Perhaps a fifth test: Is it fun?

David Postic, left, and other members of the Rotaract and Interact Committee had fun posing for this photo in December at Rotary’s headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, USA. Rotary International/Alyce Henson

David Postic, left, and other members of the Rotaract and Interact Committee had fun posing for this photo in December at Rotary’s headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, USA. Rotary International/Alyce Henson

By David Postic, a member of the Rotaract and Interact Committee and a past president of the Rotaract Club of Norman, Oklahoma, USA

We all know and love The Four-Way Test. In many ways, it’s an improvement on the age-old golden rule that you should treat others the way you wish to be treated. It’s a guide for living, a tool for decision making, a moral code. While Rotary has been served well by these four questions, they may not be enough in an era in which Rotary is trying to appeal to more people and have a broader impact.

There is another crucial question that we as Rotary members must always ask ourselves, and it is this: Is it fun? This is the question I ask myself with everything I do. If it isn’t fun, I don’t do it. Some people may scoff at that mentality, but in my mind, life is too short to waste on things I don’t enjoy. There are a hundred other organizations I could be a part of. If Rotary isn’t fun, why should I join? And if I am already a member, but I’m not having fun, why should I stay?

Of course, I speak for myself, and perhaps I can also presume to speak for other young people. But I imagine that how I feel is also how many Rotary members feel all over the world. We all want to have fun while serving the sick, the impoverished, the embattled, and the hungry. And in my experience, Rotary can be the most fun part of my life.

But often, clubs become so entrenched in their habits that they forget to have fun. If Rotary isn’t fun, how can we light a fire in the hearts of our members? How can we increase our membership? How can we survive? We must constantly ask ourselves: Is what we are doing fun?

This may not be a question fit for enshrining in the codes of Rotary, and perhaps it doesn’t even warrant recitation at weekly meetings. However, it’s probably the most important question we can ask ourselves when making decisions in our clubs. What we do in Rotary is not primarily for our own benefit, but people must enjoy Rotary if it is to survive. This is the real golden rule of Rotary clubs: If what we do isn’t fun, then it’s not worth doing.

24 thoughts on “Perhaps a fifth test: Is it fun?

  1. I agree that things should be fun in order to retain members and attract new ones, especially those younger members. I’m the faculty sponsor of an interact club in district 6990. My interact club has had over 200 members over the past 3 years and the kids in the club love doing service activities because they help the community plus they always have fun with each other and those they meet at the services. Our sponsoring rotary club does a phenomenal job of assisting us and involving us in their projects and we attend at least one of their meeting each year. Some of my alumni have moved on to college and joined rotaract at their colleges and some have even started rotaract at colleges that did not have one.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As we learned on many occations, people join Rotary because they want to serve, but most of them stay for the friendship they experience. This friendship is based on common interests that exceed the occupation of each member, e.g. one of those interests is the ideal of the Four-Way-Test. As having fun together is also important for friendships, I agree that implementing the suggested question “Is it fun?” in the rotarian context is a logical consequence. But friendships that exclusively build on having fun together seem hedonistic to me and tend to be rather short-lived. In my opinion, friendships have to build on fun as well as on hardship. Everybody endures hardship in their lives and it should be in the common interest of every Rotary Club, Rotaract Club and Interact Club to support a member undergoing any kind of misery. Sometimes a Club may experience difficult times as a whole, which can only be overcome if the members make an effort together. And last but not least there are millions of people on this planet, who propably will not have a lot of fun in their lives, because they were not born in the right country or under the right circumstances to do so. It is our duty to help those not fortunate enough to ask “But is it fun?” with everything they do. Luckily, helping is rewarding and even the process can be fun, if the repetetive tasks get tackeled by a group of friends.
    I think that it is vital for Rotary and Rotarians (and every other part of the rotarian family) to find a good balance between having fun and helping through hardships. If you wrote this article because you have observed many Clubs in a laissez-fair state that had forgotten how to have fun and how to serve together, you may be interested in the words of my District Rotaract Represenative: “Helfen macht Freu(n)de (From help comes fun/friends)”.

