There are many views as to what good citizenship entails, but it is generally defined as how a citizen performs a role to become a useful member of society. This involves duties and responsibilities that may be expressed through laws and regulations, or implied through the recognition of right and wrong. Citizenship, in its general sense, is being part of a community, with the person acquiring the privileges and responsibilities of such citizenship. Particular emphasis must be made on the fact that citizenship is a privilege, and its grant is left to the discretion of the state whose citizenship is being sought.
Good citizenship lies mostly in the recognition that members of a community must work together to improve their lives and enhance their relationship with one another. Essential factors toward achieving this include doing volunteer work, initiating community programs, and participating in economic affairs. Some countries recognize the importance of knowing and understanding what good citizenship entails, and have created citizenship education programs. Education promotes good judgment, thus it is considered an essential factor for good citizenship.
A good citizen is an indispensable part of a progressive state. As covered by the social contract theory, a government is established to manage interaction among citizens, define an individual’s rights, enforce these rights, and make sure just compensation is obtained when these rights are violated. In turn, the citizens hand over to the government the powers that may limit some freedom. The purpose of this social contract is to avoid chaos in a community, which is possible without good leadership. From this leadership arises good citizenship, allowing every citizen to expect others to accord respect for his or her legally demandable rights.
There are many characteristics of good citizenship, but the most basic is the moral duty to recognize the rights of others and take care not to infringe upon them. Another important characteristic is the ability to listen to the views of others, because from these views may spring solutions to problems deliberated upon by the community. A good citizen is also willing to adapt to new situations, as well as make quick decisions in matters that need immediate attention. Furthermore, a good citizen knows and obeys the laws of the land, for he or she acknowledges that laws are promulgated with his or her welfare in mind. Based on these factors, good citizenship is said to utilize both the intellectual and social skills of a citizen.