It was once said that people will judge you by your actions, not your intentions. Showing that we are caring, responsible and engaged members of our community requires that we are not selfish but rather giving and sharing community members. What can we give? There are so many needs in the community and there are many individuals who are working to meet the needs.
Not all of the needs require that we spend money. In fact some of the most valuable gifts that we can give is to share our talents with others. So we ask ourselves, “What am I good at, that could be shared with others”? It may be teaching or tutoring, fixing things for others, painting or other things around the house. It could be leading a fundraising effort or bringing awareness to others about needs in the community.
The way we show our willingness to give of our time and talents will have an affect on our children as they watch us and take their cues from us. If they see us showing our good citizenship by helping others, they will be able to see themselves doing that also. We can encourage that by guiding them to making cards for others, or sharing their toys or clothes they have grown out of with those in need. Letting them see how they can can be active in the community even at a young age, will create better citizens of the future.
When we think about the citizens of our community, we are moved by those that are active, caring and productive. We may not see ourselves as being a special or standout as a citizen but I would like to share this with everyone about citizenship.
All of us, no matter our age or status are citizens of many different communities. In the very simplest way we are citizens of our most basic group, the family. It is here that we begin to show that we are caring for others, responsible for our part of being in this small group. This is where we learn how to help others and be accountable for our actions.
One of the ways that we can do that is by recognizing that our group, our team, our family has rules that have been accepted by all in the group. There may be a rule in our family of “No jumping on the bed!”, and so as a 5 year old if I do not jump on the bed, I am showing respect for the rules as well as for the furniture and the safety of others. As we get older we may have a rule that states that if we are leaving the house we ask permission or let others know of our intent. These rules too show respect for others and is for the safety of all involved.
If we are the leaders in the family, parents, then we have extra responsibility to demonstrate our respect for rules. Rules of driving, rules in the house and outside the home taking part in other communities. The reason is clear. Our children are learning from us by our example. Everything we do and say are seen and copied by our children.
No matter where we are, being a good citizen always begins by following the rules of our family, school, sport teams, community. Doing so keeps things safe and fair for everybody.
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.