why you think they are important. Start practising them today.


*Hard work



*Respect for elders

*Being on time or punctual.


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