Making decisions and evaluating actions of others, we normally judge according to the standards we learned yet as children. They are moral values. These principles help to define what is right and what is wrong, they motivate us and discourage from acting in an undesirable way. Moral values are mostly traditional; they pass in generations and are characteristic of cultural and ethnic groups, nevertheless, they bare a strong personal imprint. They are ingrained to a person since the childhood by parents and teachers who are a primary moral authority to a child. Later, moral values change due to the influence of other people and outer circumstances.
Moral values have a lot in common with ethics. While ethical standards generally refer to a social group (ethnic or national), moral values are ethical standards processed during formation of a new personality. Ethics is rather a static category, while morality slightly changes from one generation to another. Traditional views cannot stand the pressure of new ways, and actions that were once considered as immoral can be commonly justified in a century or so.
Moral values can be personal and universal. Analyzing their own life experience, individuals can decide whether certain actions are moral or immoral. They do not necessarily follow the outlook of their ancestors, however, a traditional constituent is inherent to moral values. Nevertheless, people have some core values that make a basis for all other moral principles. Universal moral values are alike to many cultures and ethnic groups, and they are usually included in insightful stories for children.