What does it really mean to be a good citizen? If you’ve been asking yourself this question, then you’re not alone. With everything that’s happening in our country (and the world) right now, the definition of being a good citizen tends to vary for every person. Most of the time, it’s based on their political views and their stand on certain issues.
But being a good citizen goes beyond the black and white of politics. It doesn’t matter which side of the political spectrum you’re on. What matters is how you make this country a better place to live in.
If you don’t know where to start, here are some suggestions on how to be a good citizen:
1. Be Patriotic
The dictionary defines patriotism as the love for or devotion to one’s country. This is why being patriotic is one of the most important qualities of a good citizen.
You see, when you love someone, you only want the best for them. The same thing applies when you love your country. You don’t want it to come to harm. Rather, you want it to improve and be the best that it can be. And if necessary, make sacrifices for it to achieve greatness.
2. Give Back to the Community
As citizens and human beings, we are morally obliged to look out for our brothers and sisters in need. It’s what makes us a society. So if you want to be a good citizen, give back to your community. Donate to charities and volunteer in non-profit organizations. Help the poor and the sick. Start a fundraising activity for a worthwhile cause. Whatever it is, as long as you make other people’s lives better, then you have already done your duty as a citizen of this country.
3. Be a Productive Member of Society
To be a productive member of society means actively contributing to its betterment. The operative term here is “productive” which is the same as “useful”. That’s why being one is essentially the basic requirement of being a good citizen. A productive member of society is someone who is of use to the society he/she belongs to. They are the ones who make a positive contribution to the country. In short, a good citizen.
4. Take Part in Social Issues
Admit it or not, most of us tend to take part in social issues only when it concerns us. But being a good citizen also means getting involved in issues plaguing the country – even if it doesn’t directly affect you. This doesn’t necessarily mean going out in the streets and taking part in rallies and demonstrations. Just being aware of those issues and educating others about them is a good start. Though actively doing your part to solve those issues would be much better.
Voting is one of the ways you can show your country that you care. Whether it’s your local school board or the national elections, your vote can make a change. It’s not just a right but a responsibility. Besides, there are so many people in the world right now who are robbed of the right to vote. Don’t waste that opportunity given to you.
6. Mentor Someone
Sharing your knowledge is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your country. If our ancestors didn’t share their knowledge, no civilization would flourish. So go ahead. Mentor someone. Ask your local school board for any after-school teaching opportunities. If you have a particular skill you want to share, you can also offer internship opportunities to the youth in your local community.
7. Cultivate Your Skills and Talents
Your talents and skills are your best contribution to the country. Whether you’re skilled in the arts, sciences, or sports, your country has benefited from it in one way or another.
If you’re making a living from it, the taxes you pay are used in nation-building. And if you compete in international events, you bring honor to the country. As such, your country will benefit a lot more if you cultivate whatever skills and talents you have.
8. Keep Your Home in Order
The family is the basic unit of society and the home is where someone’s values and beliefs are formed. Thus, keeping your home in order is already making a positive contribution to society.
9. Follow the Law
The law might be harsh or unfair at times but it is the law. And it’s your duty as a citizen to follow them and encourage others to do so.
10. Treat Others With Respect
Being a good citizen means treating everyone with respect no matter who they are or where they come from. Remember that how you treat others reflects the kind of society you were brought up in. If you don’t know how to respect other people’s culture, beliefs, and traditions, then what does that say about your country?
11. Stand up to Injustice
Every day, millions of people are experiencing injustice all over the world. Yet, only very few have the courage to stand up against it. But remember that as long as most of us are turning a blind eye to the injustices happening around us, there can be no real change. Besides, it’s our duty as citizens to defend those who cannot fight for themselves.
12. Conserve Resources
A country’s natural resources are its greatest assets. That’s why doing your part in conserving those resources is already a service to your country.
Besides, resources like water, in particular, are vital to people’s survival. You may not think much about not turning the faucet off or not fixing a leaking pipe but in some areas, all that wasted water can already cost a life.
13. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Just like conserving resources, a good citizen should practice the three R’s: reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Reducing your waste keeps the landfill from overflowing with trash. It also keeps potentially toxic materials from rivers, streams, oceans, and waterways. While reusing and recycling materials saves money and resources. It helps your country save on waste disposal costs. Plus, it ensures that raw materials are turned into new products reducing the need for virgin materials and conserving the country’s resources.
14. Pay Your Taxes
This goes without saying. Paying taxes is an obligation for every income-earning citizen. And if you want to be a good citizen, you must pay your taxes diligently. Your taxes are used to build roads and bridges, fund schools, and pay the military. If you don’t pay your taxes, how will the government do all those?
Being a good citizen may not be that easy but it’s not that hard either. All you need is a little bit of selflessness and a whole lot of love for your country and its people. But at the end of the day, it still boils down to your choices. So make sure to choose to be a good citizen every single day.
About The Author
Judy Ponio is a full time blogger and is devoted to topics about charity, kindness, and Christianity. She is part of Correct Digital, Inc which is paid by private donors to provide website digital marketing services to this non-profit organization.