Tuesday, October 23, 2007
So today I became a Rotarian!
Rotary is a worldwide organization of more than 1.2 million business, professional, and community leaders. Members of Rotary clubs, known as Rotarians, provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world. There are over 32,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas. Clubs are nonpolitical, nonreligious, and open to all cultures, races, and creeds. As signified by the motto Service Above Self, Rotary’s main objective is service — in the community, in the workplace, and throughout the world.
I even wore pants! I don't like pants but I do like what this group stands for!
I must admit that up until this past year I didn't know much about this organization. I knew they existed, I'd seen the signs in many communities and read about a Rotary thing here or there but I never really knew what they were about. I think as a kid growing up in small towns across Canada I would say I had the impression this was another veterans type group like the Canadian Legion with cheap beer halls available to those who just wanted to drop in and share a story or two with a fellow vet.
That changed a year ago when I was first introduced to the FOUR-WAY test. This really did it for me. It just seems that the world would be a better place if everyone lived up to this on a daily basis no matter what they were doing.
So after I attended a few meetings with my sponsor, Laurie Peterka from Practical Solutions I decided I could live with the few interesting things done at meetings, including singing a short song and saying a prayer before eating. Really I mean I'm a white Canadian Male with no rhythm and even less skill on the vocal front. Fortunately no one is judging my singing abilities.
Anyway, the real reason I'm writing this post is because I wanted to write out the very hastily written notes I made in preparation for the few minutes I got to speak to my fellow Rotarians without fear of being fined! The fines are a whole other story but the thing is I basically left out a whole line of thought primarily because I had scribbled these notes at the last minute before the meeting knowing I should have done it a lot sooner and, well, I missed a whole page!
So here goes.... If I could say it over again!
Thank you President Patrick and fellow Rotarians. (A bell goes off and you have to pay a fine if you don't address fellow Rotarians properly!)
I came to the island 5 years ago to work as a pharmacist not knowing what to expect and not knowing how long we would stay. I will admit that it took a full four years here before I came to really know about the Rotary club and what it stood for. Sure I knew it existed but I never really knew what it was about. Until this (holding up the Underwater World of Saipan DVD). (That's kind of a joke b/c if I was to do that at any other time in a meeting I would of course be fined!)
This (the DVD) gave me the opportunity as a business man to sit in Ben Babauta's office at DFS, month after month, every time reading the 4 way test posted on his wall. It just made sense and as I've gotten to know Ben I can see that he operates with this mentality.
As some of you know I lost my father unexpectedly a few years ago, right before I started to put together this DVD (hold up DVD again!). In fact it is dedicated to him. Every time I've sat in Ben's office and read the test I've thought of my dad and how proud he would be to know that these are the principles his son is attracted to and following in his business and in fact his everyday life.
Now, as you all know, I could very well follow these principles without becoming a member of the Rotary. And that's what I did until I began working on a project with Laurie of Practical Solutions. (Laurie's got a fine coming!). I mentioned the four way test in Ben's office and from there I'm sure I started the "secret process" of recruiting Rotarians. Regardless, it was ultimately the discussions with her that made me realize one other important aspect of Rotary I could not over look and that is "You have to eat lunch"! (Insert laugh track here)
Seriously though, I'm glad she brought me to a meeting because I saw a number of faces I've come to know and like over the past year. It made me realize that surrounding myself with like minded folks would help keep me going especially on those tough days. Like wise, I also realized that my passion for what I'm doing and my expertise in the area could impact and help the community that much more if facilitated through the Rotary Club.
(this is the start of what I forgot to say!)
Besides loosing my father a few other things have happened to me in these 5 years here. I turned 40 and judging by the room I'll suggest that almost everyone here knows first hand life does not really start until you hit 40! I also got married- some might say life ends at that point but not so in my case especially since it has lead to the birth of my first child!
Now one thing I quickly learned becoming a dad is that nothing turns your thoughts from "self" to "responsibilities for others" like having a child! It also makes you take a good look at what you really want to be remembered for through the eyes of that child. Community service and service above self seems like a motto I'd like my children to grow up with.
(this is the end of what I did not say!)
I'm an individual that tends to always look at what needs to be done rather than what has been accomplished. I hope that as a Rotarian I can help improve our community through the application of my skills and in return I'm hoping you, my fellow Rotarians, will remind me from time to time what has been accomplished and help give me the strength to keep going!
Thank you once again for inviting me into your group and accepting me as a fellow Rotarian!