    Though, I have to heavily object to one point that your theses implies (without “scoffing” at your mentality, naturally): I would not appreciate of the idea to expand the Four-Way-Test with the “fun-question” to anywhere beyond the context of Rotary, because I think there is a lot of value beyond pleasure and fun alone. For example in sharing and being thankful. Also, if a Club is too focused on fun, they might miss out on the part of helping etc. and may in consequence be seen as decadent. Therefore be careful with your demands and always take others perspectives into consideration when asking “Is it fun?”.

    Dominik Diefenbach
    Vice-president, Rotaract Club Bad Homburg – Taunus, D1820

    P.S.: Thank you, David, for your interesting article. I am very happy that I got to know such an aspiring person as you in Lisbon and hope we meet again sometime. By the way: I am seriously considering a discussion of your article for the next meeting!

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is a perfect critique. You are absolutely right that there should be a balance between hardship and fun. I have found that when I bring potential members to a service project (especially one with physical labor), they are more likely to join.

      Es ist gut, wieder mit dich sprechen. Und ich werde den Phrase verwenden: “Helfen macht Freu(n)de.”


      • Great David all will be well dear Rotarians have you heard the news t to has made invitation to rotary fellowship more flexible and wider than will mend things soonest,1
        I will reply more!
        Gbemi d9125


  3. Nb In my last post I mean Rotary members should be gregarious and invite Rotary -like stuff and should melt away complacency in any form because evenif you have more money and talent – do you know whose money or talent will bring more joy and psychologically gorgeous improvement to the club and community It snot enough to have BIG DATA but inclusively dynamic analysis will yield desired change and growth of an enterprise how much of ours -majorly a SOCIAL ENTERPRISE targeted or provoked to improve the dignity of human species on this planet earth-which isn’t so barren of resources as such but urgently need men and women and youth of honor and selflessness.Evidently this sustainability cry palpably warranted by today’s widening and needless loathing between local and far away Peoples conflicted by politics and economics rather than being united by these factors.Hoping will continue not to stay or stand aloof watching this plight to degenerate into wanton poverty physically on the one side and philosophically on the other side-she must maintain the dynamics of the LIGHT IN THE DARK and A GIFT TO THE WORLD till the quest for good governance is morphed to an egalitarian order.I don’t know if socko political systems will transform to an UTOPIAN milieu in this planet earth- despite the league of nations quest and A union that still needs to achieve beyond political and economic blocks.
    Norman and all those birthed to the planet as human species Homosapiens need to function after a viviparous birth..This then is why friends and
    Partners of Rotary should sustain their giving and Rotarians shouldn’t just invite -reflect meditatively(beyond religious gazing)who to invite from all walks of life that they themselves have threaded or have not threaded to help Rotary to meet more arduous task ahead and wisdom for prioritizing -for the glory of the Creator and instant benefit of us all and world peace.Felicitations to Rotarians and non Rotarians who have had or shown human compassion.Despite the fact that a maze didnt receive revelation to do this but ecologically
    Inspired to make a delightful difference in the lives of the neglected or vulnerable groups here or there worldwide History making and life changers travail in this regard is almost like the lives of Rotarians and the likes of Thomas Merton ,Peter Singher Woodrow Wilson and our own doorstep affable remarkable MR PAUL HARRIS,foremost convener,founder of Rotary Club of Chicago.


