March 2016 President & Trustee's Messages
Some years ago, I was asked to speak at an Interact club in my home city of Colombo, Sri Lanka. I have always taken my interactions with Rotary youth very seriously, so I prepared my remarks carefully and put the same effort into my presentation that I would for any other event. After the meeting, I stayed to chat with a few of the Interactors, answering their questions and wishing them well.
They were not talking about what I had said,
the stories I had told, or the lessons I had come to their school
to impart. To my astonishment, the major topic of conversation was
my tie! I listened with amusement as they chattered about my Western
clothes, my background, my business; every aspect of my appearance
and behavior was dissected and discussed. Just as they began to
speculate about what car I drove, my ride arrived and I stepped
out into view. They were perhaps a bit embarrassed, but I just smiled,
got into the car, and drove off with a wave.
Whatever they learned from me that day, I
learned far more. I learned that the lessons we teach with our examples
are far more powerful than those we teach with words. I realized
that as a Rotary leader, and a prominent person in the community,
I had, for better or worse, become a role model for these young
people. Their eyes were on me in a way that I had never before appreciated.
If they chose to emulate me, they would model themselves on what
they saw, not what I told them.
All of us in Rotary are leaders, in one way or another, in our communities. All of us bear the responsibility that comes with that. Our Rotary values, our Rotary ideals, cannot be left within the confines of our Rotary clubs. They must be carried with us every day. Wherever we are, whoever we are with, whether we are involved in Rotary work – we are always representing Rotary. We must conduct ourselves accordingly: in what we think, what we say, what we do, and how we do it. Our communities, and our children, deserve no less.
March 2016 Trustee Chair's Message
When Arch Klumph was president of Rotary in 1916-17, he suggested in a speech at the 1917 Atlanta convention that Rotary should start an endowment fund for the purpose of doing good in the world. It was only a brief reference, but the idea caught on with Rotarians. The Rotary Club of Kansas City, Mo., made the first donation of $26.50 to the new fund, which was officially named The Rotary Foundation in 1928.
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