- Rhea James
Civic Sense is a layman’s term just like its usage - it is social ethics by considering the other person as a human being. You can possess Civic Sense in your physical attributes - like preventing littering on the streets, smoking only on allocated places, respecting people’s privacy - but also in your psychological attributes like being polite to others, being humble, respecting everyone including elders, women, men, children, and disabled persons. These are just some examples, but you would have gotten the idea.
Ethics define you as a person and they determine how others perceive you. Manners should be instilled in everyone from the molding stage of life. The etiquettes that we learn are not only important in schools, colleges, and workplaces, but also essential otherwise because they shape our lives. In spite of inculcating good manners we have become so indifferent to our surroundings that we hardly care about it.
We consider all the social, cultural, religious, educational events just a waste of time instead of a time to relish the bond of togetherness with others. The curve of our country’s growth and growth of our manners and social culture is inversely proportional . We have been exploiting public places like they are our private property. We litter the places like we own them. But again, would we do something like that in our own houses? Would we spit tobacco or throw wrappers on the floor? And later, when someone questions the state of the country, we are all but ready to point fingers.
There are several instances where we are to blame but we don’t accept it, and therefore find someone to blame: the government. Albeit there are several things they can do, we have to accept it sooner or later: we are part of the problem. The clogging of drains happens because we use plastic bags. The streets are dirty because we aren’t responsible enough. The seas are filthy because we throw so much garbage regularly without giving a second’s thought - this was evident during the Tuaktae cyclone where the seas decided to answer back, and they did so very loudly.
Vandalism, intolerance, racism, vulgar graffiti, road rage, unhygienic environment are some examples of lack of civic sense. We accuse everyone of it as it surrounds us in the environment but we want someone else to take the initiative for bringing a change. Everyone should be taught about civic sense just like the way we warn about fire because the latter affects an individual but the former affects the whole society. Through stories, especially of our religion, we have been taught that valuing our social culture, ethics and our surroundings is paramount.
Our religion’s sacred books beseech us to ingrain the attributes of kindness, compassion, humanity, empathy, charity, sacrifice, generosity, non-violence and self-sacrifice, but when it comes to applying that in real life, only a few individuals actually practice it. In ancient Rome, virtues and social conduct were of great value, to the point that they had been told that sin could be avoided with the preaching of good morals of life.
Contrary to the past, the present generation is more materialistic rather than moralistic. Love has been overshadowed with lust; selfishness over generosity: apathy over sympathy; negativity over positivity. We have become so self-centered that we have no time for the development of others. Civic sense gives us a feeling of pride and ownership and that should be taught to everyone in a positive sense.
It’s never too late to learn new things or bring back the morals of life. Civic Sense is the need of the hour so contribute your part and preach it to others. We, together, can build the ideal world.