The first and foremost quality asked of a good citizen is patriotism. He should have a genuine love for his country and should have a sense of involvement in its day to day affairs, in its economic policies and its international relationships. All this cannot be achieved overnight: it is the product of a good training and a good heritage and various other factors contribute towards patriotic feelings. The first among these is the right kind of upbringing. If a child hears only stories of betrayal and listens to a discussion of the various methods of making easy money, he is unlikely to imbibe any good qualities. The hand that rocks the cradle shapes the world. Honesty, integrity and self-respect are the qualities that can only be nurtured at home. These form the foundation of good citizenship.
A home and a family are a miniature group. If a person gets his values and priorities correct while living in it, he will make a good citizen. A good citizen must put the interest of his country before his own personal interest and he should not enter into any contract which may prove harmful to the interest of his country and he must do his share of the work and share due responsibilities. These are the qualities which add up to strength and character. A good citizen puts his country before self. There are many jobs which if correctly performed add to the national progress. Industries, when expanded properly, become a part of national wealth. They provide opportunities for employment and development. A farmer, a teacher, a soldier each one is important in his own role. He who loves his country puts his heart in his job and does it to the best of his ability. A good citizen stays away from anti-social activities like smuggling and corruption.
It is not only the passive virtue of not being anti-social which is important. but the positive quality of asserting oneself, being fearless enough to point out and face anti-social elements. It is not enough to slink out of their way and say that we are not concerned. Courage is not only physical but also moral: one does not require it only when faced by an enemy or in a moment of crisis but in day to day decisions and activities. Courage is intimately connected with self-respect. A man who is servile and can stoop down to any level will not he brave and will not be honest. A man who has a great deal of self-respect will he courageous in the face of odds.
Another thing which is necessary is good health. There may be circumstances which may be beyond our control; but by and large it is the duty of a good citizen to look after his health. For if a man is healthy. he can bestir himself for others; if he is healthy he can do his duty and can afford to he brave; lie can also save the of many precious man-hours. A healthy mind finds its natural habitat in a healthy body.
Added to all these is the sense of pride a person has in his cultural tradition, the feeling of identification he has with his background. However, this pride should not be allowed to deteriorate into chauvinism. It should be seasoned with the proper degree of humility. No country is too small to be on its own; and no country too big to learn from others. And a country needs its citizens to be free and fearless to make it strong. For as the poet has said:
Not gold but only men can make
A nation good and strong
Men who for truth and honor's sake
Stand fast and suffer long.
To be a good citizen, is very important. There are citizens, but everybody cannot be a good citizen. A good citizen needs to absorb many qualities. That he has some duties and responsibilities to bear is true, but at the same time he also enjoys some rights and privileges as a citizen of a free state. While he has every right to participate in the judicial, legal, political, religious and social affairs of the nation, he also has some responsibilities that is, not to injure the sentiments of others and to protect the weak against strong. To stand by state, under all the constitution, is his first and primary duty which he must perform.
A good citizen must be ready to sacrifice everything for the sake of his motherland. He is also required to be a patriot and nationalist. He should have firm and deep faith in the welfare of his motherland. He has to obey law and order. But he has to also keep in his heart, the good of the country, the welfare of the state, and the good of the society. A good citizen must respect the cultural heritage of his country. He will have to respect the heroes, the prophet, the sages and saints of his country. He must respect the race which has given him birth. He must always keep in mind the future of his country. He must raise the standard of living if his country by working honestly, and should always be honest towards his duty.
At the time of hostility from foreigners, he must be ready to shed his blood for the sake of his motherland. As a result, defense of the country is the ultimate duty of a good citizen. A good citizen must live in peace and harmony with his neighbors and fellow citizens. He must love the institutions of his country, and must always respect the laws of the state and should have no tolerance for those who are criminals.
A good citizen always works for the unity. He should work for the unity of the country. Good will for other races, protection for the weak, help for the victims, understanding and kind consideration to his fellow citizens, are all things that are needed in a good citizen. A good citizen must have a spirit of cooperation, friendliness, and dedication for his fellow citizens. He must respect other faiths, and not do something which brings disgrace to his society or to his country.
THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF A GOOD CITIZEN
These include the duty to back the government, to vote in elections, provide public services to institutions of government and to review and question governmental decisions.
To have the freedoms that we have, we must fund our government agencies. The Departments of Health, Defense, Education, Housing etc, all exist to make the citizens’ lives better. To enjoy trouble free lives, the citizen must pay taxes.
Voting in elections is the only way citizens can stay free. When citizens fail to vote or have political opinions, they allow vested interests to have their way. This can restrict their personal freedoms.
It also the responsibility of a free citizen to provide public service to the government. This means volunteering for various agencies and charities, but it also means to serve jury duty. Without this component, people will most certainly lose the opportunity to be judged by a jury of their peers.
Finally, it is a citizen’s duty to scrutinize the government’s actions and take stands against oppression and the loss of their civil rights. When citizens get too unworried, they will not notice when their freedom is being abridged. To make sure that none of these negative things happen, the citizens of a society must act in an active productive way be interested in what is going on around them, and be aware and participate in the changes they may face.