Being a better citizen means taking an active role in your community and contributing to the common good. It’s about being informed and engaged, and about working together with others to create a better world.
It’s also about identity and defining who you are, as well as what you want for yourself and the people you love. It’s the work of a lifetime, but it can be nourishing to get involved. For some, being a good citizen and holding that sense of communal responsibility is enough to provide real, substantiated happiness. We’re social creatures, after all, and while our minds have developed since our tribal days, we’re still designed to focus on the bigger picture.
Without further ado, here are some steps you can take to be a better citizen:
Stay Informed About Local, National, And Global Issues
One of the key ways to be a better citizen is to stay informed about local, national, and global issues. This might involve reading the news, watching documentaries and news programs, or attending talks by figures you think are important.
By staying informed, you’ll be able to understand the challenges and opportunities facing your community and the world, and to make more informed decisions. Don’t think you have to shoulder every problem you come across, however. You can focus on the issues you really care about – for instance abortion rights, gun laws for felons, or social justice. Knowing what you can actually contribute to is an important skill, and will help you avoid that annoying sense of political impotence that only tires you out.
Exercise Your Right To Vote
Another important way to be a better citizen is to exercise your right to vote. This means registering to vote, educating yourself about the candidates and issues on the ballot, and casting your vote in elections. By exercising your right to vote, you’ll be able to participate in the political process and have a say in the decisions that affect your community and the world.
Many people question the utility of voting, especially if they live in a ‘safe seat’ for a particular party or candidate, or if they’ve never seen anyone they’ve voted for get into office. That said, voting is unfortunately not a provision afforded to every citizen on this planet. For that reason, it’s important to exercise that right. Without trying to sound dramatic, many people throughout history have given everything for your right to do that. So at least give it a go!
Get Involved In Your Community!
Being a better citizen also means getting involved in your community. This might involve volunteering for a local charity or organization, participating in community events and activities, or joining a community group or club.
Note that you don’t have to be “part of the club” to get involved. It might be that your church is partaking in a local fundraiser for a particular cause. You don’t have to go to church or be religious to support them with your actions. They’ll appreciate your efforts all the same.
By getting involved in your community, you’ll be able to contribute to the common good and to make a positive difference in the lives of others.
Be An Active And Engaged Citizen
Being a better citizen also means being an active and engaged citizen. This means staying informed and involved, and being willing to speak up and take action when necessary. For example, you might write a letter to your local newspaper, attend a town hall meeting, or organize a community event.
By being active and engaged, you’ll be able to participate more fully in the political process and to make your voice heard. Even if it’s just moaning about a silly decision your child’s school is making in the parent-teacher oganization, you’ve had your say, and have made some impact. Never discount the power of one voice.
Work Together With Others
Finally, being a better citizen means working together with others. This might involve collaborating with other community members, joining forces with like-minded organizations, or participating in coalitions and campaigns. By working together with others, you’ll be able to achieve more and to create a greater impact in your community and the world.
In conclusion, being a better citizen means staying informed, exercising your right to vote, getting involved in your community, being active and engaged, and working together with others. By taking these steps, you’ll be able to contribute to the common good and to push the needle a little further towards the world you want.
That said, even if we never get that utopia, the act of being engaged is infinitely healthier than feeling completely isolated and cut-off.