The Four-Way Test and Ethics

Rotary Club of Pismo Beach / Five Cities
Ben Zwarg, Third Place
Grade 6, Intermediate Division
Mrs. Hayes, Ocean View School

Ethics is the act of making decisions because they are RIGHT and
not just because they are required or expected.  Sometimes this re-
quires making hard decisions.  This is where the Four-Way Test can
help you out in deciding the RIGHT thing to do.
Last weekend, I promised my grandma that I would go to lunch with
her and help her clean up her motor home.  After having baseball
practice for 2 hours that morning, I didn’t feel like doing anything the
rest of the day.  I called her on my cell phone and told her I didn’t feel
like meeting her.  She was very disappointed in me.  I told her I would
call her back.  I didn’t feel good about not keeping my word.  My belly
felt weird.  This is when I applied the Four-Way Test.
Step One of the Four-Way Test is, “Is it the truth?”  Yes, I was not
honoring my commitment I had made to my grandma.
Step Two is, “Is it fair to all concerned?”  No, it was not fair to her
because she had scheduled her day around meeting me.  She could
have been doing other things instead of waiting for me.  She was
counting on enjoying lunch together and getting some work done.  I
was letting her down.
Step Three is, “Will it build good will and better friendships?”  No,
because when you don’t keep your word, you don’t build people’s
confidence in you.  People will not “forgive and forget” if you haven’t
proven yourself to be trustworthy.
Step Four, “Will it be beneficial to all concerned?”  No, if you are
always not doing what you say you are going to do, people will stop
wanting to be around you and you will not have any friends.  People
do not like to feel like they are being taken advantage of.  They also
don’t like to waste their time.  No amount of reasons or excuses
change the fact that you either kept your word, or you didn’t.
So, after thinking all this over, I decided to call my grandma back
and tell her I had changed my mind.  At first, she acted like I had
blown my chance to meet her.  I had let her down and she was not
going to give me a second chance.  That’s when my mom stepped in
and told her that I was just learning how important it is to keep my
word and how my decisions affect others.  She changed her mind and
we had a great lunch and worked hard that afternoon.
Even though I didn’t feel like meeting her, I did it because it was the
RIGHT thing to do.  Sometimes, doing the RIGHT thing isn’t always
the most fun but it is worth it.  It made me feel better.  Also, my
grandma knew that  I respected her and that I am trustworthy
Applying the Four Way Test made me think about how my own
actions affect how other people think of me and how I feel about my-
self.  I will use this Rotary test to help me say and do the RIGHT thing
in the future.

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