Civic Values: Definition, Importance & Examples

Lesson Transcript
Matt Lamb

Matt has tutored for six years now, in a variety of subjects including reading, essay writing, chemistry, and theology. He is finishing his M.A. in Political Science this August.

Expert Contributor
Lesley Chapel

Lesley has taught American and World History at the university level for the past seven years. She has a Master's degree in History.

In this lesson, you'll learn about some of the civic values that are vital to maintaining a free and prosperous society. These values help keep our society functioning and hold together a town, city, or state. Updated: 12/27/2020

Civic Values

The teenagers you see shoveling an elderly neighbor's sidewalk after a snowstorm. The restaurant owner that puts in long hours to provide jobs in the community. The student who listens to his teacher when she tells him to quiet down or helps his classmates during an assignment. All of these people are modeling civic values, or the values that are required for a civic society.

Every society is held together by certain values. These values help keep society running, help keep people happy, and ensure security for future generations. While there are many different civic values, in this lesson we will focus on only four: service, personal responsibility, respect, and entrepreneurship.

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  • 0:04 Civic Values
  • 0:51 Service
  • 1:36 Personal Responsibility
  • 2:11 Respect
  • 2:46 Entrepreneurship
  • 3:21 Lesson Summary
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Your local and state government can provide some basic services, such as paving the roads, putting out fires, and educating children. But they cannot do everything! This is where service comes into play. Service is when individuals volunteer to help out other people in need. There are many issues people face and only together can we face these issues.

For example, you might volunteer at a soup kitchen helping to serve the hungry. Or you might help clean up a local park by planting flowers and picking up trash. These are great examples of the ways you can volunteer your time and money to make society a better place.

Personal Responsibility

For those that can provide for themselves, personal responsibility is an important civic value. Personal responsibility refers to when an individual takes responsibility for his or her actions. For example, when you take it upon yourself to find a job or start your own business instead of relying on others, you are taking responsibility for your own life and your family's life.

Personal responsibility is very important for a society because it shifts the burden to people who can take care of themselves. There will always be people who, through no fault of their own, require extra help. For those that can provide for themselves, there is an imperative that they do.

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Additional Activities

Prompts About Civic Values:

Study Prompt:

Create a set of flashcards that provide the definitions of all the bolded terms from the lesson—civic values, service, personal responsibility, respect, entrepreneurship.

Tip: The definitions are within the context of the concept of civic values.

Poster Prompt:

Make an informational poster that illustrates why civic values are important.

Example: Civic values help provide harmony in society.

List Prompt:

Make a list of ten ways in which you could engage in civic service. You could pair up with a classmate to generate a list of civic service activities you would like to do together.

Example: Volunteer at an animal shelter.

Essay Prompt 1:

Write an essay of at least one to two paragraphs that describes the importance of personal responsibility and provides examples of it.

Example: Saving money is an example of personal responsibility.

Essay Prompt 2:

Write an essay of one paragraph that discusses why entrepreneurship is a civic value.

Example: Entrepreneurship can improve society as a whole by providing financial benefits.

Reflection Prompt:

Think about a time when you experienced or witnessed an act of respect in society. In at least one paragraph, write an essay that describes the incident and how it made you feel.

Example: While driving, pulling over for a funeral procession is a sign of respect.

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