Where exactly IS Rotary?
by Brad Poarch
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about where Rotary shows up in my day-to-day life. Sure, it shows up every Tuesday for our weekly meetings, (Even if I don’t make it in person, it is still there!) but being a Rotarian is about more than just attending a lunch every week, or maybe an extra afterhours function from time to time. Yes, we all look forward to our time at Rotary as a great place to build relationships, but what other opportunities are we looking for in our daily routines that actually make our communities better?
Our mission is pretty clear cut: “We provide service to others, promote integrity, and advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through our fellowship of business, professional, and community leaders.” I think that it all boils down to impacting our neighbors on a personal level. So, does that mean Rotary shows up everytime we do something to improve our community?? Actually, yes. Yes it does!
That brings the challenge; “How do we live the Rotary Mission on a daily basis?” There are the obvious answers like the Club 29 annual project, or our service as bell ringers at Christmas, and my personal favorite; the delivering of dictionaries to third graders. But, I think there are far more not-so-obvious ways that we can drive growth all around us.
Here’s a great example: Follow me on a Tuesday night journey. It’s finally 5:00pm, and you’re driving home from work. The Traffic light turns red, and up walks someone in need looking for help. You have moments to decide how you will offer your assistance. Imagine how simple it would be to always keep a case of bottled water in your car ready to hand out?
We then ask ourselves: Are we living our lives as Rotarians every day? To answer this, we can apply our Four Way Test. Is it the truth? Yes! This person needed our help. Is it fair and did it build goodwill and better friendships? Yes, again! Giving anything shows empathy and will most definitely encourage other drivers to offer their assistance as well. After all, giving is contagious!. Will it be beneficial to all concerned? There are three great benefits: meeting a basic need, providing an example of service to others, and instilling a little pride for doing a good deed. This definitely benefits everyone!
Again, this doesn’t have to be hard! This is actually an easy idea I stole from my (then) 7 year old son, many years ago and we still practice to this day.
When we apply these questions, these standards of Rotary, to the way we live each day, we make each person around us and their days better! I hear you. “Gee Brad, that sure is an oversimplification, don’t you think?” Actually, yes. Yes it is! It is a simple concept, but hear me out. Impacting those with whom we interact with doesn’t have to be hard, but it DOES need to be done with a Rotarian heart.
Just like that, on a regular Tuesday night, on the side of the road, you just embodied the Rotarian lifestyle for less than $1. Much like my 7 year old son, let’s make it a practice to share these moments with each other so we can each find simple ways to be Rotarians!!