Rotary Club of Pismo Beach / Five Cities
Tori Miles, First Place
Grade 9, High School Division
Mrs. Wade , Arroyo Grande High School

There is an escalating problem occurring in households all over the
world. A bitter, unending battle, which can only be resolved by its
participants. No, it’s not starvation, not abuse, not poverty, but…
sibling rivalry. Yes it’s true. Sibling rivalry happens at least to some
degree in every home, not excluding mine. In our house, my brother
and I get along as well as an acrophobic claustrophobe and a glass
elevator. We’re not fighting 24/7 but, I think we do argue more than is
needed. It would be great if once in a while we could just sit and
watch T.V. or eat dinner without breaking out in a battle over what
show to watch or who gets the last soda (because sodas are a rarity
in our house). Yet, in this bleak time, it seems as if there is a beam of
hope shining into our dark situation in the form of the Rotary Club’s 4-
Way Test. Everyone makes mistakes now and then, and it would
help us all if we thought of our own consequences as well as other’s
before we acted. I think that my brother and I would both get along
better if we started asking ourselves, “Is it the truth?” Is it fair to all
concerned?” “Will it build good will and better friendships?”, and “Will
it be beneficial to all concerned?”
Sometimes, a lie can be the easiest and, what we think is, the best
way to deal with a tough situation. Yet it is actually the exact oppo-
site. By using the first question of the 4-Way Test, Is it the truth?, you
can save yourself a load of time and trouble. I really like to cook, and
I especially enjoy baking cookies and trying new and different recipes
each time. But there’s one problem with this hobby. My brother.
Whenever I cook something, he never is interested in helping me
bake the food or wash the dishes. He just hovers around the kitchen
area like a vulture and waits until I take the helpless sheet of cookies
out of the oven. Then he is very interested in them. So sometimes I
lie to him and tell him that the sugar cookies I made are actually coco-
nut, because he despises coconut. When he hears that, he recoils
from the cookies like they’re poisonous, but my scheme only works
for a little while. Once my mom or dad tries them and tells me how
great these sugar cookies are, my plan is ruined and I have to face an
angry, hungry brother plus my parents scolding me for lying. If I use
the 4-Way Test before I deal with my brother, I won’t have to deal
with him or my parents being mad, and maybe if I’m truthful to him,
he’ll think about helping me out once in a while.
It’s human nature to think of yourself first, then consider others after
you’ve been taken care of. But the 4-Way Test’s second step, Is It
fair to all concerned?, shows that reversing this habit could be just as
helpful to you. My brother has this annoying habit of always eating
the last of something that someone had already asked him to save, or
told him that they were going to eat it later. I remember one time we
bought a box of chocolate Cocoa Krispies to make a special dessert
for a party we were having. Our mom hardly every buys sugar cereal,
so this was a big deal. Anyway, we had already made the thing for
the party and we still had half a box left, so we thought we would save
it to make the dessert again in a week or so. I made sure everyone
knew the cereal was to be saved and not eaten. But I guess I
should’ve had everyone swear an oath, or sign a treaty because three
days later, my brother was found sitting at the table, with the entire
half-box of cereal heaped like an overflowing mountain in his bowl.
Instead of letting everyone share the dessert I was going to make, he
decided to eat all of the cereal himself, without asking. We all were
angry, but there was nothing we could do, it was already gone. I think
after that he realized that he should’ve considered the situation from
everyone else’s view as well as his, because it was certainly fair to
him, but not to the rest of us. If he’d used the 4-way Test to begin
with, he probably would’ve realized that it wasn’t very fair that only he
got to enjoy the treat and the rest of us just got to watch him. This
example may sound petty, but I think that we should use the 4-Way
Test not just on major, life-changing decisions, but everyday ones as
O.K. enough talk about food. Friendships are something that every-
one has experienced. They aren’t always good, but if you try hard,
you can at least make them better. One way you can build better
friendships is by using the third assessment of the 4-Way Test, Will it
build good will and better friendships? My family’s backyard isn’t like
most. We have a nice lawn, a hot tub, a barbeque and chickens.
Yes, chickens. Chickens are not a normal pet in the city; they can’t
run around freely or anything. This means that we have to keep them
in a coop, which means we have to clean the coop pretty much every
day. We each have our “chicken jobs”. I clean and fill food and wa-
ter, my brother cleans and fills the nesting boxes. But there’s one
thing no one likes to do and that is collect the eggs. It may not sound
hard, but trust me, it is annoying. The chickens decided that instead
of using the nice, clean, roomy, new nesting boxes my dad built for
them, they’d rather lay their eggs in the dirt nest. The dirt nest is a
nest they dug down in the deepest, darkest, hardest place to reach in
the coop. So to get the eggs, you have to get down on your knees
and stretch your arm out, under the ramp (which bars you from look-
ing in), then grope around in there until you grasp one of the eggs
and pull it out. This needs to be repeated about ten times, because
that’s how many eggs we get a day. Annoying. Well, we fabricated
this rule that whoever does the chickens last, has to get the eggs.
I try to do my job first every day to get it over with. So my brother al-
most always has to get the eggs, which makes him follow me around
every day saying I’m lazy because I don’t ever get the eggs. If I use
the third step of the 4-Way Test when I’m taking care of the chickens,
I could start getting the eggs sometimes. And if I try to split the duties
a little better, I’m sure my brother will be happier and our friendship
would improve. Plus it’s good to do things for others, even if you
don’t have to or weren’t asked to.
It’s easy for us to get lazy and not want to try our best or spend a lot
of time on tasks we’re assigned to do. That’s why it’s smart to also
use the final step of the 4-Way Test, Will it be beneficial to all con-
cerned?, and apply it to your situation before you act. My brother and
I love to play games on the computer and on the Playstation, but not
the same games. He likes the fighting and WW II ones, and I like the
fun and challenging ones. We take turns playing on the computer,
and we don’t bother each other. But my brother has one annoying
habit. He takes his game out of the computer and then puts it in the
first open box he sees, and it’s normally the wrong box. This is ag-
gravating because whenever I go to look for a game, I pick up its box,
but the wrong game is inside! So then I have to search through each
box until I finally find what I’m looking for. I get angry at my brother
about it sometimes because he doesn’t think about what he does
when he’s doing it, he just does it. And the funny thing is he has just
as hard of a time finding his games as I do. If he thinks “Will it be
beneficial to all concerned” before he puts his game away, he might
realize that not only will it not be beneficial to me, it won’t be very
beneficial to him because we both end up spending time looking for
the games that he misplaced.
So, in the end, I think that anyone who makes any decision should
try to use the 4-Way Test as often as possible. Before they act they
should ask themselves, “Is it the truth?”, “Is it fair to all concerned?”,
Will it build good will and better friendships?”, and “Will it be beneficial
to all concerned?” The situations I described earlier are light, and
may seem insignificant. But really, if one gets used to using the 4-
Way Test in less complicated situations, they will be more prepared
for complex ones. I’m going to try harder from now on to use these
four simple steps to help me in whatever I do, especially when it
comes to how I deal with my brother. So I guess there may be a cure
for the horrible problem known as sibling rivalry, and I bet the out-
come of using the 4-Way Test will bring un-4-gettable results.


One Response to Un-4-gettable

  1. kasturi January 23, 2009 at 3:12 am #

    ur writing skill is really appreciable. well done.

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