Social and personal values are critical to human development and ultimately influence behavior which, in turn, impacts society on a macro level. Values are provided by a variety of socializing agents such as family, school, religion, and cultural groups. However, sometimes values may clash and it is up to the individual to determine balance in their beliefs based on existing information or personal convictions.
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Most of the values that I have inherited come from interactions and observation of others. It is rare that certain values were “taught” to me directly, but rather I picked them up either by mimicking the actions of others or through example. My family played a large role in this as agents of socialization, involving me in discussion or decision-making from a relatively young age, emphasizing the benefits and consequences of various values and actions. There are some cultural values which were taught through education such as general Canadian values of respect for others, tolerance, and egalitarianism which our society strives towards. These values were taught by highlighting the common good for everyone and emphasizing positive emotions experienced in implementing these values into social interactions with others, forming bonds of friendship and relationships. Research by Türkkahraman (2014) indicates that social values are an ideal way of thinking and acting in a society. However, for society to remain peaceful and functionally stable, idealistic values should overlap with the real world, and the healthy manner to teaching them is through the emphasis on the pattern of relationship between the two concepts.
Some members of my family are highly conservative, and from time to time show inappropriate disdain and racially prejudiced opinions of cultural minority groups such as the Aboriginal people and various Asian minorities which have immigrated to Canada taking advantage of lax immigrant-focused legislation. Family is highly critical of this political approach and suggest that there should be stricter regulation on immigration. Meanwhile, in school, I have always been taught the benefits and positives of multiculturalism and immigration alongside tolerance. The education system largely always emphasized the importance of immigrants to Canadian development and identity. Therefore, there are conflicting messages coming from the two prominent socializing agents in my life, and depending on which position I adopt, will influence my behavior.
I view society from a functionalism perspective, which indicates that it is a complex system were all parts must work together to create society as a whole. Cultural norms are necessary to support function and guide individuals which maintains social patterns of behavior and ensures stability (Little, 2016). Therefore, I recognize my family’s perspectives, based perhaps on their respective experiences but see that they continue to be active members of society and gain benefit from contributions from immigrants working in various jobs to enhance Canada’s society. I maintain a practical and rational approach to the conflicting message, attempting to see evidence and avoid emotion. For personal views, I largely support Canada’s immigration policy, but also recognize that it needs improvement. It was more challenging as a teenager to find the balance in the conflicting messages given that I respected both the family members and my teachers. However, as an adult it has become easier to distinguish between logical and emotional appeals and use it to form my personal convictions.
It is evident that throughout one’s life a variety of socializing agents influence the establishing and development of personal values. These values stem from a large range of beliefs and approaches, some emotional while others logical. Neither necessarily it makes the values wrong or right, but oftentimes this results in conflict both in individuals and society. My personal approach has been to take into consideration both sides and derive my personal convictions which are the most practical and functional from a societal perspective.
Little, W. (2016). Introduction to sociology (2nd ed.). B.C. Open Textbook Collection. Web.
Türkkahraman, M. (2014). Social values and value education. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 116, 633–638. Web.
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