Frequent Questions and Concerns about Positive Values

What are positive values?

Positive values are standards and social principles that are accepted by an individual, a family, a group, or a society. The more positive our values are, the more positive our actions will be. When you think about the future you want for your child, positive values such as caring and responsibility may be more important than good grades or a high-paying job.

Which values are most important?

Some positive values can be found in most cultures, while others are prevalent in some cultures more than others. Search Institute has identified six positive values that are common in almost every culture. The six positive values in the Developmental Assets framework fit into two categories: prosocial values and personal character values. The first two positive values, caring and equality/social justice, are prosocial values that promote caring and compassion toward others. The other positive values, integrity, honesty, responsibility, and restraint, create a foundation of character that leads to making wise decisions.

Where do values come from?

Values come from two major sources: modeling and teaching. When adults and kids act on their values, they model them for everyone to see. People notice when someone stops to help another in need. People see the value of someone telling the truth—even when it’s hard. Values also come from teaching. When we teach positive values, and keep teaching them over and over again, kids learn that they’re important.