Truth, fair, concern, beneficial, good will, and friendship. These words are the heart and soul of Rotary’s Four Way Test. What these words have in common with civility, good manners and etiquette is that they are all a part of civility, good manners and etiquette.
Telling the truth is what we learn as a child. It is part of your code of ethics at home. That particular code of ethics takes you from home to school to business and into your social and professional life. When you hear something that seems out of the ordinary, it is common to ask, “Is it the truth?” Rotary, just as etiquette, teaches each of us to ask “Is it the truth?” as the first question that comes to mind with an issue or a problem. Your automatic, first answer to the question is always the truth.
The importance of truth brings you to the benefit the truth will provide to those concerned. Fairness, concern, and beneficial; these are all part and parcel of truth. The word “truth” beams of quality, sincerity, honesty, and genuineness. It is ‘the quality of being in accordance with experience.” When you choose truth you are telling others that you hold yourself to the highest level of quality. Reality sets in; jokes and foolishness are dismissed. Fairness comes to the surface immediately after truth. If the truth is real then fairness is the next stepping stone.
Good will and friendship are attainable by being truthful and by having a concern for others. That concern for those concerned will benefit from your desire to build good will. The bridge to your concern for those concerned begins with your quest that the road be beneficial, advantageous, and favorable. Rotary’s Four Way Test is asking if your statement of words that exits your mouth is beneficial to those around you. Take that in, decipher it, and realize how important the reality is of what you said.
You are your own truth. If others know you as someone who is not one of his words, you may want to take a minute to examine what you have become. Find out how far you have strayed from your childhood ‘code of ethics.’ Find out if there is time to tighten your belt and make yourself more accountable for your actions. Perhaps you have slipped into a habit of bending the truth in order to harness a basket of friendship. If so, the acquired friendships were harnessed far from the truth and if the truth were known, you might find yourself more alone then you were when you started your journey. Take Rotary’s Four Way Test to heart and redefine the truth; it will set you free.
Rotary’s Four Way Test of twenty-four words is a comfort each day. Memorize it, recite it, believe it; and live it; I challenge you.