The media have done their part to report a corrupt government official who has been sacked from office, a man who has raped and impregnated his own daughter, youths who have turned into criminal gangs, disgruntled politicians who have picked up arms to go to the bush to rebel against what they call a dictatorship government and many other things.
All these and many more are warning signals of a society that lacks responsible citizens and is at the verge of destruction.
Responsible citizens are the greatest gift that a community can have. When the citizens choose to become wasted and unproductive the verdict is written on the sky- No future for such a community.
For the last few decades an increasing proportion of the Ugandan population has ceased to feel responsible for the common defense, for productive work, for choosing able men and women to represent them in politics, for accepting personal responsibility for the needs of the community, or even for their own livelihood.
My greatest worry is that unless this deterioration is arrested, the responsible citizens will be too few to support and protect the irresponsible. If citizens choose to drink from 5 Am till late in the night and from Monday to Sunday ii quite obvious that they will not work but spend all the time in leisure. It is always entertainment, drinking, gambling and crimes.
There is nothing like being productive. Modem civilization offers a great variety of diversions, amusements, and enticements – some of them baneful. But modem civilization does not offer many inducements to the performance of duties, except perhaps monetary payment, and certainly it does not teach people that the real reward for responsible citizenship is the preservation of a free society.
The monetary economy has placed money above everything. You can hardly spend five minutes without thinking about money. This too much quest for money only misguides citizens to think that they can only work in expectation for money.
The truth is that it is not money that can induce citizens to labor and sacrifice for the common good. Citizens must be moved by patriotism and their attachment to the Constitution. And patriotism alone, ignorant boasting about ones native land, would not suffice to preserve the Republic. It is action that country wants from its citizens.
Just like moral virtue, responsibility is first acquired in family and home. Nobody does more to injure a sense of responsibility than a parent who abandons children to the television set and the peer group, “liberating” them from household chores and study at home.
Assigning and enforcing duties within home and family, though it may seem stern at first, is kindness to everybody in the long run. Ultimately, the recovery of a sense of responsibility is bound up with the recovery of the old concept and virtue of piety, gratitude toward God for his gift of life, gratitude toward one’s ancestors, concern for one’s children and descendents. Such a sense of responsibility is in keeping with the philosophy upon which the nation was built.
Our children can be inspired, equipped, and mobilized to make a difference in the world. Not only do children’s actions help others, it helps them become happier and more successful adults. The more children learn to develop skills and abilities that support citizenship, the greater mark they make on the world. It’s that simple.
Democracies need citizens to play three roles and the more roles people play, the greater society thrives. Parents and educators influence how kids view citizenship and how they eventually turn ideas and passion into action.
No matter how young or old, everyone can make their mark on the world through good citizenship. We have the capacity to help children and teenagers become great citizens; compassionate people who are responsible, organized, and innovative.
Not only will they serve the good of the nation but they will become tomorrow’s ethical business leaders, parents, and workers. While we know this is how democracy thrives, there is one hitch. Citizenship is developed during childhood and adolescence.
Parents, educators, and community leaders can help kids become part of a new generation of young people who are prepared to take responsibility, lead others, and tackle tomorrow’s social and environmental challenges.