Is it time for a re-read of Rotary?

Elizabeth Usovicz

By Elizabeth Usovicz, Public Image Coordinator for Zone 31

English was not my father’s first language. And like a lot of second language learners, he was an avid reader. He especially liked Conrad and Melville and read their bodies of work not once but several times during his life. As a young man, it was not uncommon for him to drop my mother off at her home after a date and head for a neighborhood diner, book in hand, to read and drink coffee until the night waitress closed up and shooed him home.

Later in life, he added Louis L’Amour westerns to his list of favorites. One of the simple and great pleasures of his day was to settle into a comfortable chair in the evening to revisit a favorite read for a second or third time – or more.

Why did he prefer to re-read, rather than switch to something new? I asked him once. His answer, like him, was straightforward but not necessarily simple: it was a good book the last time, and he got something new from a book every time he read it.

Lately it’s occurred to me that my father got something new out of old favorites in part because his insights changed with his life experience. The books weren’t different but what he brought to them each time was.

“There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.”
— Louis L’Amour

As we enter a new Rotary year, I’ve been thinking about what we each bring to our Rotary leadership experience, both individually as Rotarians and collectively in our clubs, districts, and zones. Beginning a new year brings with it an opportunity for all of us to take a “new read” on Rotary.

Are we truly bringing new perspectives to Service Above Self? Or are we operating from perspectives we’ve always held?

As Louis L’Amour wrote, “There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.”

Maybe it’s time for a re-read on our engagement in Rotary. To gain something new from being a Rotarian by bringing something new to our leadership roles. And like my father reading in the neighborhood diner, we can change our perspectives and open ourselves up to a whole new world of inspiration.

16 thoughts on “Is it time for a re-read of Rotary?

  1. Pingback: Is it time for a re-read of Rotary? | Rotary Club of Kalibo

  2. We would definitely love to have the response from you, Elizabeth Usovicz, to the responses to your blog.
    Prof Punch


  3. A book, a novel lends itself to different, new understanding every time you read it. This prompts us to read it again to get new interpretations. Research is after all is providing interpretation to the thinking of the author when he sat down to read it. in our Book Club, sometimes the autor would be present to enjoy someone else’s interpretation.
    Maybe with Rotary, it’s not interpretation, but a deeper understanding of the Five Ws and One H of the movement. Such a re-reading is necessary. A re-visit to the history will enthuse us to realise how good we are as Rotarians, how we are perceived outside, how long we shall be basking under the past, how new we can be in promoting the image of the organisation.
    Seminars won’t help unless there is a plan of action provided and the implementation monitored. It’s, unfortunately, greet, listen, eat, part culture.
    “Be the change you want to see” are not empty words. As Junior Chamber International has it, Change Begins With Me. Only then there is a possibility to Be the Inspiration.
    Prof Punch
    Rtn Prof R Panchanadhan
    President: Rotary Club of Tiruchirapalli 2003-04
    Dist 3000


    • Being re-blogged, with permissible editing(??) in ROckforTARIAN (dt 300718), our Club’s weekly Bulletin.
      Rtn Prof R Panchanadhan


    • Dear Rotarian Prof. Punch,
      Thank you for this kind and thoughtful response to the blog. I agree with the points you make regarding interpretation, since we are all interpreting Rotary through our own personal Rotary stories. Perhaps for some of us, it is a re-reading of our history. Perhaps for others, it’s a new interpretation of the ways we can be of service in our communities, the ways we can mentor and encourage a new generation of Rotarians, or the ways we can encourage our communities to perceive the value of Rotary in a new light. I agree; the change begins within each of us to inspire, inform and engage. Thank you for this opportunity to engage in this exchange with you.
      Elizabeth Usovicz


      • Thank you very much for your response.
        Really it’s the interpretation that gives us a renewed vigour to spread the Rotary Message. Thank you, Elizabeth.
        Prof Punch
        (Rotary Club of Tiruchirapalli, that has “lent” PDG Rajadurai Michael to be Rotary International Coordinator for Public Image, Zone 5!!)


  4. I’m a member of a book club, where every month we choose a book to read and discuss together. We derive a lot of pleasure from re-reading old favourites and classics. Recently a member chose a newly published book with a controversial theme – we loved it and it provoked a lively discussion, after which she confessed that she had been very worried we would judge her negatively by her choice. In Rotary, we have to be willing to look at new ideas and ways of doing things, and to seek out the new perspectives that younger or differently-experienced members bring to our clubs but also use the knowledge and experience that we have gathered over the last 100 years to make their and our service more productive. A new pair of glasses can make all the difference to one’s reading enjoyment – so it is with Rotary.

    Liked by 1 person

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