What are all the values Atticus teaches the children in "To Kill a Mockingbird"?

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teacherscribe eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I don't know about ALL the values Atticus teaches them, but I can point out some of the main ones.

One of the main values is that of empathy.  This is what Atticus means when he tells the children to crawl inside someone else's skin and see what the world looks like from their point of view before judging them.  The supreme example is in how Atticus view Bob Ewell.  He doesn't become angry with him when Bob accosts him or spits in his face.  Atticus knows that he humiliated the man - and that the man is an uneducated drunk - how else is he to respond?  This too is part of the reason Atticus has Jem read to Mrs. Dubose. 

Another value is that of tolerance.  Atticus doesn't want Scout to catch Maycomb's usual disease, which is racism.  Likewise, he doesn't want her to become bitter at those around her who are racist.  Atticus tries to teach the children to tolerate others, no matter what their beliefs.

A third value is doing the right thing.  Again, with the trial, Atticus knows that he is going to lose.  But what counts is standing up for what is right, regardless of the consequences.  That way, you can respect yourself and others will respect you (not the line about the children not having to obey Atticus if he doesn't take the case).

A final value is modesty.  Note why Atticus gives up hunting - because he is too good of a shot.  He believes that no one should take pride in their talents.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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