By Tiffany Ervin, past president of the Rotary Club of Four Seasons – Hendersonville, North Carolina, USA
In the days of the American wild west, if you wanted to travel a great distance, you had to go by stagecoach and it was a very long trip. There were three different classes of passengers – first, second, and third class. The seats were all the same, but the prices were different. Here’s why…
- First class meant you remained seated during the entire trip, no matter what happened or what conditions might be faced.
- Second class meant you remained seated until there was a problem along the way, when you had to exit the stagecoach and walk alongside.
- But third class passengers not only exited when there was a problem, they were also the ones who had to fix a broken wheel or even push the stagecoach along, through the mud, up the hills, no matter what came along.
So I began thinking about this when it comes to our involvement in Rotary. Let me ask you – what class ticket do you hold?
Pampered, or detached?
Too many of us hold first class tickets – we expect to be waited on and catered to – even pampered! We’re willing to ride, but not push. We just sit back and let the others do the work.
But there are also those in our organization who hold second class tickets – detached spectators who show up but don’t want to get too involved. Their name goes on the roster, they even include their membership on their resume…but that’s about it.
“Is success really remaining seated while others get out and push, or is it getting your hands and feet dirty? Is success being served or serving others?”
But thankfully, there are also a few who are willing to hold third class tickets – willing to get out and push when the going gets tough.
We tend to equate first class with privilege – exempt from doing any work. But is success really remaining seated while others get out and push, or is it getting your hands and feet dirty? Is success being served or serving others?
What it means to be third class
Third class ticket holders have a heart for service. They don’t mind working behind the scenes. They are people who have made a conscious decision to get involved or join an organization whose entire reason for existence is to change the world! They are people who are willing to get out and push!
If we just sit in our first class seat and expect everyone else to get behind and push, what will happen to Rotary? We’ll never reach our goals – to end polio, to prevent other diseases, to bring about world peace – every organization in the world already has too many first class passengers. We’re looking for a few more third class passengers!
What are you willing to do? Are you willing to be a leader instead of a spectator? Are YOU willing to be a third class passenger?