Core values are beliefs used to guide our way through life or towards future goals. Our values can be bestowed onto us by family, oneself, and through life-time experiences. Everyone has values or morals, but it may or may not be conscious until the time comes that they need to be addressed. Until this assignment I personally never thought about what my core values may be as a person, so this assignment made me really think about what was important to me and my future.
Two core values that I uphold are respect and education. I believe having an education can open many doors for our future. Today a high school education is not enough to receive a well-paying job, so that leads many people to head to college. The cost of a college education today is more expensive than back in the 1960s, so you find a lot of students graduating in debt. We all have different reasons to continue our education, some of us do it to receive a well-paying job or to further their knowledge in a practice they wish to pursue. Depending on our majors, a four-year college education is sometimes not enough, which makes some of us go on to get a higher education, whether it be a masters or PhD.
I would say I obtain my values from my family. I was born and lived in Jamaica for about half my life. I moved to the United States when I was about to enter the third grade. In Jamaica, I attended a public school during my earlier years, my third-grade class had around forty students. In Jamaica it would take a long time for my teacher to review our work, due to the number of students in one class. Luckily, my mother had her own value of education and wanted the best for me, so she moved me to a private school. In private school, my largest class had sixteen children. After the move my mother saw improvement in my grades, showing that personal attention worked best. My mother comes from a large family, being the fourth of nine children. After graduating high school, she went right into the work force, so she understands how hard it is and how long it took her to be in the position she is to today. My mother’s value in education and her wanting me to have better opportunities as I grew up, made education one of my values. I pursued higher education not only for myself, but also to make my mother proud of who I have grown to become.
I also believe showing respect benefits us in the future. We should know how to address our elders and our superiors. Respect is where someone shows admiration to someone, whether younger or older, and respect comes with showing a sense of high admiration for that person. Being a Jamaican, respect was well thought. My mother has always engraved in me to have respect to your elders, not matter the case. In school, respect was shown to all teachers, because disrespecting our teacher came with a possible punishment, spanking being a prime example as it was legal. After moving to America, I saw a huge difference between the children in Jamaica and the children in the United States and how the latter show massive disrespect toward their educators. Watching my fellow students in the States do things like talk back to our teachers and show genuine disrespect made me grateful for the ideas engraved in me as I grew up in Jamaica.
I think by advancing my education, while making me who I am, also has made me mature. Learning about different cultures and nations make us respect their beliefs and practices. Learning to respect one’s opinion is a sign of being mature. This would signify that we understand that not everyone has the same mind set toward social or personally issues. This has become especially handy during my college experience, due to the fact that no one thinks the same and I have to tackle everything with that in mind.
Respect goes a long way in the work force, especially in the field of social work. Social work is about helping others, which requires respect in both the clients and the therapists. The therapist needs to respect where the patient is coming from, both in the past, present, and future. A patient should build respect with their therapist, because with respect comes trust. As for the education values you need to be educated on how to help people in dire needs. They need to learn how to response and react to help the client in an urgent situation. As society changes, it is important for social workers to continue their education, so that they can become more cultural aware of changes within society. I do not think my values diverge from those of a social worker, simply because to be social worker you need to have an education and we also must respect our client’s and coworkers’ opinions and beliefs.
I believe if there is any area of difference between my values and social work values it would make it very hard to practice social work. To be a social worker, we need to be educated about the practice and know how to respect our clients and their decisions as a person. As a social worker, we are going to encounter many people with different cultures and ways of life that might be the norm and differ from what we are used to. For example, what if we have a family from another country who does not use a modern doctor when sick, but would rather use a herbal doctor who would give them a specific herb for the sickness? As someone who grew up in a society where even a simple cold would send us to the doctor, this is hard to grasp, but the point is to accept all ways of life. We may have hard time understanding why they would choose this way of treatment. The situation could become even more different, if they have a sick child who is missing school due to his or her sickness but cannot pinpoint the exact cause of the sickness. Although they have no clue what the problem is, they fall back on their only known source – the herbal doctor and they put their faith in the doctor to cure the child. Our culture might see this treatment as putting the child in danger, but before making any rash decision, we need to do what’s best for the family.
The first a social worker should do in this scenario is research where the clients are from, their culture and practices. After conducting this research, the information found out is that their culture does not believe in modern medicine. The problem that arises is that if the parent does not get the child the proper treatment that he or she needs, social service might see the need to remove the child from the home. The next step I would take is to try to negotiate with the parent of the child, ask them to take the child to a modern doctor just once to get the child diagnosed. If the parents can figure out the ailment, then the child is able to receive a more promising treatment from the herbal doctor. Another suggestion that I would give is that the child be seen by a modern doctor at least twice a year to check on his or her progress. Or if the parents are open to the idea, the child can see both the herbal doctor and a modern doctor for treatment.
All my values can serve as a source of strength for me as a social worker, because by furthering my education, I would have a better understanding of my client’s cultural difference and learn how to approach a problem in the best interest of the client. To build a relationship with my clients, I need to gain their trust and a way to get that is by showing them respect for their values, cultures, practices and beliefs. As a social worker, the clients need someone who is looking out for their best interest, providing them with the best support and making sure they have access to all available resources to help them in their time of need – no matter how big or small or the time of day.
In conclusion, our core values can define who we are and shape our future in many ways. The values of education and respect are fundamental in the social work field. The value of education is important, because to become a service helper in the social work field, we must obtain at least a four-year college degree not even including the masters or PhD that many need to scale up the ladder of employment. Respect is not only beneficial in the fields of social work, sociology or psychology, but respect is beneficial in our everyday life whether it be with family members or people met on the street. Social workers are here to help people in need of assistance, no matter where they come from or where they are in life all with due respect for their past, present and future.