Spirituality of Rotary’s Four Way Test PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 15 August 2016 14:08



LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “…and the truth shall make you free’…” (Jesus Christ, our God and Savior, in John 8:32, the Holy Bible).

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DISTRICT 3810 PUBLIC IMAGE SEMINAR AN EYE OPENER: In the lecture I delivered before Rotarians from Rotary International District 3810 (covering Manila, Pasay City, Cavite, and Occidental Mindoro) on August 13, 2016 during a seminar on public imaging at the Heritage Hotel Manila, I talked about the need for all Rotarians to be fully aware of the rich and colorful history of Rotary since it was founded in 1905 by lawyer Paul B. Harris in the United States.

It is only when a Rotarian possesses a firm grasp of the culture that gave rise to Rotary, and on how the organization came to adopt the world-famous Four Way Test for all its members worldwide, that he can effectively portray what Rotary is, when it comes to giving “service above self”.

So, I asked the seminar participants: what is the Rotary’s Four Way Test, and how was it formulated and later on adopted by Rotary? The surprise was that those present, who have been Rotarians for a good number of years, only had a fuzzy recollection of what the test consists of, and how it came about. The seminar, to me, was an eye opener of things that must be pursued by Rotary leaders in the years to come.

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THE ORIGINS OF ROTARY’S FOUR WAY TEST: What is the Four Way Test of Rotary International? The answer is that, it is a set of questions, using only 24 words in all, which provides a guideline for day-to-day living. The questions: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Surprisingly, these 24-word questions were not germane to Rotary—meaning that, it was not Rotary which formulated it nor gave birth to it. The questions came from a businessman by the name of Herbert J. Taylor whose company, the Club Aluminum Products distributing company, was on the verge of bankruptcy.

In his search for ways to reverse the misfortune of his corporation, Taylor found himself with this profound thought: if Club Aluminum was to recover, its officials and employees must adopt a change of mind and behavior, so that they would reflect the high ethics and morals God would want in any business.

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SPIRITUALITY AND ROTARY’S FOUR WAY TEST: Taylor then searched and researched, reading many books in the process, so he could come up with an easily remembered guide to right conduct, or some sort of an ethical yardstick which everyone in his company could memorize and apply to what they thought, said, and did. But nothing came out of his efforts.

As he was about to give up, he paused, and, by his own words: “… so I did what I often do when I have a problem I can’t answer myself: I turn to the One who has all the answers. I leaned over my desk, rested my head in my hands and prayed. After a few moments, I looked up and reached for a white paper card. Then I wrote down the twenty-four words that had come to me.”

The 24 words that Taylor wrote became the four questions comprising Rotary’s Four Way Test. In the 1940s, when Taylor became a director of Rotary International, he proposed the adoption of his questions as guide for Rotarians the world over, which was approved. Now, Rotary has grown to about 32,000 clubs in the world, with 1.2 million members. Can you guess why it grew so well through the years?

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THANK YOU, DISTRICT 3810: On a final note, I wish to thank District 3810 Governor Ernest Yuyek and Past District Governor Karen Tamayo (the District 3810 Trainer), and Senior Deputy Governor Marianio Siasat, the head of District 3810 Public Image Unit, for giving me the opportunity to talk during the seminar. It was indeed a pleasure interacting with other Rotarians, especially on the subject matter of radio broadcasting. Mabuhay!