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As a teacher, I find that modeling is the best teacher when it comes to work ethic and civil values. Students as well as other citizens will learn from positive examples what it means to give back to the community and country we live in and to participate in the civil discourse and democratic process of elections. I also think everyone should see Washington DC at some point in their lives, as it is an education about who we are and what we value as a society.
The best way to get people to demonstrate more citizenship is to get them to feel that their government and their society work for them.
People will not feel very motivated to participate as citizens if they feel alienated by their government. Therefore, in order to promote citizenship, government has to show that it is responsive to the people. Once the government can show this, people will feel more connected to it and to the society around them and they will do things that show more citizenship (voting more, participating in campaigns, attending public meetings).
I think that different nations will have different conceptions as to what citizenship embodies and how to demonstrate it. We can use some basic principles as a starting point in this discussion. The idea of voting is something that is a critical component to all citizenship because it helps enhance stake in the nation's direction and notion of progress. Individuals who are in a setting where voting is allowed, but not as widespread as it should be could focus on assisting and encouraging the process. For example, if individuals live in an area filled with snow on election days, in order to encourage voting participation, shoveling driveways and walkways to make sure that this is not used as a reason to not vote could be one avenue to pursue. Perhaps, constructing signs or actively encouraging people to vote could be another avenue taken to increase and demonstrate citizenship. I think that being able to enhance the idea of social community is another way to bring about a greater sense of citizenship. This means being able to assist others in times of need. During a challenging economic period such as what we are in now, this might look different in different settings, but being able to demonstrate that citizenship is not a process of isolation, but rather a vision of collectivity could mean that individuals could help out one another in a variety of ways in trying times. For example, trying to make sure that food shelters and clothing shelters are properly stocked and assisted could be another way to enhance citizenship.
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