When I look back to my years of schooling, it is very easy to think of examples of the type of citizenship education that we were taught. Lessons were usually based on a moral lesson which allowed us to develop as people in society. Simple lessons from kindergarten such as learning that sharing is caring, and helping someone in need was very important. As we got older, the lessons were usually more societal based and allowed us to think about the our place in society and what was required in order for us to make a difference. Those differences that we were supposed to make were not actually meant for us to make change, but help where needed and develop a good self-image in the community. Looking back, we were never really challenged to find out what needed to change for the societal issues to progress and change for the good. It was our job to donate food, help the homeless by giving them a couple bucks outside 711, or maybe give away some old clothes for people in need. It was for us to be able to pat ourselves on the back and feel like we were making a difference, compared to taking the time and investing our time in changing the narrative for the good.
The focus of our education was to create a Personally-responsible citizen by being someone who fit into society and did the things that were expected of us, instead of exceeding the expectations. When we got into high school, things changed a little bit. The expectation grew a little and our education was more so modelled to be a participatory citizen. That is when we were told to advocate and explore the societal issues a little differently than before. It looked good on us to be involved in the community, which was only ever done through the mandatory community service hours that were required.
I hope that one day curriculum allows students to explore the real issues within society and not just develop young adults that help the community to help themselves succeed. The importance to being an outstanding citizen goes beyond what one takes credit for. Being a good citizen should be about the good a person does without acknowledgment and credit. That is when you know a person is truly invested in the betterment of society and the people they share the world with.