The 4-Way Test and Me

The Rotary Club of Pismo Beach / Five Cites
Frank Fletcher, First Place
Grade 7, Judkins Middle School
Teacher:  Mr. Liebo

Even though we are all caught up in our daily lives, we still have one little idea in the very back corner of our minds to do what God has given us to do. As humans, we do not very well know what this is called, but we can call it “The 4-Way Test.” This test teaches us morals and how to treat all of humanity. No matter how old or young, no matter what language we speak, and no matter who we are, this teaches us how we could and should live. We could even put this test in Egypt, where there is a civil war happening, and who knows, maybe we could change the country around if more people just think about what they say, do, and even think. Think about it. The 4-Way Test can help us in our daily lives.

My experience is from a three day camp I went to during 5th grade. It was a nature camp called “Rancho El Chorro.” Their motto was “Where kids and Nature Meet.” As sort of a reward for our achievements, we received different kinds of beads to put on our lanyard string necklaces as we did good deeds. When my cabin mates and I were walking along with the guide for our “nature walk” bead, we sat down to rest at the top of a hill. When I looked on the ground, I found a bead in the dirt. I thought about giving it back to one of the guides, but then I realized that there was no bead for giving any lost items back. With the selfish nature that a human has, I kept it to myself, thinking that I might get the longest lanyard! As two years passed, those beads are just a memory, worth almost nothing, but I still think to myself, “Why? Why did I do that? I could have done the right thing. Instead, I wanted to be selfish and kept it to myself.” Now, these are the questions that I also have to ask myself about the 4-Way Test and my experience at camp.

The first question is “Is it the truth?” No, for I did not do the moral thing that God would have intended me to do. I would have been rewarded greater in heaven than that silly little bead. So is it the truth? No. I did not earn that bead. I traded in a possible good deed for a selfish, unkind deed. I would do it differently if that ever came up again.

The second question is “Is it fair to all concerned?” No, for I took someone else’s bead that might have been hard earned. It could have been fair if I had given back the bead.

The third question is “Will it build good will and better friendships?” Once again, no it will not. It will build ill will if one continues on that path of selfishness, sort of like the dark side on Star Wars. I wish I could have given the bead back and maybe the real owner of it could have become friends with me. Perhaps doing the right thing could have let a friendship be built.

The fourth and last question is “Will it be beneficial to all concerned?” It was beneficial to me in a bad way and for a short time, but not beneficial to the one who lost it. So that question is a no go also. Even though I might benefit with another bead, it is just like stealing a bead from someone else while they weren’t looking. They might be saying, “Let me count my beads. 2,4,5. Weird, since I had 6 when we left the cabin, maybe it fell? Maybe it went under my mattress? No, it’s not anywhere in here. Where is it?” Even though it seems right at the time, it won’t feel the same 2 years later. The answer is no. It is not beneficial to all.

Yes, this does seem like I hate myself for doing this, but I’m actually learning to put bad memories behind and allow good or funny memories to fill their place. Just to make it clear, I don’t hate myself for this because it is simply a past memory and a stupid mistake I have learned from.

The 4-Way Test is a way to keep humans from straying off task in their own selfish world. We should always remember the 4-Way Test, and maybe even create a 1-Way Path that keeps its direction with the 4-Way Test. In the future, I would change my attitudes and choices to try and follow the one and only, 4-Way Test.

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