Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Make them responsible citizens:A mother's letter to a son

A mother's letter to a son explaining how he owes not only to his family but also towards the society at large...

This article of mine featured in a Saturday edition of The New Indian Express.

My dear son,
Remember my last letter where I had shared my joy with you for having had you as my companion during a morning walk we had together in our neighbourhood? How we had marveled at the green belt wrapped around us and its inhabitants-the warblers, the rooster and the squirrels? Well, we wouldn’t have their music and the clean green air and the lovely sight of trees looking down on us had it not been for the people who have maintained it, who have been responsible citizens in their way.
How do I know if I am a good citizen? If I’m aware that what I would expect from others is something others too would expect from me.

So if I want a clean garbage-free locality to live a good life, others around too would be having their set of expectations from me. If I litter the place I am in, I can’t complain to my neighbour for being too noisy. If the presence of an ambulance near my home does not make me enquire who is sick, I can’t count on help from my neighours during my hour of need.. It’s simple - if I lend a helping hand to somebody in distress, I’m only making it easy for that somebody who would surely remember my act of kindness and might be one of the first to jump to a needy person’s side in future.

How can YOU be a good citizen? Well, there have been instances when you’ve shown you’re already one. I still cherish the day when one day you came back home from the park in the evening a little late. A little boy with his little sister were sitting on their own in the park, crying away. You found out with the help of a smattering of Hindi you speak that they couldn’t find their way home for they were new here and were lost! With the help of an equally concerned friend, you had escorted the two siblings home when they could manage to tell their block number. That evening has gone down as a special evening for you and hence for me too. I love to think of the sense of satisfaction in your shining eyes that spoke volumes about how worthy you felt about yourself.

To think of how to be good citizen, your school has shown you that practicing Reduce, Reuse and Recycle can be another sure way of being a responsible citizen. So when we are leaving home late in the week-end evening for a dinner outing, you run around switching off the lights. Electricity saved in a thousand homes at every such opportunity will some day help light up less privileged homes which don’t have the luxury of a bulb even now!

If you think of it, a little effort and a little thought from each one of us can go a long way in making the society a better place to live in. We can all be responsible citizens as long as we keep in mind, what I want for myself should not harm or hurt others and that each one of us have a part to play if we all have to live in peaceful co-existence. Whether it’s the traffic policeman at duty chasing the traffic rule violator, or the driver at the wheel speeding away, or the teacher giving away gems of advice to her pupils or the students applying what they learn to come up with great ideas for a great future, it is in every person’s hand to decide to be a responsible citizen and to stick to that resolution without yielding to temptations like lack of awareness or a sense of duty towards society or sheer laziness.

Since you’ve already shown me you have it in you to be good citizen by religiously implementing what you are learning in school, a mother hopes for a nation where all of us will think and act so that some day we can call ourselves a ‘responsible nation’!

Your optimistic mother with great hopes

(Aparajita Bose -

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