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What Is Your Values And Beliefs Essays

As human beings, we all have our own values, beliefs and attitudes that we have developed throughout the course of our lives. Our family, friends, community and the experiences we have had all contribute to our sense of who we are and how we view the world. As community services workers, we are often working with people who are vulnerable and/or who may live a lifestyle that mainstream society views as being different or unacceptable. If, as community services workers, we are to provide a service that meets the needs of our target groups and helps them to feel empowered, we need to be aware of our own personal values, beliefs and attitudes and be prepared to adopt the professional values of our industry—and not impose our own ideas on our clients.

What are values?

Values are principles, standards or qualities that an individual or group of people hold in high regard. These values guide the way we live our lives and the decisions we make. A value may be defined as something that we hold dear, those things/qualities which we consider to be of worth.

A ‘value’ is commonly formed by a particular belief that is related to the worth of an idea or type of behaviour. Some people may see great value in saving the world’s rainforests. However a person who relies on the logging of a forest for their job may not place the same value on the forest as a person who wants to save it.

Values can influence many of the judgments we make as well as have an impact on the support we give clients. It is important that we do not influence client’s decisions based on our values. We should always work from the basis of supporting the client’s values.

Activity: What are some of my values?
1.Manners—are they old fashioned? Do they hold a high or low value in your life?
2.Pride—are there things you need to be proud of? Do you value pride or do you value humility?
3.Clothes—how important are clothes at work? At play?
4.Behaviour on the sports field—what behaviours do you value? Sportsmanship? Winning? Team spirit? Individuality?
5.Family life? What do you value about family life?

Write down some of the values you hold in these areas. Talk to friends and family members. Ask them these same questions. Do the answers differ?

Feedback
Where do values come from?

Our values come from a variety of sources. Some of these include:
•family
•peers (social influences)
•the workplace (work ethics, job roles)
•educational institutions such as schools or TAFE
•significant life events (death, divorce, losing jobs, major accident and trauma, major health issues, significant financial losses and so on)
•religion
•music
•media
•technology
•culture
•major historical events (world wars, economic depressions, etc).

Dominant values

Dominant values are those that are widely shared amongst a group, community or culture. They are passed on through sources such as the media, institutions, religious organisations or family, but remember what is considered dominant in one culture or society will vary to the next.

Using the sources listed above, some of your values could be: •family—caring for each other, family comes first •peers—importance of friendship, importance of doing things that peers approve of •workplace—doing your job properly; approving/disapproving of ‘foreign orders’ (doing home-related activities in work time or using work resources for home related activities) •educational institutions—the valuing or otherwise of learning; value of self in relation to an ability to learn (this often depends on personal experience of schooling, whether positive or negative) •significant life events—death of loved ones and the impact on what we value as being important; marriage and the importance and role of marriage and children;

separation and divorce and the value change that may be associated with this (valuing of self or otherwise) •religion—beliefs about ‘right and wrong’ and beliefs in gods •media—the impact of TV, movies, radio, the Internet and advertising on what is important in our lives, what is valued and not valued •music—music often reflects what is occurring in society, people’s response to things such as love and relationships which may then influence the development of our values •technology—the importance of technology or otherwise; the importance of computers and developing computer skills •culture—a cultural value such as the importance of individuality as opposed to conforming to groups •major historical events—not wasting anything, saving for times of draught, valuing human life, patriotic values.

It is important that you develop an awareness of what you value, as these values will be important in informing your relationships with clients, co–workers and employers.

The following is a list of common dominant values in Australian society. Tick the values that apply to you and then select the ten most important values you ticked and rank them.

(1 = most important, 10 = least important)

Click here for the list (.doc 12 KB)

Did you learn something about yourself that you didn’t expect? What is important here is your ability to be able to identify the values that are
important to you.

It is important to be conscious of our values. This knowledge helps us to:
•ask ourselves why we are doing what we are doing
•identify the consequences of our actions for ourselves and others (including clients and co-workers)
•consider other and better options if necessary.

