According to a recent Pew Research study, "being responsible" is the most important lesson Americans want to impart on their children, followed by "hard work", "religious faith" and "helping others".
Dig a little deeper into the survey numbers, however, and the cultural rifts that run through US society become apparent.
According to the Pew, 59% of "consistently conservative" respondents rated religious faith as the most important value to teach children, versus 11% of "consistently liberal" respondents. Obedience (15%) is the second-most common choice among conservatives.
For liberals qualities like empathy for others (34%), curiosity (23%) and tolerance (22%) were considered most important.
"It's the culture war, in one Pew Research figure," tweets University of Virginia Prof W Bradford Wilcox.
The split was also apparent when subjects were asked whether values were "especially important" or not. Among conservatives, 81% said that this described religious faith, while only 26% of liberals felt this way.
As for tolerance, 88% of consistently liberal respondents said it was important, while only 41% of conservatives agreed.
There's also an interesting divergence in values when the responses are broken down by race. Blacks placed more importance on religious faith and obedience, for instance, while whites and Hispanics emphasised being responsible.
Pew interviewed 3,243 adults, 185 of whom were parents, in late April and May for the survey.
Parenting has become a major topic of conversation recently due to NFL star Adrian Peterson's indictment on child endangerment charges for disciplining one of his 4-year-old sons by hitting him with a stick.
Views on Mr Peterson's actions - and his resulting suspension from participation in the sport - have diverged in part based on different experiences and views on child-rearing. The Pew survey provides some interesting insight into the values that could lie behind these divided opinions.