Fantastic article about Herbert J. Taylor and The Four-Way Test [“Is it the truth?,” August], and very well timed given the current state of the U.S. and global economies.
The Tallahassee, Fla., program mentioned in your sidebar “Testing, one, two, three” provides a great example of how to apply the test to community leaders while generating positive PR for Rotary. Since 1983, the Rotary Club of Green Bay, Wis., has had a Free Enterprise Award. This award is presented annually to an individual who has created substantial growth of a business entity responsible for providing local employment; has had a significant local economic impact; and has been actively involved in local charitable, civic, government, or service programs.
It has become one of the most coveted awards by leaders in the area. Our club uses it to promote Rotary as well as a fundraising dinner event for our club’s local foundation. On average, the event raises $25,000 annually while promoting the ideals of Rotary. More information can be found at www.greenbayrotary.com .
Green Bay, Wis., USA
I found the August sidebar “A brief history of the golden rule” interesting. Two authors offer the platinum rule: Do unto others as they want done unto them. Imagine the possibilities.
Todd C. Ganos
Carmel, Calif., USA
I enjoyed reading the article about Herbert Taylor and The Four-Way Test. The article aptly described the ethics of the man and his contributions to Rotary’s ideals.
As the article noted, Taylor was born in Pickford, Mich., USA. He graduated from high school in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. It should be noted that Rotarians from District 6290 (part of Ontario, Canada, and Michigan) and friends raised funds and erected a life-size bronze statue of Taylor. That statue stands proudly in downtown Sault Ste. Marie, adorned with appropriate inscriptions and a plaque with The Four-Way Test.
Apollo, Pa., USA
I read with interest your article about The Four-Way Test, but here is why it is wrong and should not be promoted by Rotary:
1) Is it the TRUTH? The truth is variable. It used to be the “truth” that the world was flat. And if you didn’t accept that truth, you were burned at the stake. Then for many years it was taught that the world was round. Now they say it’s elliptical because of the pull of gravity. Which is true?
2) Is it FAIR to all concerned? This seldom works. Is it fair to the villagers in Afghanistan when we have to bomb out a house where terrorists are hiding? The fact is that in life, you can’t always be fair to all concerned, and you have to try to make a good decision about what is best for the majority of people. Or, perhaps, your group.
3) Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS? Lawyers know that this is not the way the world works. When there is a dispute, to settle it in an amicable way, one has to reduce the level of unfairness that each party feels, and get the parties to agree to something they don’t like and don’t feel is fair but will accept to avoid further stress and conflict. Arbitrators often say that a good settlement is one where both sides feel cheated. It doesn’t build goodwill, and it certainly doesn’t lead to better friendships, but it does decrease stress and conflict in society. The backslapping, salesman type who is always trying to be liked and create goodwill is a thing of the past, if that sort ever existed.
4) Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned? This is certainly not the way the world works. Almost invariably, what is good for one person is negative for another. There may be some “win-win” situations in life, but it’s important for mature people to realize that not every action can be beneficial or even fair to all parties concerned, and that for life to move forward smoothly, some people have to sacrifice.
Santa Monica, Calif., USA
I enjoyed Paul Engleman’s article on e-mail etiquette [Management, August]. I have three more rules:
- Send nothing that moves. For example, pens writing the sender’s signature over and over – very distracting.
- Don’t use screened backgrounds behind copy. Depending on screen density and type of design or pattern, these can make readers have to squint.
- Avoid attachments that could just as easily be pasted into the main message. In most cases, this saves space, as well as being two steps more reader-friendly. (Step 1, find link and open. Step 2, close the attachment and … what did that say? Step 1 … )
- Stay away from after-message pearls of wisdom and lengthy Draconian disclaimers below the signature. So you’re enamored of Confucius; maybe I’m not. And is your adage really in sync with the message in the e-mail? Draco, the ancient Athenian lawgiver, would enjoy the disclaimers that make you wonder whether you should just turn yourself in at the nearest police station. Notice that these never come at the start of a message, only well after the main text.
Edmond, Okla., USA
Half the solution
The article “Water and wellness” in the August issue got me thinking that clean water is just one half of the health issue. We need a similar solution for proper disposal of human waste. This would be an appropriate undertaking because one of the first Rotary club projects was a public toilet in Chicago.
Ann Arbor, Mich., USA
Editor’s note: Watch for a special focus on sanitation in an upcoming issue.
How nice to see the article “Globe-trotter” in the July issue [Up Front]. My wife, Jesmin (a secondary school teacher), and I were fortunate to be homestay guests of Mary Stitt for about a week in 2005 while we were visiting Chicago for the RI Convention. We are all members of the International Travel and Hosting Fellowship.
She took us to different Rotary-related programs, including a National Immunization Day volunteers picnic. Upon Jesmin’s request, she took us to visit the school that was named after her in 1992, as Olive-Mary Stitt Elementary School.
Her dedication and service remind me of Service Above Self. It is impossible to describe her in just a few words – like a great teacher, excellent mother, wonderful grandma, and dedicated Rotarian. She is much more than that. Jesmin and I will carry with us forever the greatness of Ms. Mary Stitt!
Sk. Abdul Hadi
Recognizing a hero
On behalf of my family in particular, and all Rotarians in general, I want to thank you for the fine article you wrote about my father, C. Wright Hollingsworth, a longtime Rotarian and Korean War veteran, in the June issue [“After 58 years, a Bronze Star,” Up Front]. Before I had even seen it, I received a congratulatory call from a fellow Rotarian in the Rotary Club of East Nassau, Bahamas, and then from many other friends around the world. We framed a copy for my father, who was extremely moved that his accomplishments as a veteran, as a Rotarian, and as a man would be recognized so vividly.
Without his long and active membership in Rotary, I never would have enjoyed the Rotary experience I do today. Without his heroism in Korea, and those gallant veterans who saved his life, neither I, my children, my brother and sisters, nor their children would exist today. Thanks for reminding us that we still have heroes among us, and that we should cherish them.
Roswell, Ga., USA