What happens when too many of us stop making it a habit to act like citizens? When we start to hear “that’s not my problem” more than we hear “how can I help?” When we see more people disengaging or opting out of participation, rather than joining in and raising their hands?
Living like a citizen — like a contributing, pro-social member of a community — isn’t something we can take for granted. That’s why we’re dedicated to helping others build up this civic muscle and motivation. It’s the only way to build a nation that delivers on its promise.
This is the first of a three-part series to unpack the core ingredients of our recipe for success: citizenship, culture, and catalyzing.
This post encourages you to consider what’s possible with a broader understanding and a deeper commitment to infusing these elements into your life. How might you live more like a citizen at your job or on your block? What skills do you have to be a “citizen influencer” even on a small scale? Here’s where to start.
Using our head: Understanding citizenship
As you’ve hopefully picked up, we think about citizenship in the deep ethical sense — not just what passports or papers we may have.
Citizenship is about participating and taking responsibility for the good, the bad, and the ugly of our society.
Wherever we and our ancestors were born, we can find purpose by choosing to live like a citizen.
In a recent civic sermon, Eric Liu provided this contrast: “The cynic is uninterested in why people act. The citizen is endlessly curious. The cynic gets disillusioned, and stops. The citizen gets disillusioned, and replaces illusion with vision. The cynic lets things happen. The citizen makes things happen.”
Simply put, power + character = citizenship. It calls upon us to use our civic power for good. When we each consciously embrace our character and activate our power, that’s when each of us are truly living like citizens.