Teaching solid values which help to build character is very important in families.Values are the legacy of a good home and provide the basis of acceptable behaviour. They also decide the moral standards of a family, they give confidence in dealing with specific issues and situations and provide the essential link from one generation to another.
However, the teaching of values in any age or any society is not an easy one because of the fluid and questionable nature of the values themselves, and the ever changing demands in behaviour of each new age. A few years ago, values were universally based on religious Christian teachings. The bible was the foundation for the values we adopted, with a fear of God as the decisive element to ensure we kept to those values. Most values related to the individual and keeping his/her place harmoniously within the wider community. Religion also affected expectations and behaviour relating to marriage.
For example, a grandmother who would have been brought up in a very restrictive Britain, as far as women are concerned, would have been taught the values of behaving like a 'lady', not having sex before marriage, not having children out of wedlock and not daring to think of divorce because of the vows made and the loyalty to the husband and home which was expected. Try teaching such values to young women of today! Yet those values would have made the grandmother the confident, accomplished (or even fearful) woman that she is now. They would have dictated her perspectives on life, and her perceptions of it, and would have been the cornerstone of her development in a male dominated society.
More Pragmatic Values
Today our values are more social in form, technological rather than religious in application, more pragmatic to suit the moment and entirely concensual. Youngsters tend to match their peers in behaviour so as not to feel left out, adopting values which are likely to be at odds with the outmoded values of their parents. Therefore values can never be passed down without some modification and acceptance of change due to the transient nature of society, the constantly changing morals and behaviour, the innovatory nature of life itself, and the natural social experiment of the young to forge their own values to deal with new situations.
It means that in a 20 year span, values would have been greatly modified or completely replaced altogether because of the changing times. For example, I grew up believing that to steal from anyone, especially shops and work, was wrong. Yet a recent survey in the UK showed that 38% of the nation engage in petty theft , especially at work,of one kind or another daily. Such theft is no longer regarded as morally wrong but a kind of retribution for fleecing the customers. Many people have the reasoning that the shops rip off the customers in high prices so they have no regret stealing from them through actions like keeping change they were not entitled to, or wearing clothes they bought and returning them to the shops as faulty.
Teaching values are important for the confident development of the young, and to keep the generations connected to each other, but that teaching has to be flexible enough to recognise that yesterday's values are likely to have less relevance and are more likely to be today's amusing folk tales.