I’ve always gotten a kick out of New Year’s resolutions, mostly because I’m guilty (like most) of falling off the bandwagon mid-February. Eating healthier, joining a gym, learning a new skill – they’re all worthwhile endeavors, but this year I encourage us as Rotarians to recommit to the values we share to expand our impact on the community.
The past two years have been extraordinary as we’ve faced a devastating pandemic and adjusted our lives from work and school routines to taking extra health precautions whenever we leave our homes. When I was in law school, I never imagined being in trial shouting through an N95 mask so the jury could hear me – a small inconvenience compared to the sacrifice of our heroic healthcare professionals. I was so optimistic we were moving on from Covid as our vaccinations in Oklahoma County climbed by early fall. Were you like me and felt invincible once you were fully vaccinated? I was back to shaking hands, giving out hugs to strangers (not really), and resuming a somewhat “normal” life again. Then the variants ramped up, and here we are beginning a new year with Omicron. I think by now everyone’s patience has been tested (not to mention every other stress in our lives weighing on us). So I propose we recommit to Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor’s Four-Way Test to help us navigate our personal and professional relationships in 2022.
The four questions are as follows:
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?
The first two questions remind me of the tenets of my career in journalism. Every day for ten years, my reporting focused on truth-telling, getting multiple sources to ensure we had the facts right, and gathering both sides of the story so that it’s presented fairly. The third question reminds me of my grandfather (“Papa”) who passed away over the holidays. Having never graduated college, at a young age he became a successful sales executive and traveled the world. When he died, people he mentored told us how he built strong teams of employees who respected each other and worked well together. Everyone talked about his kindness. He was a greeter at my church, and his smile and handshake were enough to make anyone feel seen and welcome.
As Rotarians, our work in the community answers the fourth question. We put service about self. I encourage you to join me in implementing Taylor’s Four-Way Test in every facet of our lives and relationships, whether you own a small business or teach at a university or work in the legal profession like me (and might find this to be challenging to live by every now and then in a courtroom!). It’s through our leadership and relationships with others that we have the opportunity to shape our city and community in this new year.