Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Religious Education, PhD

First Advisor

John B. Youngberg

Second Advisor

Nancy J. Vhymeister

Third Advisor

Eduardo Ocampo


Problem. This study explored the function of adages in intergenerational value transmission in an Ecuadorian family. Drawing on the richness of Hispanic culture, the study documents a method used by parents and grandparents to pass on their wisdom to younger generations.

The transmission of values to younger generations has always been of special interest to parents, teachers, and religious educators. While the role of the family in the transmission of values has been researched, the use of adages, long practiced as a traditional parenting method in Ecuadorian families, had not been studied.

Method. The ethnographic method, as proposed by Spradley (1979), provided a structured approach to this qualitative research. The process included ethnographic interviews of three generations of women in an Ecuadorian family. A four-level analysis of the data produced extensive data that permitted hypotheses to be tested and confirmed.

Findings. The results unveiled the world of adages, confirming research on the sources of adages and their classification. Findings also corroborated previous research on intergenerational value transmission. This study has combined the study of the two fields, while uncovering groundbreaking theory on the effective, traditional parenting method of teaching values through adages.

Mothers are portrayed as the main value transmitters in the family, frequently using common adages in teaching moments during early childhood. Some of the values transmitted through adages were: diligence, justice, faith, work, respect, gratitude, love.

Based on their new awareness of the effectiveness of adages, the informants made a conscious decision to continue using adages. The granddaughter decided to use them with her children when she becomes a mother.

The findings of this study support adages as a useful tool in value transmission to new generations. Therefore, recommendations include (1) a larger study with families of other cities in Ecuador, which might permit generalizations about the use of adages in the intergenerational transmission of values in the whole country; (2) similar studies in other cultures for comparison of data; and (3) the sharing of these findings with clergy and educators to enhance curricula with this important Hispanic tradition.

Subject Area

Ecuadorian families--Quotations, maxims, etc, Proverbs, Ecuadorian, Values


Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."