Run everything through the Four-way test


The novel coronavirus COVID-19 has started to spread its way across the state of Mississippi and the Delta.

As the number of confirmed cases rises, so does the spread of misinformation and inflammatory discourse on social media platforms like Facebook.

There’s nothing wrong with having an opinion about the virus. It affects everyone, in one way or another. 

But there are some things I would like our readers to consider before they hit Share on that next post.

I have been involved with Rotary International on and off for over a decade, and I am currently the incoming president for the 2020-21 year in Indianola.

Rotary provides great opportunities to grow as a leader in a community, as well as make great friends and hear educational programs on a weekly basis.

In Rotary, there is what we call the Four-Way Test.

This test means a lot to me, because of the nature of the business I am in.

I deal in facts, and at The E-T, we try to be as accurate and fair as we can in all cases.

Sometimes we fall short, but the Four-Way Test is a great tool that keeps me in line most of the time.

It goes as follows:

First: Is it truth?

Second: Is it fair to all concerned?

Third: Will it build good will and better friendships?

Fourth: Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

I think this is a great test for everyone during this trying time when it has never been so easy to spread disinformation and fracture relationships with family, friends and others while doing so.

You don’t have to be a Rotarian to follow the Four-Way Test, but I do ask that all Rotarians reading this apply the test to how you interact with people during this pandemic, whether in-person or on social media.

If you see a meme, a post or an article on Facebook that catches your eye, run it through the test.

Is it true? Is it fair to all concerned?

We often don’t realize how harmful the spread of false information can be.

People readily believe what they see on social media threads and either share it, repeat it or even more dangerous, act on the misinformation.

And spreading false scientific or medical information is not fair to our local nurses, doctors, lab technicians and other medical professionals who are trying to keep us safe during this outbreak.

Making light of a virus that has already killed thousands throughout the world is not beneficial to all concerned.

Fighting with friends, and even minor acquaintances, about the politics that is embedded in the coronavirus response will not build good will and better friendships.

Leadership doesn’t just apply when you’re in a sales meeting, or when you are at your civic club for one hour during the week or when you are participating in a deacon’s meeting at your church.

We must be examples at all times for how to lead thoughtful and meaningful conversations in our communities.

I’ll leave you with this, the motto thousands of Rotarians adjourn their meetings with each week.

“Service above self. One profits most, who serves best.”



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