Etiquette and The Four-Way Test

Rotary’s Four Way test and the life lessons found in an etiquette book go hand in hand. The simile of truth and etiquette bring a vivid picture to the mind, one that focuses on upbringing, support, benefit, fairness, and graciousness. All of the lessons a young person should be introduced to are found in etiquette just as all of life’s lessons a grown person should be aware of are found within the twenty-four words that are the make-up of the Four Way Test.

The first question asks, “Is it the truth?” The first time we ask this question regarding a particular puzzle we already know the answer. Etiquette, too, teaches to be civil and to know the truth. Just as this is the Four Way Test’s first question, it is the first subject discussed in an etiquette book as your private life must be the first place you start as home life is truly the beginning of a person’s education. If you behave at home you understand your home’s code of conduct and you will be able to venture out knowing what the truth is and how to keep your self-centered instincts in check.

When asking “Is it fair to all concerned?” we immediately peruse the theater of the mind and research the pros and cons of the argument and immediately know if what we are about to do is fair to all concerned. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know if you are pitted against a national debate champion and you have never spoken in public that the person who picked the two of you to debate didn’t ask this question. Etiquette would teach to be fair by weighing and evaluating all the details by putting pen to paper. Only by seeing the pros and cons on paper would you be able to see if the assessment is a fair one.

“Will it build goodwill and better friendships?” has a huge scope of possibilities when banded together with a team approach to a problem. As etiquette teaches, a team approach at home is the best way to go about chores as opposed to doing only what you want and only what you enjoy. Yard work may not be the highlight of your weekend but sharing the rake and the broom with your little sister may build goodwill and enhance your sibling friendship. That particular weekend of sharing the yard work may make a prized entry in your little sister’s journal and one that will have an impact on her for the rest of her life. Etiquette teaches to lead by example and sharing is certainly showing the way; sharing is goodwill.

“Will it be beneficial to all concerned?” has enormous depth far beyond these seven words. ‘Useful’ and ‘helpful’ equate to beneficial. Etiquette teaches that knowing etiquette is your ticket through life and is truly the way you should treat others. Going hand-in-hand with etiquette is Rotary’s Four Way test for all issues, and this last question asks you to decipher the benefit of your deed to all concerned. It isn’t difficult or complicated; it is a mandatory code of ethics to be civil in order to honor civilization.

The Rotary Four Way Test was created in 1932 and Emily Post’s Etiquette original etiquette book was written in 1922. The correlation between Rotary’s Four Way Test and the etiquette book has a deep association. The Four Way Test is straight-to-the-point and has twenty-four words which should be learned quickly; it will benefit you on a daily basis

by: Miss Etiquette


One Response to Etiquette and The Four-Way Test

  1. Phil Broms May 12, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

    Miss Etiquette, your article reaches the heart of the 4-Way Test in my thinking. Is it Appropriate to add “Is it Fun” as tag when reciting the 4-Way Test? Thank you, Phil Broms

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