- Cullman, Alabama


April 20, 2011

Genuine Citizenship by Jacob Calahan

CULLMAN — By Jacob Calahan

Cullman High School

Genuine Citizenship

As Aristotle once said, “it’s not always the same thing to be a good man and a good citizen.” A good man only possesses the characteristics of being selfless and forgiving. However, a good citizen upholds his or her community’s values, sustains loyalty to the people of the community, and pursues righteousness while possessing the traits of a good man as well. In my quest to be a good citizen, I plan to take actions that will positively impact my world. By paying it forward, I can help improve my community, my school, and my family.

To “pay it forward” in a community leads to improvement in everyone’s lives.  A task as simple as picking up trash will improve the quality of our community. If each individual citizen of our community just did this simple task once or twice a day, our community would be clean in just a few days. Cleanliness will enhance everyone’s quality of life in our community as well as improve the environment. Keeping our community clean will not only have a positive effect on today’s society but will positively affect the societies to come.

Most teenagers do not realize how many chances they have each day “to pay it forward” to others. Being there five days a week and ten months a year, school is a great place to incorporate the “pay it forward” plan. My personal plan to pay it forward at my school is to reach out each day to someone who needs a friend. I will greet any individual in class, during breaks, and at lunch who seems to be alone. Every teenager wants to be a part of something, and if we all reach out to make friends with each other, it will have a positive impact at my school. Outreach can not only brighten one’s day, but it can also help to unite the distinct groups at school.

My family consists of my mom and me, plus my closest neighbors which are my grandparents. Every night my mom is up very late grading papers and taking care of our home, and my grandfather works to meet the needs of my disabled grandmother at all hours of the day while being a support system for my mom and me. A way I can pay it forward to my mom and my grandparents is to help them with their daily jobs so they ccan get some more rest and relief in their long, demanding days. For my mom, I could do laundry, wash dishes, or even something as simple as telling her my appreciation towards her. Mowing the lawn or bringing home supper are great ways to “pay it forward” to my grandparents.

The process of paying it forward will make a positive impact on all of the people that I encounter. Paying it forward does not require a lot of money or time. It is simply taking advantage of every opportunity to do something good for others. Making my world a better place begins with my being a good citizen at home, at school, and in my community. It truly does not matter what I have as long as I am willing to “pay it forward” to others.


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