By Debra Paul
Why are you important to society? To your community? How do you tie into the bigger picture or into the grand scheme of things?
While we often find ourselves worrying about navigating the ins and outs of our own day-to-day lives, the way that we as people, interact in our community is critical in what role we play in our town and how it works.
The idea that we affect our communities by using our voices and becoming involved is known as civic engagement. And it is especially important for residents who want to stay in a town for a while it is almost like creating your place in the community.
By encouraging residents to become active participants in their community, it not only helps the town grow and improve, but also creates citizens who are better informed on the processes and events happening in the area.
However, how many of us can name all of your Town Councilors, School Board members and State Representative? How many of us pay attention to local elections and to decisions that affect your taxes? Probably not.
We believe that civic virtues are essential to a successful, strong, healthy, vibrant, community.
Civicness is the spirit of service; it is a sense of personal ownership of one’s role as a citizen in town, making society work better. An example of this could be to vote in your local primary and general elections.
Letting your voice be heard on a smaller scale has a much larger effect. Instead of being upset later on over what and how decisions were made, and complaining about something you can change, take action now.
Learning through having conversations in which the goal is to learn how to solve a problem. These conversations can include disagreements.
When individuals or groups disagree, instead of yelling, both sides should focus on listening to the opposing argument. In learning another’s perspective first, instead of assuming or judging, a civil engagement is created.
This level of civility, which we can maintain in most of our interactions with others, helps prepare us for becoming better problem solvers and members of new.
Community is building, and building networks of relationships that bridge traditional divides. In recognizing your differences from another, you are a more aware and willing citizen when it comes to acknowledging and accepting those who differ from you.
Civicness is believed to encourage, educate and nurture the growth of civic responsibility and awareness in our communities. History has proven the communities with civic-minded residents tend to stay in the town for generation because of a strong sense of belonging.
Civic engagement is a necessity. Make a difference in your community now and for the rest of your life.