HOW THE FOUR-WAY TEST CAN IMPACT MY WORLD
by: GAVIN STRAUSS
How does a young boy know whether he is doing the right thing or making wise choices when no one is there to give him his answer? Beliefs and actions that support the truth, are fair to others, promote goodwill, and that are beneficial to those concerned are the questions considered within the Four-Way Test. I live on a farm in central Nebraska with my parents and two younger brothers. Though I must admit that I don’t directly ask myself these questions on a daily basis, I do feel that I have a solid personal understanding of the four-way test and how it should influence my life and the lives of other people. The best way to put the Four-Way Test to work is to start at home.
Truth is the first aspect of the Four-Way Test, and probably the most necessary for life. Living my days by telling the truth, according to God and the Bible has been very helpful to me. All kids in a lifetime cause mischief and make a bad choice or two as they learn. In a bad situation, the truth can always help a child ore than it can hurt. Growing up involves a lot of mistakes, and I have learned that telling the truth is the best policy even though I may still have to face consequences. When I am truthful, it sets a good example for my brothers and helps my parents to trust me more. I have always liked to keep a good reputation, so by being truthful, I can maintain a clean record.
Fairness is a familiar idea to kids. They use the term the most when they want to try to get their parent’s or someone’s approval. Living on a farm in the country with two brothers might sound like fun, but at times it is what I consider unfair. While I like our new house and the space I have to run and play, it is in a place too far from town to walk anywhere. I do not get to ride bikes and run around the neighborhood with friends like most of the other kids I know. The aspect of fairness also reminds me of the fact that fair does not always mean equal. My parents spend a lot of time reading with my 2nd grade brother because it is not easy for him. Reading is easy for me, so it is okay for it to be that way, because he needs the help more than I do.
Good will is helping others out when I know I will get nothing in return of it. When it recently snowed a foot, my neighbor who is older, needed help cleaning his driveway. He is not a farmer with all of the tractors and big blades and tools, so out of good will, my Grandpa offered to move the snow out of his way. I can’t drive a tractor, but I have offered good will to him before by walking over to visit or keep him company, or watch the eagles that nest in the trees near his house with him. It might not be much, but it is a way to pay it forward.
I understand that being selfless and making decisions that will benefit as many people as possible is important too. Living and working on a farm is hard work. In the summer, my Dad and Grandparents change water on hundreds of acres of gravity irrigate corn and beans every twelve hours. Now that I am getting older and stronger, I realize that it is my time to pitch in and help out just like my Dad did when he was my age. Even though the temperature may be hotter than blue blazes, and my friends may be at the pool in town, I need to think about how my work will be beneficial to our family and the world. When I help out, the work gets done faster and leaves time for things like going to the lake for a boat ride or going out for ice cream with my family. The benefits that go to our crops help them stay healthy and will pay off at harvest time, making more food for people and putting money in our pockets.
So what if the young boy, who is unsure of what he should do, applies the Four-Way Test as a guide to making his decisions? He will most likely stay out of trouble! He is also sure to set a positive example for others, help someone in need, and benefit the world by making it a better place. The Four-Way Test is a good way to live life in a world of choices. I am one young boy who will put this test to better use.
About the author: Gavin Strauss is a fifth grade student at Bryan Elementary School in Lexington, NE. Gavin’s essay was sponsored by the Lexington Rotary Club. Gavin was invited to read his winning essay at the 2013 District 5630 Conference in O’Neill. After reading his essay, Gavin received a certificate and a prize of $300 from District 5630 Governor Dian Edwards.
The second prize winner was Lydia Connell, sponsored by the Arnold Rotary Club. The third prize winner was Linda Kuku, sponsored by the Grand Island Sunrise Rotary Club. Both Lydia and Linda were unable to attend the conference.