It is important to not only have a knowledge of your value system, but to understand that your values underpin your beliefs and beliefs underpin behaviour. How we behave is a reflection of our beliefs and our beliefs are a reflection of our values.

Exploring your values

We are all influenced in varying degrees by the values of our family, culture, religion, education and social group. Knowing your own values can help you work effectively with clients, resolve conflicts and support the organisation’s philosophy of care appropriately. Wherever our values come from they make us the unique person we are today!

Answer the following and then think about what it tells you about yourself, where your values have come from and how people with different backgrounds and life experiences would answer these questions. There are no right or wrong answers—just answer honestly and be willing to explore and reflect upon your own values.

Race
•With what race do I identify?
•Do I know people from a different race to me?
•Do I believe people from different races should live together?
•What would life be like if my skin colour was different?
•What do I think about marriages and relationships between people from different races?

Gender
•How many friends do I have from the opposite sex?
•If I was a different gender how might life be different?

Religion
•What is my religion? Do I believe in it?
•What is my family’s religion?
•Are most people in my community from this religion?
•How does my religion influence my life?

Culture
•What culture do I identify with?
•What do I like and dislike about my culture and traditions?
•What other cultures interest me? Do I like learning about them? Why?

Language
•What is my first language?
•What other languages do I speak?
•Who should decide what language people should speak?

General
•What political party do I support? Why?
•Do I believe in the death penalty? Why?
•What are my views on abortion? Why?
•What are my views on homosexuality? Why?
•What are my views about illegal drugs? Why?
•What are my view about voluntary euthanasia? Why?

Reflect on your answers about where your values have come from.
1.What did this activity tell you about your values?
2.Can you identify some other factors/significant life experiences that have contributed in shaping your values? 3.Why have you decided to become a worker in the CSI?
4.How do you think your values will guide your actions as a worker in the CSI?

The aim of this activity is to make you aware of issues that could arise in the workplace and the differing values workers can have. There are no right or wrong answers, so when completing this activity try to be as honest as you can.

Values clarification

Read the following scenarios and rate your reactions by ticking the box which best defines your reaction.

Scenario 1

Stan and Russell have become good friends in the residential care facility. They enjoy each other’s company and like to read pornographic magazines together. Stan usually buys the magazines, but one month Stan did not come into the hostel for care as he usually did. Russell wanted some new pornos to read so he asked Penny the care worker to buy him some magazines. She agreed and brought some for him.

What do you think about Penny doing this for Russell?

I think this is not okay.

I am undecided.

I think this is okay.

Scenario 2

Wayne is a 49 year old volunteer at an aged care home. He is an Anglo-Australian, with a disability. He works with Anh, the recreation officer. She Vietnamese and is 20 years old. Wayne and Anh have been going out together and Wayne has told Anh that he loves her. How do you feel about Anh and Wayne being partners?

Rate your feeling according to their ages:

I think this is not okay.

I am undecided.

I think this is okay.

Rate your feeling according to their cultural backgrounds:

I think this is okay.

I think this is not okay.

I am undecided.

Rate your feeling according to the fact they work together:

I think this is not okay.

I am undecided.

I think this is okay.

Scenario 3

Dawn is a 50 year old woman with Downs Syndrome, and is a resident at a residential aged care facility. She masturbates in the common lounge area at the facility. She needs to be shown a private place to do this and it is your role to take her to a private room, next time she is masturbating. How do you feel about this?

Rate your response according to the factor of Dawn masturbating:

I am undecided.

I think this is okay.

I think this is not okay.

Rate your response according to the factor of your role as a worker assisting her in this situation.

I am undecided.

I think this is okay.

I think this is not okay.

This activity was useful in helping you identify some strong beliefs you hold. It is good for you to be able to reflect on these and think how they might impact on your role as a care worker. For example, if you think that all older people and people with disabilities have a right to express their sexuality, regardless of the way they choose do that, you will want to ensure their privacy and dignity is respected. Remember, clients have a right to receive a professional service regardless of the attitudes, beliefs and values they hold.

