Friday, March 6, 2009

Where can you find those items you need to be a citizen?

My last blog discussed morals and ethics needed to be a good citizen. There is a two volume set of books by William J. Bennett. The Book of Virtues and The Moral Compass. These books are not the definitive books on morals and ethics only the books that help explain them so everyone can understand them. They came out in 1995 and 1996, so you should be able to find them in any bookstore or book sales by non-profit agencies.
As I said, they are a very easy read. He explains what he is going to discuss then gives very good examples. He breaks it down in the various areas of society, so you can go to that area and it discusses those standards that are applicable.
In the area within The Moral Compass, chapter six, "Citizenship and Leadership", he starts out by explaining that," we are all members of groups, clubs, churches, school organizations, civic organizations and political parties in order to better ourselves and the condition of others."
"The success of any organization depends on the character of its citizens. Good citizens
are those who know and live up to their duties by exercising virtues such as responsibility,
loyalty, self-discipline, work and friendship."
He also reminds us of other virtues required to hold such positions as team captain, club president, state representative, member of a student council, vestry, or board of directors. Such virtues are: "compassion, courage, perseverance, wisdom and sometimes faith." Leaders are ultimately judged in terms of how well they serve their followers and by the examples they set..... They lead not just by command, but by the force of their good character. Good leaders are also good followers. They know how to help shoulder a load and share hardships. Good leaders are also grateful for the gifts and opportunities given and work hard to preserve and improve them. Gratitude counts, "especially among a people blessed with an inheritance of political freedom and material wealth unmatched in the history of mankind."
Have you ever had a leader that is not cheerful? We all have. Cheerfulness is also a necessity in a good leader.
"They all knew him! He was the man that cannot steer, that cannot splice, that dodges the
work on dark nights, that, aloft, holds on frantically with both arms and legs and swears at
the wind, the sleet, the darkness; the man who curses the sea while others work. The man
who is the last out and the first in when all hands are called. The man who can't do most
things and won't do the rest. The pet of philanthropists and self-seeking landlubbers. The
sympathetic and deserving creature that knows all about his rights, but knows nothing of
courage, of endurance, and of the unexpressed faith, of the unspoken loyalty that knits
together a ship's company." Joseph Conrad
Whiners, grumblers and complainers are not simply unattractive, they are symptoms of selfishness. And an overriding concern with the "self" is not the business of citizenship.
You sometimes wonder what kind of citizens our leaders are. Many are only out for themselves, fortunately for us we also have others who are out for the common good.

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