“Twenty Questions,” well, sort-of.

Have you ever been to a Rotary meeting? 

Some of you may already be drifting off . . . but honestly, attending  just one meeting of the Brandon ’86 self-proclaimed “Greatest Rotary Club in the World” could wash away all of your mid-winter blues. 

I was a proud member of this great club, but grad school, then Peace Corps and now traveling keep me from their doors on a regular basis, but when I do go, something wonderful always happens.  

The magic starts when a large group of people gather and greet each other warmly at 7:00 a.m. on a Friday morning.

Yup, 7:00 a.m., Friday morning, friendly faces!   

Folks select their seats and the magic begins to spread as laughter and gentle joking fills the room.

By 7:15 you are feeling great and no longer sorry you rose, showered and drove a bit out of your way to attend. 

Just before you eat, everyone rises, and among other things, recites the Rotary “Four Way Test.” 

Are you still with me? Good, hang in there.

(Something about hearing fifty or so folks say this in unison always gets to me.)

First – Is it the TRUTH?

Second – Is it FAIR to all concerned?

Third – Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIP?

Fourth – Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?  

These questions were the musings of Herbert J. Taylor, a businessman and Rotary member, who in 1932 penned them to help himself deal with a business crisis.

I think Taylor was a wise man to take this approach, because questions are truly transformational.

We wouldn’t ask questions, if we did not believe we had a choice or a future.

My favorite question, and one I wish I would remember to ask myself  every single time I face a dilemma or stressful situation, is:  

Is there any other way to look at this situation then the way I am looking at it right now? 

Twenty words that can change your life, because – I truly believe – the answer is always:

 “Yes” there is another way, and probably more than one.

It takes courage, openness, patience and hope to ask and answer this question.

But the rewards are great.

Just like getting up early to hang-out with old friends on a Friday morning.

This is my version of the Twenty Questions game.

Have a great weekend.

Oh, and just for fun here is the Rotary “Four Way Test” in French and German:

Le critère des quatre questions:

  1. Est-ce conforme à la vérité ?
  2. Est-ce loyal de part et d’autre ?
  3. Est-ce susceptible de stimuler la bonne volonté réciproque et de créer de meilleures relations amicales ?
  4. Est-ce profitable à tous les intéressés?”

Die 4-Fragen-Probe

Bezüglich der Dinge, die wir denken, sagen oder tun:

  1. Ist es wahr?
  2. Ist es fair für alle Beteiligten?
  3. Wird es Freundschaft und guten Willen fördern?
  4. Wird es dem Wohl aller Beteiligten dienen?

Ciao, “Au Revoir”, “Auf Wiedersehen”

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