Values can be defined as the worth, merit or esteem which a person, individual or group of people in the society or communities have for objects or an idea. For example, when someone says, “I value my life” or “I value my certificate;” its means that such person cherish or loves his life and his certificate. Values therefore hold attraction for us and we cherish to possess them.

“What has value is actually valuable or good, as opposed to what is regarded as valueless or worthless. Values are good; they are things that are right, obligatory, beautiful, true, or even morally acceptable.”


Kinds or Types of Values

There are many types of values; some of them are as follows:

  1. Positive Values: Positive values apply to things or qualities which are good, desirable or worthwhile. For example, students that respect the constituted authority of their school, their seniors or elders, even classmates can be said to have positive values. Other examples of positive values include: gratitude, truthfulness, sincerity, hard work, obedience etc.
  2. Negative Values: This is the direct opposite of positive values. They are usually undesirable, unacceptable or worthless values that the society frowns at. For example, a disobedient student and truant is said to have a negative value. Other negative values are: ingratitude, lying, theft, armed-robbery, cultism, improper dressing like sagging, fraudulent acts, etc.
  3. Intrinsic Values: Something has intrinsic value when it is good or desirable for its own sake. For example, good music, beautiful flowers, exciting novels, designer dresses, handset brand names, type of house and other has a primary value of giving satisfaction or joy to the bearer or owner.
  4. Instrumental or Extrinsic Values: This is the value that we attach to an object or something that can be used for achieving another thing. For example, a sharp knife, pop music, a smart phone etc. In case of a knife, we can use it for cutting an object; we can dance to pop music. Also, a good smart phone, apart from calling can be used to browse the internet and do basic computing tasks.
  5. Absolute Values: Absolute values are values that are not conditioned or that do not stick to a time, place or circumstances. They are always positive, good and worthwhile. They are always referred to as external and universal values. They hold positive and good at all places, circumstances all the time. Examples of such values are: trust, honesty, hardwork, discipline, tolerance, obedience etc.
  6. Relative Values: This type of value depends on time, place or circumstance. This means that situation and current happenings will determine the direction of affairs. For example, killing is bad and it is an act that the people frown at, but what of euthanasia (mercy killing) or killing a person to save one’s life. The case of an armed robber that raids a house and in the process was killed is another good example of relative value.


Manifestation of Values

All over the world and particularly in Nigeria, we cherish most of the following:

  1. Our life: Even the lunatic would move away from an oncoming vehicle and avoid other dangerous objects. Life is of great value in all human societies; even the lives of certain creatures like dog, cow, sheep, cat, pigeons etc, are considered sacred. Other endangered animals like the rhinoceros; Bengali, Bonobo ape etc. are protected and valued. This is because life has to do with existence and survival. We must therefore not toil with our life.
  2. Good Health: Human beings and even the lower animals can exist and survive only with good health. Our life therefore depends on good health care, good environment, clean environment, good sanitation habit, proper usage of drugs etc. Effort should be made to shun all acts that can bring about ill health and diseases such as: drug abuse, smoking, drunkenness, carelessness, unbalanced diet, unhealthy diet and other unclean habits. Therefore, whatever actions and behaviour that can promote good health are valued. Health is wealth; an unclean person is usually unhealthy; spends more buying medicine and may die as a result of serious illness. Effort therefore should be made to promote good and healthy living.
  3. Humanity: It is often said that “man is created in God’s image”. Being human being therefore is one of the greatest values. Human beings can reason and manipulate his environment towards his satisfaction. Men and women should therefore contribute positively towards making the society a better place to live.
  4. One’s Family: Every human must have originated from a family; the family beingthe first agent of socialization. Nigerians are proud of their family’s name and hence, they do everything possible not to drag their family name in the mud. In the Nigerian society, children who bring disgrace to their family names are rejected and disowned. Family name, history, traditions, inheritance, status are cherished. Wayward children that drag their family name into the mud is regarded as omo-ale in Yoruba land. All other communities in Nigeria have a way of protecting their values and dealing with deviant behaviour among their members.

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