Citizenship begins with awareness

There are so many ways that we can teach and partake in good citizenship. It is so important for our children to see and know that we believe that it is our responsibility to care for others as well as ourselves. Doing simple things though that do not require money – only our effort and awareness can be some of the strongest lessons.

When we are taking a walk in our neighborhood or at the park, we can be aware of trash that is on the ground and pick it up and throw it away. If we were to see an area at the playground that needed maintenance or a coat of paint, we may be able to find some friends to get together and make the repairs. If we need permission then we get that permission – and this is a good lesson to our kids in being leaders.

Awareness of our surrounding and of the feelings of others is the first step in being a good citizen and sharing with our children what citizenship is all about.

Citizenship and following rules

What is it that makes us a good citizen? it is not just about our intentions or where our heart is. It is about our actions – what we do, for and with the community that we are a part of. Our communities include our family, school, extracurricular activities, our neighborhood, and yes the world.

As a part of a group we need to follow the rules. Most of the time these rules have been set up so as to provide protection and safety for all the community. Most times the rules make things fair for everyone also.

In the family at home we have rules like cleaning up our own messes or toys, not hitting, respecting the privacy of others. In school we have rules like raising our hand to answer, waiting our turn in lines, and showing respect for the teacher. In our community we agree to follow the traffic laws, not littering, not stealing or hurting our neighbors. In the world we are beginning to understand more and more that everything we do and consume has an impact on others in different parts of the world.

When we follow the rules, we make things fair for others too. It simply is not fair if one person does all the picking up and cleaning. As a good citizen we would share those responsibilities, even if we are a young child. As we teach our children about those responsibilities as a citizen we are also teaching them about fairness and helping others. Good citizens follow rules. Just think what our world would look like if everyone followed the rules and pursued peace by being good citizens.