The Four Way Test

Juan Orozco
Juan Orozco

Lately I have struggled with the America "I remember" versus the America "I see before me". I am aware that there is a bias at work that paints my past as rosier than it really is. Still, when I run into words like these, I wonder where we stumbled:

The Four-Way Test

The image shows the Rotary's "Four Way Test", printed on cement.

The Four-Way Test of the things we think, say or do.

  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  1. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  2. Will it build GOOD WILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
  3. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

I found this etched into the side of a water fountain in a random park in a small town.

Action park has two baseball diamonds, some tennis courts and a playground. It is hidden behind large warehouse buildings, straddled against an unfenced train track, hidden slightly by it's low elevation and a tall bridge. The entrance has a sharp dip down, so it is easy to miss the park as you drive by.

I can't help but see some poetic coincidence to how relevant the string of words are today. How they are written on the side of a water fountain, one of the core elements that binds us all together regardless of what we look like or how we live.

The fountain is like a beacon of hope; it tries to reach out. It wants to teach us something, something we sorely need to relearn.

Yet, we have squirreled the words away to the dark and damp area that is the back of our minds.