    • I mean Hoping ROTARY will not stand or stay aloof to the wold s plight
      I also mean Sovio not socko…
      Apologia for not reading the posts which came in streams impromptu not uploads!
      Gbemi Tijani D9125,540pm


  4. further to the comments of PDG CHARLES and Rotarian :David s comment s RI should consider clubs predisent s conducting their fellowship meetings in a way that will make the Rotary clubs more fruitful ,fun and attractive for potential leaders and professionals as open platform for community development and ethical consciousness,
    Rotary clubs shouldn’t be cocooned as elite clubs and that’s all! No members should be gregarious and warily invite prospects and friends so are beyond reproach and are holistically Rotarian stuff .
    If Membership has been marvelous for them since – why do they remain solo since ?Rotarians should melt their egoif any that s not inviting more members of useful classification and be conscious of factors that enable older members to stay and remain committed.Every member should be involved in committees not just financial members.
    MENTORSHIP of existing and new members will help to sustain lLEADERSHIP HOSLS and ROtary values -IMPROVING THE COMMUNITY endogenously- not by force.
    Gbemi Tijani,PHF
    25/06/2015 442pm


  5. LOL errata regretted I didn’t read through my posts but suffice it to add that I had made a comment on the wide applicability of the Four Way Test outlining the areas of caveat and subdmitted the Sam to The Rotarian and it was acknowledged but I m not sure if it. Was published till date between 2010/2011 Rotary year.
    Rotary Is Good,
    Gbemi Tijani aka MST


  6. As a PDG I just wanted to state that when I was a DG in 2010-11 in District 6980 I had during my year this exact fifth test of “is it fun” and it was so well received that many clubs are still reciting it at their club meetings when they state the four way test
    many Rotarians keep thanking me for introducing it and I am proud to call it perhaps my greatest legacy as a DG but I do not believe it should be officially adopted but optional around the Rotary world

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is wonderful. I’ve heard of some other districts doing this and love it. But you’re right: it should be optional.


    • Thanks for you comment PDG Charles Rand.BUT WHY NOT? Hour humility is good enough for. Of wanting to claim or arrogate originality of the 5th Test for 1 2million plus Rotarians globally.nb.Ideas are dynamic and slangs are used in different countries meaning the same or translating to the same intented meaning serious or salacious by different folks or groups with the same goals in mind.Again in this hemisphere it wasn’t fun per se that has been echoed for addition-it was -Is It Sustainable?
      As you rightly suggested knowing it will take chains of debate and posts and possibly legislation before such review can be integrated or accepted.Even then I gues s the culture of diluting rigid formality by adding fun electively volunteringly by clubs or clubs presidents is in order since each club has her own autonomy,tacitly whatever such meetings do not miscommunicate fun to the extent a guest might wonder this is surely not a Rotary Club.As for fun -I observe with my some myopia that Rotary meetings and activities -including GIVING have not been fun enough!Why doi say this ?Rotary giving isn’t BY DURESS Nor is t by force -other than basic financial dues that shared out to the club district and RI –all else can be promoted to supprt TRF or activity germane to this and as far as I know nothing else must be enforced as mandatory.Those who give to EVERY $100 annually wil give and those who will give to THE PSUL HARRIS FELLOW minimally $1000 USD and all levels of The Rotary Foundation giving can be donated online or offline via designated accounts at the District or Ri portals and this could also be credited installment ally,WAO!
      I belong to FGBMFI and three other Talent or Asssociationx such as The Writers/ Authors groups that require donation or support or fund-raising as desired -none except FGBMVFI permit giving or tighting at you r will or when convenient ,You could give by pledging ahead just as TRF accepts endowments via estates and allied properties convertible into assets dollars. Without pressure for the door or potential donor or prospective AKS ARCH C KLUMPH SOCIETY MEMBERS who are expected to give lump or cummulatively $250.000,00 approximately half a billion NAIRA in Nigeria s recent exchange rate,So neither of the donation types are expected to be COUGHED OUT -only to be donated out volunteeringly to any preferred subhead of TRF,
      I love PCDN another peace web convened by Craig Zelizer from the USA you can post any amount but classify if it’s a subscription or a SUPPORT fund,ANY laudable service or charity that does not pressurize her members or friends sharing same goals wil MOT LACK at all times,
      Ditto ROTARY. As at now and from inception RI isn’t harsh -rather its fun to give or plan or include Rotary into ones budget recurringly it can’t be regrettable because you can always review your plan upwardly or otherwise depending on your priority of support-locally globally.
      As for the FOUR WAY TEST s indefinite validity to our age -Yes not much of the Tests are antiquated yet but as for applicability across the years and new datum and expanding desiderata of people and non Rotarians -young and adult we are owing into Rotary family or open platform we should not regard it as an impeccable statue especially when implementing it and using it to defend or describe people s activity ITs a very fecund ethical tool but it will not serve Rotary beyond lib level interactions and quotables when necessary because the knowledge ontent of todays news expediently reachingb 20th Century Rotarians and Non Rotarians are very complex and require expanding templates of performance measurement than arm chair testable thoughts of yesterday.Yet I doff my hat for MR PAUL HARRIS and his charter friends of the 1st ROTARY CLUB OF CHICAGO that thoughtfully considered building public TOILETS for the then Chicago COMUNITY.I also rever Fertile Taylor’s 4way Test -only that it should not be rigidly used at club levels for almost every action or inaction-which may not even be visibly by implication or design bear
      Rotarian values yesterday or today.
      Make Rotary or manage Rotary convivially however,
      Gbemi Tijani,Pp,PHF
      Regional Coordinator,(SOUTHWEST)Healthy Living Communications Lagos
      *Trevo Life &Health Coach,Trevo LLC