After answering the questions, you might find it useful to revisit your answers and identify where your attitudes have come from. This will help in preventing your personal attitudes from impacting on the way you work with clients.

What is a belief?

Beliefs come from real experiences but often we forget that the original experience is not the same as what is happening in life now. Our values and beliefs affect the quality of our work and all our relationships because what you believe is what you experience. We tend to think that our beliefs are based on reality, but it is our beliefs that govern our experiences.

The beliefs that we hold are an important part of our identity. They may be religious, cultural or moral. Beliefs are precious because they reflect who we are and how we live our lives.

Pre-existing beliefs

As a care worker in the community services industry, the pre-existing beliefs you may have could be related to stereotypes that have developed for you around issues like sexuality, alcohol and other drugs, ageing and disabilities, independence, health, the rights of people, your idea of health and what it’s like to be older and/or disabled.

These stereotypes could affect the way you interact and work with clients. This is because you have assumptions about what your clients can and can’t do for themselves, the way they should think about issues and what is best for them. If you make assumptions as a worker then you are denying clients their rights, respect and dignity. As a worker this would be regarded as a breach in your duty of care towards clients.

The need for older people and people with disabilities to express their sexuality does not necessarily diminish over time. The desire for intimacy can in fact intensify. The development of new relationships may occur as a result of living in a residential care setting or as people’s social networks change over time. The right to express sexuality is a quality of life issue and is part of one’s self-identity. The way people choose to express their sexuality may change over time in a variety of ways. Intimate relationships enhance a person’s quality of life and contribute to their feelings of well being. As a care worker it is important to respect a person’s right to express their sexuality in a way which is appropriate for them.

What is an attitude?

The word ‘attitude’ can refer to a lasting group of feelings, beliefs and behaviour tendencies directed towards specific people, groups, ideas or
objects.

An attitude is a belief about something. It usually describes what we think is the ‘proper’ way of doing something. The attitudes that we feel very strongly about are usually called values. Other attitudes are not so important and are more like opinions. Sometimes our own attitudes can make us blind to other people’s values, opinions and needs. Attitudes will always have a positive and negative element and when you hold an attitude you will have a tendency to behave in a certain way toward that person or object.

You will need to be aware of your own personal values, beliefs and attitudes and how they might impact on your work.

It is important to consider the mapping of your own life – what have been some significant events that have shaped you, what qualities you admire in yourself and others, what beliefs are important to you, what you value and so on. Some examples of these may be personal features such as strength of character, helping people, respect, honesty, wealth, success, health etc.

What we believe are important qualities, or what qualities we admire in ourselves and others, generally reflect our life experiences and the values which we established in our early years through the influence of family, teachers, friends, religion, our culture, our education.

Given that all of us have differences which have been shaped by our life experiences, we can understand that we will all have different sets of values and beliefs. We do not all think about issues in the same way!

To work effectively it is critical to understand your own values and beliefs and to understand the importance of not allowing them to affect the way in which you work with clients. Remember they are your values and may be quite different to the values held by your clients.

In order to remain professional it is necessary to leave your personal values out of the client/worker relationship. This means that it is important that you allow clients to make decisions based on their own values and beliefs rather than decisions that reflect what you think they should do.

When we are carrying out our daily duties at work we rarely think about our attitudes, we are immersed in work itself and often remain unaware of just how different our attitudes could be to others around us.

As previously defined an attitude is simply a belief, and describes what we think is the proper way of doing or thinking about something. Attitudes vary in intensity.

When we feel strongly about something attitudes are called values. Attitudes that are less important to us are called opinions. For example we may feel strongly that older people should give up their jobs when they reach a certain age, so that younger people can get work. Strong attitudes are often very emotional and can cloud our judgement in meeting other people’s needs. This means that some people or clients may be denied their rights to be allowed to make their own choices and decisions about their life.

