Fellow Rotarians,
 
Happy New Year!   New Year’s Resolutions, goals, and aspirations are as important at the beginning of a new year as they are any time of year!  As friends and family members make promises to do better in the year ahead, the words of a favorite author, Kent Keith, came to my mind.  I recently shared this summary at work and I’d like to pass it along to the Rotary community as well. 
 
The Paradoxical Commandments were written by Kent Keith in 1968, when he was 19, a sophomore at Harvard College. They were part of The Silent Revolution: Dynamic Leadership in the Student Council, his first booklet for high school student leaders. "I laid down the Paradoxical Commandments as a challenge," Keith said. "The challenge is to always do what is right and good and true, even if others don't appreciate it. You have to keep striving, no matter what, because if you don't, many of the things that need to be done in our world will never get done."  This is a wonderful piece of writing by anyone at any age.  But the fact that it was written by a 19 year old and his words are as relevant today as they were back in 1968 is simply amazing. 
 
So amazing, in fact, that Mother Teresa took note too.  It was reported in a 1995 essay that she had The Paradoxical Commandments pinned to the wall of her children's home in Calcutta and loved it so much that she adapted her own version "Do It Anyways."  Now that's high praise for any author!
 
Here is Dr. Keith's original text.  With these words in mind, let's continue to strive to do what is right and good and true so that we can make our communities and our world better places.  When we find challenges in our Rotary clubs, committees, and service work, let these words provide some perspective and support for doing what is right! 
 
The Paradoxical Commandments
by Dr. Kent M. Keith
 
People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
 
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
 
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.
 
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
 
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
 
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.
 
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
 
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.
 
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.
 
Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.
 
 

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. 
 
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