Wednesday’s Parent: Will your child be a good citizen?

Citizenship is MORE than voting. Photo by Mike Licht,

Citizenship is MORE than voting. Photo by Mike Licht,

Uncle Sam in the photo is praising those who registered to vote and then exercised that right but there is much more involved to achieve good citizenship.

Our children are our future so how prepared are they to assume adult responsibilities? Will they have the skills, desire and drive to become great leaders in our families and communities?

The answers matter because our kids’ success is directly related related to the success of our families, our neighborhoods, our nation and yes, the world. Our children will soon be the next political, economic, social and cultural leaders. They will be the main ones governing, financing, interacting and creating.

Decisions matter more

As teens transition from high school to college, college to the working world, the decisions they make have greater and greater consequences. Will they maximize their higher education opportunities? Will they remain curious and become life-long learners? Will they make sure they are informed about current issues? Will they be able to support themselves? Will they care about others? Will they do a good job picking out our nursing homes?

Okay, I threw that last one in because this is how my husband jokingly summarizes the importance of good family relationships and decision-making capabilities. But it showcases our personal need for confidence in our children’s decision-making abilities.

Good citizens do for the community what good children do for their parents. They care, they are concerned, they contribute.

Good citizens care

The last Wednesday’s Parent post was all about healthy self-esteem but good citizens also care about others. Caring is like a growing fruit tree. It starts with wanting the best for family members and branches out to include friends, neighbors, and others.

Good citizens are concerned

The foliage thickens on the caring tree as good citizens notice problems. They are concerned enough about the issues to learn as much as possible, including listening to both sides before taking a stand.

Good citizens contribute

Good citizens participate instead of being idle bystanders. With each expression of action, the caring tree bears fruit benefitting the recipient(s) of the contribution.

Parents can help

The best way we parents can help our children become good citizens is to be one. We can also include our kids in some experiences to develop another generation of good citizens. Go beyond taking your child with you in the voting booth (I used to do this, do you?) with some of these ideas:

  • Talk about current events. Knowledge is the first step in caring.
  • Watch a documentary together. Being informed encourages concern.
  • Join a group. Their are clubs for every interest that would appreciate another contributing member.
  • Sign-up for a project. School events, neighborhood clean-ups, nursing homes, food pantries, disaster relief, there is always someone who needs help.

Read Suzanne’s post Wednesday’s Parent: The Apathetic Generation for some shocking statistics and more ways to teach your kids to be good citizens. Then you will be able to answer the question I initially posed: Will your child be a good citizen?


Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Suzanne Shaffer and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

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