Value describes why people act they do. Your values or the values of your family will normally move you to do certain things.


Meanings of values and life styles

Value is the worth placed on an item. Value cannot be seen. Values are beliefs, feelings or ideas of what is important, desirable and good.

Life style is the particular way of life of a person or a family or a nation. It is a clear and concise view of the kind of living that will bring satisfaction to a person, or group/family, and to other people necessary to make that life style satisfying.


Types of values

Values can be classified in many ways. Here we will classify values into three groups:

  1. Intrinsic values: These are values that are important for their own sake. They are higher values. Examples of intrinsic values are love, aesthetics, freedom, truth, human dignity, etc.
  2. Instrumental values: These are values that help you to achieve the intrinsic or high values. Examples are, orderliness and efficiency, which can help you achieve aesthetic value in your home. Others are convenience, hardwork, leisure, companionship, etc.
  3. Values that have intrinsic and instrumental worth: These are important for their own sake and can help you in achieving the higher values. Examples are comfort, health, knowledge, religion, ambition, art, trust, honesty.


Types of life styles

There are different ways of classifying life styles. Life styles are made up of ways of life of a person or group. It can be classified based on:

  1. Roles and roles combination: e.g. employers and employees, parents, spouse, student. Each may have different ways of life. The different ways are based on the roles performed by each person.
  2. Consumer practices: Some people may be conspicuous consumers, others may be moderate, as seen in the types of housing decisions made by families, types of food, clothing, etc ., which people choose.
  3. Occupation and employment patterns: A person’s occupation and employment pattern will normally influence how he/she does a thing that is the life styles. For instance, bankers, lawyers, doctors, teachers, judges, business people, all have different life styles as a result of their professions.


Importance of value system to the individual, family and society

Importance of value to the individual

Your value system is made up of the set of values you have. Your value system is important to you in the following ways:

  1. A value system helps you make decisions.
  2. Values provide motivation. This means your values can force you to do certain things. For instance, if you value education, you study to pass your examination instead of attending parties.
  3. Values control behaviour. Your values can control how you express your sexuality.
  4. Clear values provide confidence and strength. For instance, when confusion arises in your life, your values can help you to resolve issues.
  5. Values bring consistency to your outlook and actions. If you have strong value system, people know what to expect from you in a given situation. You will not be easily influenced by other people.
  6. Positive values enable you to focus on others, not just yourself.
  7. Your value system influences your life style, that is, how you do things.
  8. It also determines the types and levels of goals you set for yourself.


Importance of value system to the family

The family value system is a set of values that the family has. Family value system is important.

  1. It determines the quality of life and life style of the family.
  2. It determines the types of goals the family sets. For instance a family that values education sets high education goals for children.
  3. It influences family decisions.
  4. It determines how families use their resources.
  5. helps family to decide the nature and effect of outside influences.
  6. It influences the behaviours of family members within and outside the family.


Importance of value system to the society

The value systems of a society are those values which societies have accepted as right for all members. These are based on an agreement by the members on what are most important for them as a group. Many of these values are written down in documents and laws e.g. freedom for all, education for all. Some of the values of Nigeria as a nation are national unity, human dignity, dignity of labour, equality of opportunity, accountability, etc. Such value system is important to the society because it helps the society to:

  1. make decisions about resource allocation.
  2. develop various areas of importance or economy e.g. health, education, commerce and industry.
  3. provide for every member of the society.
  4. provide good behavioural code for members.
  5. plan and provide good programmes for the citizens.
  6. prevent evil practices in the country.
  7. solve problems in the country.


Factors that influence values

Values can be learned. They also change with time. Some of the following factors can affect the values you learn and those you change.

  1. Family: Your family, parents, siblings, uncles, aunties, cousins, grandparents.
  2. Education: What you learn in school, your teachers and school mates.
  3. Friends you keep.
  4. Older persons who serve as examples.
  5. Movies, televisions, books, magazines, newspapers all suggest different types of values.
  6. Neighbours and community contacts.
  7. Religious trainings.
  8. Culture of the society.
  9. Arts.
  10. Happenings in the society e.g. violence, conflicts, cult activities.
  11. Internet.


Ways family value system impacts on life styles

  1. The set of values held by an individual, family or society determines the importance they place on items, activities, the choices they make and the ways they do things, that is, their life styles.
  2. The life styles are also seen in the things which individuals and family value or consider as important or desirable (ie their values).

Therefore family value system impacts on the family’s life styles in many ways. For instance:

A) Family values influence the decisions made by the family on the use or their resource (i.e resource allocation). This means that family values determine the items, activities, goals, etc ., on which the family will spend their resources such as money, time, energy, etc.

B) It is based on values that families decide to adopt a particular life style or way of living.

C) Values enable families decide on ways of achieving their chosen life styles.

D) Values determine, for instance:

  1. the types of education family members pursue.
  2. the types of house a family builds/ chooses.
  3. the feeding practices of the family.
  4. the clothing practices of the family.
  5. the relationship patterns of family members with each other and with people outside the family.
  6. the religious belief of the family.

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