Today I’d like to talk about teaching your child to be a good citizen.
I was surprised to discover how difficult it is to accurately describe what constitutes a “good citizen”. There are MANY views out there. But for me, simple is always better.
Good Citizen: A person who works to make the community a better place for all (people and animals alike).
Community refers to immediate family, school family, neighbourhood community, country and world.
As with anything we’re trying to teach children, the most effective thing you can do is to CONSISTENTLY model the trait you desire.
So here are a few ideas:
1. Behave democratically with your own children: That is, give them choice within boundaries. Have family discussions and occasional votes.
For example, when my boys were 12 and 14, we had a family vote about spending our vacation in Disneyland or Hawaii. Hawaii won so that’s where we went. I was the Disneyland holdout and I still haven’t been!
2. Practice RESPECT always. Speak respectfully to your spouse, to your children, to the neighbours, the store clerks, even to the people on TV you might disagree with.
3. Discuss the importance of voting with your children and how we should respect and value this privilege and then take them with you to the polling station.
4. Discuss current problems and issues in the community with your children but be sure they are hearing and considering both sides! Encourage them to develop a critical stance and to question what they hear and read.
The book “Kids Care” looks like it has lots of fun ideas for children to actively and meaningfully make a positive difference in world.
I found this very cute citizenship song. I’m sorry I don’t know the tune. But perhaps you could make up your own? Or maybe just use it as a poem.