We often hear in conversations how our culture has changed dramatically over the years in Liberia. Of course several factors can be considered responsible for this change. Without even going through this write-up we know some of you have started naming other factors or your own.
Two obvious factors in our country’s history can stand very tall as contributors or reasons for Liberia’s cultural change. Some of you will agree with us that the civil war is one; and undoubtedly the 2014 Ebola Virus Disease crisis is another.
Everything that we are attempting to reveal or share with you, will always be linked or intertwined to previous efforts of ours. In our debut presentation we focused on the topic: Transforming violence, hatred, deceit, gossips, material destruction and corruption into positive thinking; the case of Liberia’s development agenda.
In this write-up, we are directing our attention to:Adopting a good-citizenship culture—the indispensable recipe for Liberia’s growth and development. In comparison, the two topics are directed at our common denominator—LIBERIA; what is or should be done to bring it back to its pre-war status or even make it comparable to other countries in the region or the world. In our previous work we stated how we as a people or country have been the first to achieve some remarkable things; despite our geographic location, size or economic status but have failed one way or the other in making good use of those achievements for the betterment of our dear country.
And like we have and continue to say, our efforts are meant to contribute in a meaningfully way to the development or revamping of our darling and beloved country. So since we are talking about being a good citizen in this write-up, we want to give you a simple definition of a good citizen. We will from time to time shun ambiguity in our use of words or phrases and prioritize your understanding.
This is a very simple and clear definition of who a good citizen is. A good citizen is some who respects others and their property. He/she is helpful and considerate, willing to put others first. He/she listens to the views of others and thinks about what they have to say.
He/she helps people who are not in a position to help themselves. He/she respects the environment and does not damage it in anyway. He/she works hard.
He/she is well mannered and pleasant.
He/she is always willing to learn.
Nobody should come from a different planet to let us know that if we as a people just take some time to understand this very simple definition, our country we destroyed during our civil war and the sufferings we endured by the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease will vanish from our mental history; and we will begin to put all of our energy and effort to ensure the speedy and determined rebuilding of our country.
Now we want to dwell a little on each part of this definition beginning with: A good citizen is some who respects others and their property. How many of us are guilty of this or can beat our chest to say yes we do this as a typical Liberian? But before you respect others you must respect yourself. Do we sincerely respect ourselves? What is our definition of self-respect? Do we listen to the emotions of our bodies? Do we take good care of ourselves? For example when you get up in the morning preparing for school, work or whatever activity you plan to undertake, do you make up your bed and brush your teeth properly? Do we check our body odor and temperature before departing our homes? What about checking to make sure our pair of socks don’t smell? Or our singlet (underwear) and pants are clean? Do we clean our homes whether bed rooms or entire house before setting our feet outside? Are we time conscious in what we do; whether for ourselves or others? If we check all of these and give ourselves a thumbs-up, then we can safely say we are on the path to respecting others. There is a common saying that charity begins at home and ends abroad. If we are doing all of these properly for ourselves, then the possibility of doing them for others is very likely.
He/she is helpful and considerate, willing to put others first. Is this a fair comment for us Liberians? Or is it the crab mentally we have in Liberia…if I cannot get it, then nobody gets it? Are we helpful and considerate group of people? Are we the always wanting set of people? Like it is said we want to eat to the extent we use our tongues to lick our elbows? Please keep contemplating as you read along fitting yourself in each of these categories.
He/she listens to the views of others and thinks about what they have to say.
Are we a listening type of people, or most times we want to be listened to? Do we care about what people around us are thinking, be it people we supervise or our supervisors? Since we begin from the homes, do we think about what our children’s views are? What about the views of our husbands, wives and other relatives and friends? What about house maids and housekeepers? Do we take note of the conditions of our homes…when there are cracks, leaks or damaged doors and windows? What about our vehicles and other things that make life comfortable for us?
He/she helps people who are not in a position to help themselves.
Is this part of a typical Liberian attitude? Or again it is all about us, us and us period? Are we getting there gradually or the war and Ebola killed or washed it away? Maybe we should start giving time lines like by the year 2030, 2050 or 2070; Liberians will begin to adorn such attitude.
He/she respects the environment and does not damage it in anyway.
We are all very pretty guilty of this right? If we were being punished for this guilt, we wonder what kind of punishment would be meted against us as a people. Because every day we are either polluting our environment or damaging it in so many forms and manners. We litter our communities, streets and cities with filths almost consciously on a daily basis. In some instances we are very aware of the consequences but pretend to be ignorant. One thing is crystal clear; if we pollute or damage our environment, we are certainly endangering our survival. This attitude is mostly unique to urban dwellers given the industrialization nature of it. The big factories letting out smoke and vehicles doing theirs on the streets as well. This is not to say that rural dwellers are not engaged in such pollution and damage. They do theirs but at a different level and scale. This is one area that needs serious consideration as we take a majestic match in rebuilding our country.
He/she works hard.
Are we hard working people? In whatever capacity we find ourselves, do we think we are a hard working set of people? Do we take initiatives as individuals or as a community? Are we the “give me some more” type of people?
He/she is well mannered and pleasant. Are we well-mannered and pleasant people? Or like we said earlier we disrespect ourselves and others. Do we allow our temperament to override us in any given situation? Do we have on pleasant looks even in difficult conditions? Or our faces are always covered with frowns when things go bad for us?
He/she is always willing to learn.
Are we willing to learn always? Do we take advantage of given opportunities to advance ourselves academically or otherwise? Or we want to be spoon-fed?
Now that we have made attempts to analyze each part of this simple definition of who a good citizen is, we need to now mirror ourselves individually or collectively to see how can fit into each part of this good citizenship we are writing about.
May we remind you that being a good citizen is not an event but rather a process that requires a well sustained and determined individual input.
The rebuilding of this country will not be achieved until its citizens change their attitude. We have to stop the petty jealousy and be supportive of each other in whatever way possible.
Good citizenship is mutual respect. It is not spreading rumors about things you don’t know. Good citizenship is giving just salaries to your civil servants on a timely basis.
Good citizenship is taking care of the elderly in a proper manner. They played their roles and need to be cared for. Good citizenship is taking good care of your family, children, wives, husbands and extended family members.
Good citizenship is not raining insults at your leaders in any form or manner. Good citizenship is not using public property to fight karate in the street.
Good citizenship is not setting conditions for employment when someone is not qualified. Good citizenship is not encouraging homosexuality or lesbianism in the Liberian society.
Good citizenship is providing quality education to your people. Good citizenship is making good use of the education provided to advance yourselves to contribute to the rebuilding of the country.
Above all good citizenship is self-evaluation and doing the right thing at the right time and for the right purpose.
Again please don’t hesitate to let us know what you think about our write-up. Send us a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org.