Be a Daily Rotarian

Rita Esterly District Governor

Martin Luther King, Jr. stated: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?” As Rotarians we are experts on the “gift of doing” for others in terms of Service Above Self for causes that our club champions. However, do you ever catch yourself thinking of doing something nice for someone and then that thought escapes your mind as you enter your busy, daily life? This month I would like you to think of being a “Daily Rotarian” by choosing to do those wonderful deeds that come into your mind. Sometimes the “gift of doing” is much more valuable than any tangible gift. You will find that acting on a helpful thought is often “nothing much” to you and at the same time it is “everything” to someone else. Mother Teresa said it best: “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”

Let me give you an example. Have you ever thought, I really need to take some dinner to my elderly neighbor, Mrs. Jones, because I heard she broke her leg? Cooking an extra pan of lasa-gna is nothing to you, but it might be everything to Mrs. Jones. But then you never stop to make lasagna for her and you miss the opportunity to be a “Daily Rotarian.” How about this one? My wife’s car is really dirty and she is so busy, I really need to wash it for her. Ten minutes of washing the car may be nothing to you, but to your wife it might mean everything. But then you get busy paying the bills and forget about that good deed and miss an opportunity to be a “Daily Rotarian.” How can you change your wonderful thoughts into amazing deeds so that you exhibit the Rotary spirit every day?

First, you can choose to be mindful that you want to begin acting on your helpful thoughts not just at Rotary service projects, but also, on a daily basis. Let’s take the example of merely stopping to help someone. I was at my church recently to pick up something and saw a man standing there looking like he needed help. I asked him if I could help him. He said he was just waiting for the janitor to unlock the basement so he could look for something he had lost. I knew the janitor was in a weekly meeting and may not be back right away. I pondered my choices. I could choose to do something to help the man or I could choose to leave and get on with the errands that I knew I only had a half hour to do before I had to go to work. I had committed to myself this January that I would start acting on my kind thoughts so I could ex-hibit the Rotary spirit daily, so I told myself this was a perfect opportunity to act.

Secondly, you can choose to follow through on your thought. I told the man that I knew the janitor was probably in a meeting and asked if he had checked all the doors to the basement to see if they were all locked. He said he had. I asked if he had checked the one in a small hall-way that people often do not know exists. He had not and it was open so he looked for his lost item. Yes, it took an extra five minutes of time, but somehow, I managed to get my errands done before I got to work and even if I had not, the feeling that I got from being helpful was worth it.

You can also choose to help others exhibit the Rotary spirit of “doing” by asking for “doing” gestures instead of gifts. Let me give you an example. My daughter Ali, being a recently em-ployed young person, does not have much money. She loves to give gifts. So at Christmas time, she gave her brother the gift of her talent. She has a degree in advertising so she designed a very creative logo for her brother. She felt good about giving the “gift of doing.” Every year when my birthday comes, she asks me what I might want from her. I always tell her that I would like a photograph that she has taken. When I asked her for this “gift of doing,” she said, “Is that all you want?” To her it wasn’t asking much of “anything.” But to me, it was “everything” to know that she would take the time to give me the “gift of doing.”

So you can choose to act on your kind thoughts and be a “Daily Rotarian” exhibiting Service Above Self not only in club projects, but also, in everyday life. If you choose to operationalize your thoughts, you think good things about yourself. When you think good things about your-self, you feel happier. William Shakespeare states: “Things won are done, joy’s soul lies in the doing. So choose to be a “Daily Rotarian” by giving the “gift of doing.”