The influence of attitudes

Our attitudes develop over time and not only reflect where we have come from i.e. the influence family, friends and experiences have had on our attitudes, but also how we will proceed with our life in the future. Attitudes are therefore a powerful element in our life, are long enduring and hard to change—but not impossible!

The problem with attitudes

One of the problems with our attitudes is we often ignore any information which is not consistent with them—we become selective in the way we perceive and respond to events and issues—and lose our ‘objectivity’ about the world. By developing insights about our attitudes we reduce the risk of making decisions at work based on our unconscious, pre-existing perceptions, allowing us work more professionally with clients.

Awareness of personal attitudes

It is good practice to think about your attitudes and beliefs: it helps you to understand yourself better. It is beneficial to reflect on your life, identify some of the significant events that have shaped you, consider what qualities you admire in yourself and others and be mindful of what values and are important to you.

Activity

Your identity has shaped the person you are today!

Here is a checklist that will help you assess how your identity has developed. (.doc 25 kB)

The exercise you have just completed will have given you some sense of where your own identity has come from. Think about this as you answer the following questions.

Activity
1.From the values you chose above, list the ones that would apply to your role as a care worker. 2.Why is it important for community services workers to have a sense of their own identity and where it has come from? 3.What issues can you identify for yourself in having to work with people and clients who have grown up differently form you, have a different identity and therefore different beliefs?

Taking into account personal values and beliefs

One of the responsibilities of workers is that we do not impose our own values and beliefs on the people we work with. That is, that we don’t provide options and services based on what we feel is right, but that we work with people in relation to what is right for them. We should always remember that it is their life and only they should make decisions about how they should live their life.

If you try to impose your own moral values on clients, you are likely to make them feel judged and to damage their self-worth. Moreover, they are likely to reject you and to reject your values too. If you are able to accept your clients, with whatever values they have, you may well find that as time passes they move closer to you in their beliefs. This is inevitable because we are, whether we like it or not, models for our clients and we have a responsibility to be good models.

Regardless of who the client is, and regardless of his or her behaviour, he or she deserves to be treated as a human being of worth. If you respect your clients, they will, through feeling valued, be given the optimum conditions in which to maximise their potential as individuals.

It is essential that you are aware of your own values and beliefs so that you do not impose them (deliberately or unintentionally) on the people you are working with.

Professional values

In order to leave your personal values out of the client/worker relationship, you need to aware of the impact they may have when you come across clients that do not behave in ways that you agree with—that is, clients who have different values and beliefs to you. You may find that with such clients you become judgemental or notice that you are encouraging clients to make a decision that reflects what you think they should do (based on your values and beliefs) rather than working with the client to come up with their own ideas about how to resolve the issue.

That is why it is so important to have ethical standards, so that we are operating by a professional set of guidelines, not what we personally think is right or wrong.

Activity: Professional values

What would you consider to be the values and attitudes that are critical for someone who works in the community services industry?

Feedback
Respecting the beliefs, attitudes and values of others

Everyone is entitled to their own values, attitudes and beliefs. It is important to accept and respect that other people may well have different attitudes, values and beliefs than you. We do not have the right to expect that others change their values, attitudes and beliefs just because they are different to ours.

It is quite possible that you may face situations at work that either challenge or compromise your own values, attitudes or beliefs when working to support people with a disability.

It is not always easy to avoid communicating your beliefs and values to clients, but it is something you need to be very aware of. It can be very easy to influence clients in subtle ways. Simple things like body language, gestures, the way you say something, or even actions, can give a client the impression you agree or disagree with their values or beliefs.

A disability support worker, Sally, was assisting Harry, a client, to decide what movie he was going to see on the weekend. Harry loved horror films. Sally hated them. During the conversation Sally shook her head every time Harry pointed to a horror film in the paper. In the end Harry decided to go and see a comedy. Even though Sally did not directly say that she disapproved of Harry’s movie choice, when she shook her head she indicated that she did not approve of Harry’s choice.

