A citizen is a part of a community of people. There are times when the community is united in a mission, vision or cause – but much of the time in the general population each family simply goes about their lives. Being a good citizen though we must be aware of all that is going on around us. If we are aware of those in our community that are in need of something that we are able to provide, citizenship requests that we find it in our heart to give. It may be clothing, food, toys, blankets or other objects that we are not using that could be put to good use and appreciated by another person.
Imagine how a person in need of clothing or toys for their children would feel if you thought of them? Now just for a moment, reflect on the blessings you have had in your life. Think about the people who have stepped up in your time of need. What do you have special gratitude for? Is it good health, family that loves you, great friends? For just a moment each day take time to and be grateful for the blessings we have received. Then ask yourself, As a citizen of the world what is it that I am passionate about, how would I like to impact this world and what can I do right now to make a difference in someone elses life?
When others look at you and your life – Is it apparent to them by what you do – what you are passionate about? After all our discussions finish this sentence and discuss it with your children; “I show good citizenship when I …..”
“Every good citizen adds to the strength of a nation.” In a time when the world is exploding with extremism in so many sectors, when there is a lack of tolerance and peacefulness – each of us bear a responsibility to raise our voice for those qualities. There are no spiritual writings or philosophies ever in the history of man that calls for harming other humans.
It only makes sense to call on every member of society to live a more purposeful life, to show reverence for life itself. If we are parents or an adult that influences children, we must raise them in a culture of character to be compassionate and idealistic. Culture is our belief system as a society. We may have all the rules and laws in the world, but we as families, schools, government, workplaces must create a culture of peace – understood in its broadest terms.
Sharing our talents with others is one way that we can practice good citizenship. When we are an adult to sharing of our talents also sets a great example for our children to see us giving to others what we have to offer. We can even encourage them to share their talents with others, starting with their siblings.
If our child has learned to read, they can share story reading with a younger sibling. This will set such a great example for the younger child in the love of learning and reading. Maybe they love to draw, we can encourage them to make cards first for those in the family who may be sick and then for others – even taking cards to a senior home or to a pediatric hospital.
As they learn new skills and share them with others, they are seeing first hand the practice of good citizenship. All of us can use whatever talent we have to help our community. Here are a few examples of things we can share with others:
- cooking or baking
- sharing with others our culture
- volunteer at animal shelter
- collecting food for others, costumes for holiday,
- making art for seniors
Our children are never too young to learn about citizenship and being a caring and responsible member of our community.
On November 5, 1872 Susan B. Anthony cast a vote in the presidential elections, 48 years prior to the 19th Amendment was passed giving women the right to vote. While campaigning for women’s rights – she was ridiculed and accused of trying to ruin the institution of marriage. In fact she was even arrested for casting her vote. She had broken the law. Today however she is seen as having demonstrated great citizenship.
Citizenship carry’s responsibility to follow the laws of the group that you belong. However there are times that a person realizes that for the greater good, breaking the law and dealing with the consequences is the right thing to do. As in any of the arts or many things in life, first we must understand the law, even live by the law before we are able to challenge it, bend it or even break it. There are so many examples in present and past that were able to accomplish good for their community by doing just that.
Just think about these people: Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi, Liu Xiaobo, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Susan B. Anthony, Roxana Saberi.
What is great about so many of those that were able to make changes – they did so peacefully. They made changes by dealing with personal consequences, while putting forth their message – non violently. It seems to me that many in our world today could take a lesson from these citizens who while making things fair for others, patiently did so with respect.
Our discussions this month on Citizenship will be on what it takes to be an active, caring and responsible member of our community. Every individual has the opportunity to add to the strength of their community and the world. Instead of just thinking of themselves, good citizens look for ways to be a helpful part of the group or community they are a part of, locally and globally.
Here is the simple way of showing good citizenship:
- Treat others with respect
- Be involved and do your part
- Keep community safe and fair
Following the rules of our communities – home, school, extra-curricular teams, and community shows good citizenship.