In the context of personal character, values are intangible qualities that are regarded as worth possessing due to their usefulness, importance or desirability. Virtually all values are morally relative in the sense that a particular value may seem good and beneficial to one person and yet be outright bad or inimical to others. So, values can be moral or otherwise depending on who is making the judgment. Moral values refer to a set of positive standards and principles that tend to guide or determine how a person distinguishes right from wrong, thus regulating his behaviours and choices. Great moral values have one thing in common – they dignify, enhance and protect life for the good of all.
There are three major sources from which we derive our moral values. One of these is from society and government. The customs, cultures and traditions of society as well as the laws enacted by governments all together shape and define the moral values of individuals within the community, whether we are looking at a small town, state, nation or the global community. Events as well as cultural and legal changes inevitably result in changes in the general moral value. Another source of moral value is religion, ideology or creed. The belief system or philosophical leanings of individuals leave in them a set of codes and list of dos and don’ts which shape and concretize their sense of good and evil, right and wrong. In spite of some of its variants with contradictory showings, Christianity rises well above all other religions and philosophies in going beyond a system of dos and don’ts, emphasizing a vital relationship with God through His Son and setting moral values that clearly transcend society’s mores and man’s selfish instincts. A final source from which moral value is derived is from within one’s own self. There is an innate, instinctive tendency to, from within one’s self, distinguish right from wrong. Evidence of this is ably demonstrated by toddlers who watch their parent before going for or against an instruction. As knowledge increases and an individual grows from childhood to adulthood, he strengthens his ability to make choices between the forbidden and acceptable, kind or cruel, generous or selfish, from within his own self. This ability, though untaught, is usually modified or tamed by the earlier two sources of moral values.
My moral values have been largely influenced by my family upbringing, that is, what my parents taught me while growing up and my strong Christian faith. In addition to this, however, there is considerable contribution from my education, personal experience, my appreciation of how government works and cultural integration in our global village of diverse but same humanity. It may not be possible to list them all but the core of my moral values are represented by these few: integrity, love, courage, respect, obedience, responsibility, kindness, fairness, humility, politeness and modesty.
Moral values are only truly valuable when put into action. The essence of knowing and cultivating fine moral values is not to hold them deep within but to put them into action whenever and wherever they are required.
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