THE ROTARY FOUR-WAY TEST AS A GUIDE TO DAILY LIVING
 
FIRST, IS IT THE TRUTH?
 
SECOND, IS IT FAIR TO ALL CONCERNED?
 
THIRD, WILL IT BUILD GOODWILL AND BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
 
FOURTH, WILL IT BE BENEFICIAL TO ALL CONCERNED?
 
The final installment of the series on the Rotary Four-Way Test as a basis for daily ethical living focuses on the fourth piece of our equation. Each week at the end of our meeting we recite the Four-Way Test, although we tend to face the banner the entire time we recite the words. The final line reads "will it be beneficial to all concerned?" So, "Of the things we think, say or do..." are these things beneficial to other people? Is this our daily goal? We need to stop and ponder as we might blow right by this one because it's past 1:15 and we all have to be somewhere, or we've had enough Rotary for one day, but let's not be cavalier about this last line. What we say, what we think and what we do are the sum total of who we are in the aggregate and will determine what we do with our lives in the ultimate sense; and sooner or later this will determine how we treat other people.

In studying various religions I've determined it would be difficult to find one with a more succinct and easy to follow ethical framework than that of Rotary. Obviously I'm a big fan of religion and faith so I am not slighting that side of life, or suggesting Rotary is a "faith-substitute." which it is not. I am stressing that our Four-Way Test is an excellent ethical guide to daily life in addition to one's personal faith choice. And staying solely in the secular world, modern ethics promotes specific codes of conduct that when followed are viewed as good for the individual and for society as a whole. There are multiple schools of thought and libraries literally filled with texts on modern and ethical theory. Rotary nailed it in 24 words!

Our society is riding a unique wave of self-absorption and taking selfies all along the way. It's hard to fathom but we may become even more narcissistic as a people. As Rotarians we must rise above the eager-average and stand for truth, fairness, goodwill, better friendships and making our world a better place. Someone has to do it... and it might as well be us!
 
Michael McCullar