Most people want to be a good citizen of the place where they live: their city, state, country, or world. But what, exactly, does that mean?
A good citizen must contribute, in a positive way, to the community in which they live. That positive contribution might take the form of supporting the other community members, by building something others can use, or perhaps providing a necessary service.
But is that enough? There may be instances where an individual does a job that is necessary for others in the community to thrive. But at the same time, he or she might undermine some segments of that society, through racism, or some other bias.
Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where Lee and Michael discuss this question: ‘What are our responsibilities to others?’ We discuss another question as well, ‘Are we too busy?’
One can easily imagine how self-interest might come into conflict with community service. Ideally, the benefit of the individual and the group would be aligned. However, that won’t always be the case. In fact, the two may inevitably be in conflict, as an individual may have to sacrifice certain opportunities for personal growth for a larger societal good.
What are the attributes that you think make for a good member of a society? Community service? Voting in elections? Checking on your neighbors? Living in the same place for a long time? Owning a small business? Paying taxes? What other examples can you think of?
What make a good citizen? Do you think you are a good citizen?
Related questions: What are our responsibilities to others? What makes a community? Did you vote? Individual or society?
When you think about other people, do you consider that they are inherently good? That they need to struggle with the forces of the world that would make them behave against their better nature?
Or instead, do people start out as essentially greedy, selfish, and lazy? And if they are lucky or disciplined enough, they can overcome these inherent faults to lead a worthwhile life?
Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable podcast, where Michael and Lee discuss the questions ‘How do you define success?’ and ‘Is happiness the most important purpose of life?’
Even if you believe the answer is somewhere in the middle, is it closer to one side or the other?
Does your opinion change on the person or people you are considering? Do friends and family fall into one camp, but strangers in another? What about how you view yourself?
How does time change your answer? Do you think you would have answered this question differently, say, 10 years ago? Is the answer different for children rather than adults?
Finally, what does your answers say about you, and how you view the world?
Related questions: What does it mean to be a good person? How do you judge yourself? To what should we aspire? Who are your role models?
The word “spirituality” means different things to different people.
For some, the word may conjure up visions of a religious ceremony, attended by a cleric, with or without a choir and a sacred text.
Others might think of healing crystals and psychic readings.
Some people think spirituality simply means a walk in the woods, listening to the gentle sounds of nature.
Each person must decide the right way for him or her to commune with something greater than themselves.
Do you have a preferred way? Perhaps meditation? Praying? Ouija board? Tarot deck? Magic eight ball?
What does spirituality mean to you? Are there certain rituals you follow? And how did you come to your views on this very personal belief?
Related questions: Do you believe in the supernatural? Are science and religion compatible? What gives you purpose?
We all have role models in our lives. There are people we look up to, or people we model ourselves after. Who are yours, and why?
There can be many things a person might do to earn your appreciation.
Some people idolize sports figures. In particular, sports figures who have a larger impact than in the arena of athletics. If someone can kick, throw, or hit a ball well, they might be a star. But if they also donate to charity, speak up for underprivileged communities, or otherwise use their platform to try and make the world a better place, they might earn even more fans.
Musicians, through their music, might speak to common issues, and do so in a particularly compelling way. Someone who observes the human condition and can effectively communicate it to others is worthy of praise. That also might describe authors, or artists in general.
Celebrities, religious figures, politicians, and other people who are in the public eye also can be role models.
And, or course, there are people who are not otherwise famous, but who might have a big impact on you: a parent, say, or a teacher. A friend, family member, or mentor.
Is there anyone who you would classify as a role model? What traits do you think are necessary in one?
Related questions: What is the kindest thing someone has done for you? What gives a person value? How much power does an individual have? Have you ever had a mentor? Been a mentor? Who was your best teacher?