Social Development of Values and Benifits

April 1, 1998
SOC 100X
Paper Two

Social Development of Values and Beliefs

Values can be described as the general idea of proper and desirable behavior that formal and informal social organizations embrace. As a daughter in a military family, I have been exposed to the values and beliefs of many formal and informal social organizations. Since my family moved to a new town every ten months to three years, I belonged to many churches, schools, and peer groups. As is expected, these many social organizations had an effect on the shaping of my values and beliefs.
A major value that stems from my family is the value of achievement. In my family it is not acceptable to be lazy on a regular basis. It is, however, desirable to push yourself to achieve new things. These things may be anything from a college degree to climbing a mountain. My family instilled this value in me by using themselves as an example. Since I grew up seeing my family push themselves to achieve, I learned that this was the generally accepted behavior for our household (Zanden).
Another value that was instilled in me by my parents is individuality. Since the time I was a small child, my parents have tried to teach me to be myself and make my own decisions, regardless of how others perceive me. While this might not be acceptable behavior in some peer groups, it is the accepted way to behave within my family. This value was taught to my sister and me in a variety of ways. The most common way was for our parents to refuse to make important decisions for us. These decisions were left to us and caused us to think for ourselves instead of letting others do that job. The outcome of these teachings was a very strong value of individuality.
A value that has changed for me in recent years is that of work. I did not hold work as a value until a few years ago. The change came about from the peer group that I was around. Work was a value for everyone in this peer group, and under their influence it became a value for me also. In this peer group, everyone was paying their own way through college, which made work a necessary and desirable value for each person. I saw how independent and self-confident the people in the peer group were because of their belief in work. Naturally, I adopted this value also (Kluckholm).
Efficiency and practicality is a value that followed from work. Without efficiency and practicality, my workplace is a chaotic mess where no one can function. Since this is not a good way to run a business, efficiency and practicality became a value embrace by everyone involved. When I first started this job, efficiency was an unknown term. People would take four times longer than needed to complete a task. This was causing very little work to be produced, and in turn, very little money was coming into the office. These actions are what spurred the belief in efficiency in me. To keep my job, my employers needed to bring in more money. Therefore, efficiency became the accepted way of doing tasks since it kept the employers from losing their business.
Material comfort is a value that comes from many different social organizations. Growing up in an upper-middle class family tends to give you the belief in material comfort. Every child wants to live a little better off than his or her parents. I also saw that my parents were able to travel quite a bit more than the average person. Traveling is an important part of my life and I wish for it to continue indefinitely. My peer group has also influenced my value of material comfort. In their minds, material comfort means financial security later in life. Instead of throwing away all their money on useless items, they invest it and save the money for future use when they are no longer able to work. Having monetary security later in life appealed to me, and I adopted the value (Becker).
The school system in Hawaii is the social organization that brought the value of social equality into my life. I was in this school system from