Character Counts: Citizenship

July 1, 2021 | Betsi Ashby

With America’s Independence Day just a few days away, citizenship becomes top of mind for many celebrating this day. While many Americans were born and raised in the USA (cue Springstein’s Born in the USA), many others found their path to citizenship by immigrating from other countries and going through a lengthy process to become a citizen. As you consider your own citizenship to your country, what does it mean to you? Does it mean you are a part of group of people who work together towards similar goals? Does it mean a government you pay taxes to in exchange for services or protections? As you reflect on what this means to you, consider your own place in your country. Beyond your country, where/what else do you consider yourself a citizen of?

This month’s character trait is Citizenship—as we reflect on this trait, take a moment to reflect on our definition:

in other words:

After you reflect on what being a citizen is for you, discuss what citizenship means with your child(ren)—here are some discussion prompts and questions to help dig deep into this character trait, what it means, and how your child(ren) can be good citizens:

      • First, ask your kids if they can define Citizenship.
      • Read with them the definition (above). See how the definitions compare.
      • What makes a community?
      • What communities are you a part of? Do you like being a part of these communities? What do you appreciate about them?
      • What are the qualities of a good citizen?
      • What responsibilities do you have as a citizen? What privileges do you have?
      • What are some things we can do to serve our family, our school, our city, or our country in these current times?
      • Can one person make a difference? Can you think of an example (or more), perhaps someone studied this year?
      • What does Everyone counts mean to you?
      • For older children, consider discussing this idea of citizenship in relation to the historical events they have recently studied (civil rights, immigrants, women’s rights, etc.)
      • Imagine what the world would be like if we all just lived for ourselves.
      • Take the time to make an acrostic of “CITIZENSHIP” (for example: C-Community or Country, I-Indespensible or Indivisible, etc.). Display it in your home to remind you of this month’s character trait.
      • Search for quotes from people that you think exemplify citizenship. Share them as a family or write them up.
      • If you could pick one person that you know to be “Citizen of the Month” who would you pick and why?

Lastly, this quote from Margaret Mead really captures the reality of what happens with citizens join together—to make big changes in the world!

Another wonderful and simple way to begin this month with your child(ren) is to read books that tell stories of citizenship (take a look at BOTH of our book lists for all ages in our posts from last year—Part I and Part II)!

Another way to keep this character trait of the month top of mind is to print and hang our Citizenship poster! Click here to download.







Want more resources? Read Teaching Character Through Literature: Citizenship Part I and Teaching Character Through Literature: Citizenship Part II – Black American Culture.

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