How can I be a useful citizen? Some form of that question has been rolling around in my head for a long time. I buried it for a
while during the pandemic lockdown but it’s back.
It’s not a simple question.
Engaged and useful are not always the same.
Being engaged but at the cost of your wellbeing is helping the enemy. I’ve spent too much time
thinking about the state of my neighborhood, my city, this country, the world.
Thinking is not doing so I’ve tried to be a doer also.
I have the usual useful citizen civic participation badges:
- attend and/or help plan community events? check
- donate money and/or stuff to orgs that ask and seem hard working? check
- explain issues to family, neighbors, and others? check
- serve on boards? check
- shop locally on the regular? check
- volunteer with grassroots and larger nonprofits?? check
- vote and sign others up to vote? check
Yes, millions of us have done these things and still do them on the regular.
So I’ve also tried watching others to see how they do it but sadly have trouble identifying people
who are all three: engaged, useful, and well.
In this new round of questioning and seeking, I know I should do a few things differently and/or
do some new things “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different
Here’s 3 things I think might be doable & worth working on …
1. looking harder for communities of engaged citizens who are aware of the need to get and
stay emotionally and physically well while doing “the work”. Wellbeing is part of their culture.
2. insisting harder that organizations I get involved in are aware of, clear about, and upfront in
public about who is really and most immediately benefiting from their actions.
3. being okay with being the Eeyore in the room.
But what ELSE to do to be an engaged AND useful citizen?
Help me! If you have answers to these and/or related questions, things you’ve tried that worked,
I’d love to hear from you. Also, sign up for my “I have questions” e-newsletter to stay connected.