The 4-Way Test The Rotarian and Regional Magazines
Paul Harris-First But Not First International Responsibilities of a Rotarian
First Names or Nicknames Standard Club Constitution
Four Avenues of Service
THE 4-WAY TEST
One of the most widely printed and quoted statements of business ethics in the world is the Rotary "4-Way Test." It was created by Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor in 1932 when he was asked to take charge of the Chicago-based Club Aluminum Company, which was facing bankruptcy. Taylor looked for a way to save the struggling company mired in depression-caused financial difficulties. He drew up a 24-word code of ethics for all employees to follow in their business and professional lives. The 4-Way Test became the guide for sales, production, advertising and all relations with dealers and customers, and the survival of the company was credited to this simple philosophy.
Herb Taylor became president of Rotary International during 1954-55. The 4-Way Test was adopted by Rotary in 1943 and has been translated into more than 100 languages and published in thousands of ways. The message should be known and followed by all Rotarians. "Of the things we think, say or do: 1. Is it the TRUTH? 2. Is it FAIR to all concerned? 3. Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS? 4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?"
Was Paul Harris the first president of a Rotary club? No.
Was Paul Harris the first president of Rotary International? Yes.
There is an easy explanation to this apparent contradiction. Although Paul Harris was the founder and organizer of the first Rotary club in Chicago in 1905, the man selected to be the first president was one of the other founding members, Silvester Schiele.
By the year 1910 there were 16 Rotary clubs, which linked up as an organization called the National Association of Rotary Clubs. A couple of years later the name was changed to International Association of Rotary Clubs as Rotary was organized in Winnipeg, Canada, and then in England, Ireland and Scotland. In 1922 the name was shortened to Rotary International.
When the first organization of Rotary clubs was created in 1910, Paul Harris was selected as the first president. He served in this position for two years, from 1910 until 1912. Thus, the founder of the Rotary idea, who declined to be president of the first club, became the first president of the worldwide organization, Rotary International.
From the earliest days of Rotary, members have referred to each other on a first-name basis. Since personal acquaintanceship and friendship are cornerstones of Rotary, it was natural that many clubs adopted the practice of setting aside formal titles in conversations among members. Individuals who normally would be addressed as Doctor, Professor, Mister, the Honorable or Sir are regularly called Joe, Bill, Charley or Jerry by other Rotarians. The characteristic Rotary club name badge fosters the first-name custom.
In a few areas, such as Europe, club members use a more formal style in addressing fellow members. In other parts of the world, mainly in Asian countries, the practice is to assign each new Rotarian a humorous nickname which relates to some personal characteristic or which is descriptive of the member's business or profession. A member nicknamed "Oxygen" is the manufacturer of chemical gas products. "Trees" is the nickname for the Rotarian in the lumber business, "Building" is the contractor, "Paper" is the stationery or office supply retailer. Other members might carry nicknames like "Muscles," "Foghorn" or "Smiles" as commentaries on their physical features.
The nicknames are frequently a source of good-natured fun and fellowship. But whether a Rotarian is addressed by a given first name or a nickname, the spirit of personal friendship is the initial step which opens doors to all other opportunities for service.
The term "Four Avenues of Service" is frequently used in Rotary literature and information. The "Avenues" refer to the four elements of the Object of Rotary: Club Service, Vocational Service, Community Service and International Service.
Although the Avenues of Service are not found in any formal part of the constitutional documents of Rotary, the concept has been accepted as a means to describe the primary areas of Rotary activity.
"Club Service" involves all of the activities necessary for Rotarians to perform to make their club function successfully.
"Vocational Service" is a description of the opportunity each Rotarian has to represent the dignity and utility of one's vocation to the other members of the club.
"Community Service" pertains to those activities which Rotarians undertake to improve the quality of life in their community. It frequently involves assistance to youth, the aged, handicapped and others who look to Rotary as a source of hope for a better life.
When a Rotarian understands and travels down the "Four Avenues of Service," the Object of Rotary takes on even greater meaning.
The month of April is annually designated as "Rotary's Magazine Month," an occasion to recognize and promote the reading and use of the official RI magazine, The Rotarian, and the regional magazines.
The Rotarian has been around since 1911 as the medium to communicate with Rotarians and to advance the program and Object of Rotary. A primary goal of the magazine is to support the annual theme and philosophy of the RI president and to disseminate information about new and special programs, major meetings and the emphasis of the several official "months" of Rotary.
The Rotarian provides a forum in which both Rotary-related and general interest topics may be explored. The magazine serves as an excellent source of information and ideas for programs at Rotary club meetings and district conferences. Many articles promote international fellowship, goodwill and understanding. Regular readers usually have superior knowledge of the activities of Rotary and how each Rotarian may be more fully involved in the Four Avenues of Service around the world.
In addition to The Rotarian there are 28 regional magazines printed in 22 languages. Although each regional publication has its own unique style and content, they all provide Rotarians with up-to-date information and good reading in April-and all through the year.
As an international organization, Rotary offers each member unique opportunities and responsibilities. Although each Rotarian has first responsibility to uphold the obligations of citizenship of his or her own country, membership in Rotary enables Rotarians to take a somewhat different view of international affairs. In the early 1950s a Rotary philosophy was adopted to describe how a Rotarian may think on a global basis. Here is what it said:
"A world-minded Rotarian:
looks beyond national patriotism and considers himself as sharing responsibility for the advancement of international understanding, goodwill and peace;
resists any tendency to act in terms of national or racial superiority;
seeks and develops common grounds for agreement with peoples of other lands;
defends the rule of law and order to preserve the liberty of the individual so that he may enjoy freedom of thought, speech and assembly, and freedom from persecution, aggression, want and fear;
supports action directed toward improving standards of living for all peoples, realizing that poverty anywhere endangers prosperity everywhere;
upholds the principles of justice for mankind;
strives always to promote peace between nations and prepares to make personal sacrifices for that ideal;
urges and practices a spirit of understanding of every other man's beliefs as a step toward international goodwill, recognizing that there are certain basic moral and spiritual standards which will ensure a richer, fuller life."
That is quite an assignment for any Rotarian to practice in thoughts and actions!
Rotary International is the most territorial organization in the world. It exists in 150 countries and cuts across dozens of languages, political and social structures, customs, religions and traditions. How is it that all of the more than 27,000 Rotary clubs of the world operate in almost identical style? The primary answer is the Standard Rotary Club Constitution.
One of the conditions to receive a charter to become a Rotary club is to accept the Standard Club Constitution, originally adopted in 1922. The Standard Club Constitution outlines administrative techniques for clubs to follow in holding weekly meetings, procedures for membership and classifications, conditions of attendance and payment of dues and other policies relating to public issues and political positions.
This constitutional document provides the framework for all Rotary clubs in the world. When the Standard Club Constitution was accepted, it was agreed that all existing clubs could continue to follow their current constitution. Although most of those early clubs have subsequently endorsed the Standard Constitution, a few pre-1922 clubs still conduct their club affairs according to their former constitutional provisions.
The Standard Club Constitution has to be considered one of the great strengths of Rotary to enable the organization to operate in so many thousands of communities.