A few months ago, one of my professors raised this question during our discussion: “What are your standards of a good citizen?” I pondered on this particular question for so long until such time that I finally concluded that in order to answer this question, one must result to an in-depth analysis on how we need to act and how we live to create an impact.
“To be or not to be?” As William Shakespeare has metaphorically represented the fullness of a person’s life, I have come to the sudden realization that this quotation represents our being citizens…citizens of and for the world, that is.
From the quotation, we can slowly uncover the notion of both living and dying. In layman’s terms, people would usually relate “good citizens” to those who abide by the laws and societal norms. If you pay the right amount of taxes without hesitation and arrogance –you’ll live –and if you do otherwise, your life and everything you own would be at stake. However, this does not define my standards of what a good citizen upholds nor does it answer the question of to be or not to be at all.
A fresh graduate would be more than just eager to find an appropriate job that would lead to the fulfillment of his/her dreams, but on the onset of that, the option of working abroad is present. I honestly think that it would be better if the graduates would opt to stay for a few years or more to work within our country’s bounds. This is also a way for them to establish a good track record as a boss or an employee that would alleviate Filipinos all around the world. It’s all about learning to give back to our dear motherland; it’s all about working for the betterment of it as well. This would test our loyalty to our country. Dutiful: to be or not to be?
Someone gets included in a criminal case, he/she might pass the blame onto someone else. Hypothetically, the judiciary members lacked verification and the one who got blamed wasn’t given any justice. We have rules and yet we always find a loophole, a way out. The laws that we have might or might not be applicable to all, but it is still the law. An ethical citizen would realize that even when no eyes are watching, the consequences, just like lifetime imprisonment, are just swooping around waiting for their next prey. We might not memorize all the rules and statements of our constitution, but we do know what’s right from wrong, and that can be justified enough. Acquiescent: to be or not to be?
Having the ultimate liberty to love, the feeling of romance sometimes becomes a reason for mistakes and flaws. Given a scenario of a young, married couple wanting to start a family right after matrimony, the common dilemma would usually be the lack of family planning. Their needs and the needs of their children should be calculated and budgeted well in order for a smooth sailing family lifestyle to take place. A practical citizen would know how to plan ahead as to negate all financially-related dilemmas nearing him/her. It is okay to form a family, a big one, if your plate is not too full. But remember, the responsibilities of parents include building a home and managing the household. A good citizen would always weigh down a few measures just so he/she can make wise decisions. Accountable: to be or not to be?
A national issue comes up and so do our rants. It goes from endless hashtags to the most offensive memes. If we want to be called good citizens, then we must realize that complaining and ranting with indignation on social media networks isn’t the way to help the country. There would always be a peaceful manner to prevent big and terrifying disputes. We should also understand that the government enacts a bit of complexity with its house bills, resolutions, and projects. And because the members of the government are also human,they also experience twists of fate. In spite of that, it is part of their job to maximize whatever they have left. As mentioned by my Global Society professor, “Leadership is hard, you always have to make a choice. When you’re a leader, you have to make a choice that would benefit all.” We don’t trust what we can’t understand, and regardless of the “favorites” or “likes” that we receive, we are still close-minded people. There isn’t a border between the government and its people, and there wouldn’t be one at all if we at least, swallow our pride, and try to look at two sides or the brighter picture. Open-minded: to be or not to be?
Lastly, I strongly believe that we should at least be able to turn our words and promises into actions. If we have a bunch of dreams, most especially as the hope of tomorrow, we should at least try to fulfill them in order for us to strive for a better future and a more unified country. We are all under a chain of interconnectedness nowadays, what one does, will surely affect the society in either a macro or micro way. The greatest citizens of the world, would simply believe that they are obliged to contribute to their respective origins and correspond to its bylaws and legalities –we ought to build a strong society. Determined: to be or not to be?
We all belong somewhere, and once we become settled, the choice of what we plan to do is in our hands from then on. Our existence is ultimately the reason why we should learn about our rights, obligations, and duties –we live this way because we have a purpose. And if we ever doubt the system that made us do all these things, revolting isn’t the answer nor is toppling opinions one over the other. As a citizen who has and will continue to meet the bar, all we have to do is ask ourselves the question of “to be or not to be.”
But in becoming good citizens, was there really a choice in the first place?
**Just a little teaser from our founder: