The Rotary Club of Pismo Beach / Five Cites
Ryan Brennan, First Place
Grade 8, Coastal Christian School
Teacher: Mrs. Sano
The Four Way Test is a very constructive guideline that is beneficial to many events and issues. If every citizen, every student, every human being used this test as a pattern and indicator for their dilemmas and obstacles, our community would become a more compassionate wiser place. The Four Way Test asks these questions: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it bring goodwill and better friendships? And is it beneficial to all concerned?
Is it the truth? You might ask yourself this question when you are in a place where you are advising somebody about a certain situation to which you were a witness. To determine if it is the truth, say to yourself “If this person were at the scenario would what I am saying line up with what they saw?” If it does not then maybe you are exaggerating, or stretching the truth. Both of these are dishonest and should be avoided. Although it might seem easy enough to fib to get out of trouble, it would lead to more untruthfulness and lying. An example is when my family and I went to see a movie at the drive-in theater. We pulled up and saw the prices for each age. I was considered an adult therefore it cost seven dollars more than the child’s price. When we arrived at the ticket booth the employee assumed I received the child’s price and she inquired “And you get the child’s price, correct?” I could have easily proclaimed a little white lie and drove on; I mean it could have saved seven dollars. I eventually told the truth about my age and cannot complain that I did because on the drive out I glanced at a sign that stated if you lied about you age then you would be fined over one hundred dollars. As a result I acquired knowledge in the experience and I can look back and say it was in line with the Four Way Test.
Is it fair to all concerned? When something is fair it is unbiased as well as demonstrates impartiality. An example of fairness as well as impartiality is the U.S. court system. Our court system states that you are innocent before proven guilty. It grants the accused the right to not be judged on appearance for his evaluation to be fair. Fairness is also a quality needed everywhere such as school or work. Performing a fair task means that you are doing it out of you heart and not just because you want to improve your reputation or because you want to impress the person who asked the favor. A fair decision requires a fair and just judge. Making a fair decision is difficult especially if it is an area that is unclear and gray. When you ask yourself if something is fair you need to determine each side justly and without any persuasion or influence from others.
Will it bring goodwill and better friendships? The definition of good will is a friendly disposition; benevolence; kindness (dictionary.reference.com). If you are kind to someone it will strengthen your relationship with him. Therefore out of good will, friendships grow. Goodwill can include anything from unloading the dishwasher to donating to a charity. Sometimes even acknowledging outcasts and having a brief conversation will make them feel important and loved. Some are worried about being shunned by their friends for interacting with the outcasts. If that is the case then they are not genuine friends and comments should be ignored. Gossip is common in conversations and certainly does not bring goodwill or better friendships. Sometimes making a small negative comment can get around and animosity as well as tension can be apparent in relationships. Gossips corollary results in sabotaged friendships and numerous enemies. Gossip should be eluded because it does the contrast of what the Four Way Test asks.
Is it beneficial to all concerned? When you are about to say or do something this question is good to remember. It is helpful to ask this when you are about to do something impulsive. Beneficial means that it will bring advantages to others that you have influence over or you are an example to them. This is an uncommon thing in today’s culture as a result of the concept that every thing revolves around oneself and one rarely thinks of others or their benefits. An instance that this question can be compared to is when I received an art set when I was young. It was given to me when I was young and I rarely used it, my sister on the other hand painted often and would constantly ask to borrow them so she could paint pictures for other people. I was stubborn and only sometimes loaned them to her. My decision was selfish and certainly not beneficial to all concerned.
As a result the Four Way Test applies to all subjects and situations. This is a great and simple way to solve problems and make decisions. It is beneficial because any obstacle you stumble upon, this will aid you to get back on track.