Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities and in ourselves.

The fifth in a series of brief reflections on the Rotary International Vision Statement
And Take Action
“Some men see things as they are and say Why. I dream things that never were and say Why Not.” These words were quoted by Senator Edward Kennedy at the funeral of his brother Robert who, in turn had harkened back to his brother President John F. Kennedy who used it in a speech to the Irish Parliament, quoting the author George Bernard Shaw from whom, in slight variation, it had originated. But for those of us who came of age in the late 1950’s and early 60’s, this quote at the funeral of Bobby Kennedy was one which encapsulated our desire to come together, to dream big, to unite and take action on any number of issues confronting our world at that time.
I am reminded of that time, of that idealism, of that hope, today in the midst of a world troubled by so many issues and difficulties. And living in the midst of that world, it would be easy to throw up our hands in a gesture of defeat saying either this is not my problem or ask, with a sense of despair, the age old question of just why all this is happening.
But we are Rotarians and as such we are people of action. The purpose of uniting, as we said in the last reflection, is to become one. But uniting for the sake of uniting bears no fruit, no results and, above all, no action. Uniting is for a purpose, a reason, a means by which to achieve a goal.
So when Rotarians unite in missions, in projects, in service it is for the purpose of taking action to achieve whatever goals or objectives they have set for themselves. Sometimes the goals are large and world defining – ending Polio being first among them. But sometimes the project is much smaller – clearing trash or planting trees in their local communities. Nevertheless the end result is the same. Rotarians will not sit on the sidelines bemoaning the fact that things are bad. They will not wring their hands and just say WHY! Rather they will roll up their sleeves, sometimes literally, and dig in to see that their actions produce results. They will fix that little league ball field; they will feed the hungry at that food pantry, they will get that well installed in a land in which they do not even reside and they will, they will, do everything in their power to defeat this dreadful disease called Polio. Like George Bernard Shaw, like the Kennedys and like so many others down through the century we Rotarians will dream things that never were and say “why not” because we are People of Action.   

The Rotary Four-Way Test

The Four-Way Test (of the things we think, say or do):
  1. Is it TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  3. Will it build GOOD WILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

The Object of Rotary

The object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise and , in particular, to encourage and foster: 
  • First - the development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service;
  • Second - High ethical standards in business and professions; the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations; and the dignifying by each Rotarian of his occupation as an opportunity to serve society; 
  • Third - The application of the ideal of service by every Rotarian to his personal, business, and community life;
  • Fourth - The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service. 
September 2019
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