The support you give to clients should be, as much as possible, in line with their values, attitudes and beliefs, while also in line with your community services organisation and the law.
Impact of values and philosophies on service provision

The way that the above values and philosophies are acted upon in services affects the quality of the service provided to clients. The more these values are promoted and reflected in the way the service operates, the more positive the experience for the client.

Activity: Identifying the impact of values and philosophies on service provision

Phong is a 29 year old Vietnamese man who was injured in a serious car accident eight months ago and sustained a brain injury. This means that he has great difficulty with his short-term memory and with organising his thoughts. He also needs to use a wheelchair because of a neck injury. Phong is now living back at home with his family. Most of his friends don’t come around anymore and Phong hardly gets out. He is unable to return to work as a mechanic. Phong has been referred to a community access program, designed to help him deal with his brain injury and integrate back into the community.

Values those are most important to me.


Values are something that is important in life. Values can’t be exchanged in any way or form. Everyone has something that they value and of course that includes me as well. A value is something that a specific person or groups respects and affectively regards it as something important in their life. An example would be my values, I, personally, have many values. Some of my most important values consist of my family, my ethnicity and my memories.

Something that I value the most would be my family. Family means a lot for me because no matter what happens, my family would always be there for me. Life would be really different if I didn’t have the family that I have now. In my family, I am taught that no matter what difficulties I have to face, my family would always be there and support me. They taught me many things about life that I would take with me for the rest of my life. No matter how many good friends you have, they will never be there for you forever, but family will always be there for you. Not everyone has a perfect family; therefore, I must appreciate what I have now because not everyone is as lucky as me to have a family that cares for each other through out all the different circumstances.

Another very important value of mine would be my ethnicity. Ethnicity is very important for it describes me. Due to the fact that I am born Asian American, I was brought up to what I am today. It is very stereotypical where people think that Asians are smart people and because of this belief, there is always the pressure of being smart. My parents didn’t have an education like me, for my mom didn’t stopped attending school and for that reason, she wants me to have a good future. Therefore, she would always tell me to work hard and that school is very important. This is another reason why I value my family as well; it is because they always lead me the right direction.

Ethnicity causes different people to have different standards in life. My parents have expectations and those expectations become my expectations which make me improve in life. Ethnicity also covers religion and culture. Although there are many superstitions in my religion, I still believe in most of them because it seems like I was brought up to be very superstitious, and I find them very interesting. I really like the culture of my heritage. I find it most extravagant to research about. The history of my people is what I am interested the most about because it informs us of how people act nowadays due to the teachings of back then. We should value the fact that we can read and write for many people in other countries aren’t able to do so, and what I value more is that I am able to communicate through more than one language, giving me an advantage in life. If I never learned Chinese, I would’ve never been able to understand the true meanings of the literature. I am very grateful of what I have learned throughout the years and I value all these traits that I possess.

Memories only come in one set to each person; therefore, everyone must value their memory. I value my memory for it reminds me of the things and events that happen to me throughout my life. My memories are most valuable because without them I wouldn’t be able to be who I am today, for my knowledge of things depends on my memory. The best thing is that no one can take away another’s memory and it stays within the person itself forever. There would be no point in life if there was no memory for what would be the reason for continuing to live without a memory of people and things that are most precious to you. Precious moments that would never come again would always remain in the memory of the person. Precious memories are a great value to me in life for I depend on the many happy events that happen in my life to go through the tougher or sadder times of life. If I’m furious, or miserable, I would always think of the good times and that would make me elate.

In conclusions, everyone values at least one thing in their life. My values are mainly the things that create me for what I am today. Family is indeed the most important, ethnicity is just what comes with me when I was born and I respect that the most. Memories are things that I would never trade for in my life and will keep them to myself or even share the memories with other people establishing more new memories. Life would be very different if I had no values, and I’m pretty sure it goes for everyone as well. Perfection is created by the values of life which one has.

Carmen Kuang
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