Qualities of A Good Citizen
A good citizen is one who is a good person. There seems to be no scope for differentiating between the two – for a weak or a bad person cannot be a good citizen and it holds true the other way round also. It is a man’s everyday behavior and his everyday virtues which count and contribute to his character. A good citizen is one whose behavior is consistent with the canons of self-respect and social justice and he should be reliable both in peace and war.
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 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 qualities that can only be nurtured at home. These form the foundation of good citizenship.
A home and a family are miniature groups. 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 to responsibilities. These are the qualities that add up to strength and character. A good citizen puts his country before himself.
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 into 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 be brave and will not be honest. A man who has a great deal of self-respect will be courageous in the face of odds.
Another thing which is necessary is good health. There may be circumstances that 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.