Code of Ethics and the Four Way Test

Below is a presentation that I prepared to present today for local high school students about ethics and the four way test.


Everyone needs a Code of Ethics that they can live with each day.

“You must be the change you want to see in the world.” – Mahatma Ghandi

Since it was developed in 1932 by Herbert J. Taylor, who later became RI president, it has never ceased to be relevant.   Its four brief questions that are not based on culture or religion.   Instead, they are a simple checklist for ethical behavior.   They transcend generations and national borders.

The 4 Way Test of Rotary has endured so long because it teaches of the value of ethical actions within ourselves.

1. IS IT THE TRUTH? – to value truth is a sign of nobility.   The pursuit of truth is the avowed purpose of any scientific inquiry. TRUTH is objective and sometimes bitter to confront – especially the TRUTH about ourselves.   Nonetheless it is an inescapable TRUTH – that in the end we will all have to face the TRUTH about ourselves – THE FINAL ANALYSIS. As Shakespeare so eloquently put it in Hamlet – when we journey to “that undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveller returns.”   So perhaps Rotary’s first lesson is – TO THINE OWNSELF BE TRUE.

2. IS IT FAIR TO ALL CONCERNED? – A close ally to truth is fairness. The TRUTH is only a worthwhile objective if we use it fairly. Fairness itself is a controversial and contested concept.   But in simple parlance, it means treating everyone with equal concern and respect.   Respect for one another is a key ingredient of the 4 Way Test.   As the American writer Jackson Brown Jr. said, “Live so that when your children think of fairness and integrity, they think of you.”

3. WILL IT BUILD GOODWILL AND BETTER FRIENDSHIPS – this is the key to the Rotary way.   It is our friendship that binds us in a common bond of service to humanity.    That bond must be preserved at all times.   Sometimes even at the expense of TRUTH. The TRUTH is the tool by which we are supposed to build goodwill and better friendships – NOT DESTROY IT.

4. WILL IT BE BENEFICIAL TO ALL CONCERNED?   This requires us to consider the value of TRUTH within the context in which it is applied.   We need to asked whether the context requires us to subjugate the TRUTH to some other value like – KINDNESS or COMPASSION?   There are situations where the TRUTH is compromised or hidden in order to pursue a greater benefit.   To blindly pursue TRUTH at any cost is not the Rotary way. To do a greater good – compromise may be required.

It has been said that Rotary service is not a destination, it is a journey.   Wisdom teaches us to value friendship and cherish it as does our 4 Way Test.    I am reminded of the saying:  “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world.   Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”

–Thomas Smith

District Meeting

Today was the District Meeting for Presidents, President-Elects and President-Elect Nominees.  It was an interesting experience.

I was there by 8am and it was fun to share time with other members of my Club in particular.  Also, besides the general sessions I attended on Visioning and one on the new international grant program Future Vision.  I had been to both of these sessions previously but I think I still picked up some new information or clarified my understanding.

The Race

Today I met with the head of the Tour de Palm Springs about the SAG stop at Ruth Hardy Park.  It is going to require logistical support such as unloading and loading the truck, mixing the water and gator aid, holding the bikes, and making sure that the stop runs smoothly.

There will be a meeting on February 5 to provide additional training for other SAG Captains.   This week I need to get the releases organized and try to find some additional people – including some that lift things like eight foot tables and many water bottles and refuse that has to be loaded back on the truck when the stop is closed by the head of SAG stops.

The Race

Tour de Palm Springs

15th Annual Tour de Palm Springs

February 9, 2013

Today I talked with the person responsible for planning all the Stops for the Race.  I will be a Captain for Ruth Hardy Park Stop this year.  Also, talked with the Tour Chair for the Rotary Foundation about the need for more people to help with the SAG stop.  We will need to unload the truck, mix the water and gaterade, hand out bananas and fruit and nut mix, and hold the bikes for riders that need to stop.  There will be a band, porta poties, refreshments and a festive atmosphere at the stop.    We need at least fifteen people to work and a co-captain.

Club Assembly

Wow!!  What a great meeting today of the Rotary Club of Palm Springs.   Before the meeting three of us met to discuss the April fundraising event at a local country club.  It was productive.   Both of the people are so bright and experienced in Rotary.

Today was a Club Assembly and each member of the Board gave an overview of what has been happening and what is planned in their area.  It was well received by those in attendance.  It really is wonderful to be part of such a fantastic club.

And it was such an honor to be introduced as the President- elect for 2014-2015.  Many of the club members offered congratulations.  I am so happy.  Also, I was presented with the Paul Harris plus two pin at the meeting.

After the meeting three of us went over to a condo and emptied out some things that had been donated for the upcoming Rotary Annual Garage Sales (RAGS).  While driving over I had an interesting conversation with a member who has been in Rotary since 1971.  Amazing.  He was telling about how it was when women joined the Club for the first time and about his early days in Rotary.

President Nominee


Today the Rotary Club of Palm Springs, California will be having the first meeting of the Board of Directors for 2013-2014.  The meeting is at noon and I am really excited and honored to have been elected to the Board of Directors.

This year 2012-2013, I  have been on the Board of Directors and was appointed by our fabulous President.    The experience has been great.


The meeting was at noon and I am honored to have been elected by the Board of Directors as the President Nominee for 2014-15.   I am very excited.   I was unanimously elected.  I am really honored to have been selected.

I have been in Rotary for about six years.  Three years in Rotary Club of Palm Springs, CA, two years in Rotary Club of Lexington, KY, and one year in the Bloomfield Hills, MI club.  Our Club in Palm Springs is GREAT!   We have a long history since 1941 and the Palm Springs Club was actually started by the founder of Rotary International Paul Harris when he would winter in Palm Springs.

This is so exciting.  It will allow me to give back to my community and it will fill a real need that I have in my life.  I am so excited.