  7. Ps.The more digitally present and trending Rotary operates activities and identity online the more equidistant Rotary will become not only for the new generation but also for those yet uninvited adults male /female that will be comfortable and compassionate to pay dues and donate online and will be okay with 50% of the meeting regimen annually.Though of course I feel more than that will be tacitly required by club officers and definitely much more!- from the President and Secretary.If each Rotarian in a minimalist membership of twenty-five puts in his/her best in terms of time talent and money Rotary could be fun insofar as Mutually Fulfilling Needs of members are not glossed over or treated as insignificant then such club will surely record attrition of membership.Also Rotarians ought to show love within and it will be easier to radiate the love in the COMUNITY we are expected to serve.Rotary club is a vast laboratory yet there are enough wide range of tools and freedom for the diverse scientists that will help improve conditions of the community as identified and prioritized by all involved in this shared mission to jointly experiment endogenous development projects.f otherwise -will Rotary Clubs be tagged Loving,Sharing and at the International level- will Rotary be called bold,caring by her dogged concern and spearheading a synergised action towards the eradication of 99% of Polio on planet earth within 25 years!Hopefully it will also be a perennial glory of the 21st century for Rotary and her large – heart like -minds ‘ friends and partners to END polio -put the indignifying disease in its death knell.

    Gbemi Tijani aka MST
    Rc Oluyole estate meeting @Cedar Resort Ibadan D9125


  8. Thanks Rotaracts@Evanston -asking another suggestive yet thoughtfully inclusive too-is it fun?Yeah …The 4-Way Test is morally rich and should have served the 1st .Century of Rotary resplendently but are these queries in mime or in action sufficiently realistic enough for the 21st century?As for relevance -Yes!Are the ,spectrum of questions and actions that are purported to address suffient or holistic or trendy enough to Meet the challenges of the digital age of myriads of distractions by mobile devices of varnishing sophistication let alone the hilarity or otherwise the altruistic content of the macro-ecosystems of today’s local or regional or global meetings.
    Gbemi Tijani.PP.PHF
    Club trainer etc.


    • You bring up an interesting question of how Rotary can engage Rotarians in the digital age. I think E-Clubs are a huge development in that area, but more needs to be done. The Rotary International social media team does an excellent job at interacting with people online. Rotary Clubs and districts should do the same!


  9. Pingback: Perhaps a fifth test: Is it fun? | The Rotary Club of Carteret

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