raising responsible citizens

Raising Responsible Citizens – The Need Today for Collective Reform

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The world’s largest democracy India, recently underwent the process of electing their new government and thus, political debates seem to be the favorite past-time of the season. We have all become way too familiar with terms like Liberals, Conservatives, Nationalists, Socialists, Right Wing, Left Wing, etc. Most developed countries are undergoing elections or are in a transition-phase. It is more important now than ever that we focus on raising responsible citizens.

Unfortunately, the system of gaining votes by banishing the opposition, ridiculing women and name-calling is what makes these developed countries seem to be on the contrary.

Development doesn’t necessarily only represent a huge infrastructure, tall buildings, swanky metros, huge shopping malls, big universities and out-of-the-world touristic hotspots.

Development of a nation needs to start at a grass-root level, with each individual.

Development begins in the mind first. Development lies in humanity, and is reflected in compassion, empathy and acceptance. If most so-called ‘developed countries’ had to go by these parameters of development, they would come out to be as the most under-developed nations. Unfortunately, we seem to have lost humanity and empathy for our fellow citizens, on a national and global level.

Collective Reform on the “Me First” Attitude

Unfortunately, this is where our system has failed us. Instead of making us think at a community level, each one of us is busy thinking at an individual level. Personal gains and benefits is what seem to matter the most.

Believe it or not, this ‘Me First’ thinking needs to be uprooted, for the betterment of our society. For it begins at our homes, where we teach our kids to look out for themselves first before others.

This thinking is further fueled by competitiveness at school and eventually turns into a mentality, which is very hard to break free from. And by the time we are done with school and college and ready to take up a job, we are told that now we will know about how hard and cruel this world is. Do we even realize that we are training ourselves to become that ‘hard and cruel’ part that we are always warned about?

We tend to begin most new phases of our lives with sheer competitiveness and selfishness. Competition over GPA, over who is getting more perks at work, over whose baby begins walking first, over whose food tastes betters and the list can go on.

Why can’t we just celebrate these milestones and achievements without comparing it to someone else? Why can’t we just take pride in that moment and be grateful for what we have achieved? Why do we have to out-do someone else or put someone down to make ourselves feel better? Does self-worth always have to come at someone else’s expense?

What was once just a thought process then gets imbibed into us and becomes a mentality. This eccentric mentality then lives with us forever and very few people are fortunate enough to break away from it. We get so used to thriving on others failures that we forget to cherish our own joys. And this is exactly what is happening all around us and this is why we see a huge rise in relationship instability, financial instability, depression, anxiety, bullying, substance abuse and other social and mental problems.

Raising Responsible Citizens – The Need Today for Collective Reform

Raising Responsible Citizens

We need to start with mentoring the younger generation to uplift each other and look out for one another. A few ways how we can train our children to become more compassionate towards others are:-

 

Sharing is Caring

 As toddlers and pre-schoolers, we need to emphasize to our little ones the importance of sharing and what better way to start than by sharing toys. This may be extremely hard for the child but eventually he/she will be able to shake off this feeling.
Children should be taught to share with their friends and classmates at school. Water, snacks, school supplies or notes…what they share doesn’t matter. What matters is that they don’t hold on to things only for themselves and open up their hands (and hearts) to others.
The one thing every child can never have enough of is toys. So if your child insists on hoarding toys, teach him/her to give away one old toy for every new one they get. They can give it away in charity or give it to a friend. The emphasis here should be on sharing and NOT on parting away with something.

Fiscal Responsibility

If you give your child pocket money, ensure to also educate them about budgeting, saving and caring. Teach them to spend within their limit, to save some for later and to give a part of it towards charity. This way we are training them to grow up to become responsible and compassionate adults. Allow them to give some charity themselves to the homeless, less fortunate, community helpers, etc.

Be a Helping Hand

Every now and then, send some food to your neighbors and ask your children to give it to them. This is one of the best ways for a child to learn how to share first-hand.

While trying to raise our kids well and teach them empathy, we are in turn bettering ourselves too. Every act of teaching someone to be good OR do a good deed is in fact a starting point for us, towards improving ourselves. And anything done habitually can turn a thought into a thought-process. So why not make it a POSITIVE one!

Activism

It is so important to teach our kids early to speak up about what needs to be better. Don’t forget to read these 20 ways to inspire kids by showing up every day with little acts of activism. It is the little things, that make a big difference as a collective.

 

Read Books


Before building and developing the infrastructure and economy of a country, we need to start developing its’ citizens first.

And the best way to go forth is by focusing on building character. Tolerance, acceptance, compassion, respect, humanity, empathy are just to name a few of the characteristics that need to be imbibed into people.

For this is where, the true success of development lies!

 

You can find more easy activities you can do at home with your kids here.

 

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Author: Minali Bajaj Syed

Minali Bajaj-Syed is an Indian, born and settled in Kuwait. Having lived in Kuwait, India and the United States, I have had the opportunity to experience a diverse set of cultures. Thus, I consider myself as a global citizen. I am always learning, evolving and trying to spread some positivity. On most days, I am a mother to two kids and a food blogger on Instagram @cinnamon_cardamom.

7 Replies to “Raising Responsible Citizens – The Need Today for Collective Reform

  1. Charity begins at home …we have heard. Change begins at home too. It is about time we learn that too. A timely article!!

  2. I get so excited when I see the young people who are making huge change in the world, from the gun reform advocates from Florida to the young people suing the government over climate change. We adults had better listen up—and encourage other young people to speak their minds, too.

  3. This was a great read. I am raising a little one right now and I am always looking for more I do for her to show her things she can do.

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