Your Rotary Life: Writing on a Blank Slate

by Rita Esterly, District Governor 6080

Imagine being given a piece of chalk with which to write. Then imagine a blank slate. Now imagine that you can write anything you want to with that piece of chalk on that blank slate. What would you write in terms of your Rotary Life? Your Rotary Life is like a blank slate. Your actions are the chalk that creates words or pictures on your blank slate. What word can you write or image can you draw that will be effective in giving Service Above Self?

Let me give you an example of what I wrote last January with my chalk on my blank slate about my Rotary Life. There is a saying that states: “There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” Believing this to be true, I wrote with my chalk on my Rotary Life slate the words “Be the Light.” Over the year I took every opportunity to spread the message of the changes at Rotary International that would enlighten Rotarians so our District could help Rotary be strong and thrive in the coming years.

At times I was the candle. For example, when I trained my District Leadership Team, I spoke and role modeled the new ideas Rotary was promoting with the Strategic Plan and with Continuity. When I visited clubs, my speech was all about the changes in Rotary. At times I was the mirror. For example, when I met with Rotaract clubs, they shared all the amazing things they were doing and I reflected to them how they were already implementing the ideas that would help Rotary to thrive in the coming years. When I would visit with individuals, I would reflect on what he/she was doing and plant a seed about how that particular Rotarian could make a larger impact in his/her Rotary life.

The reason these words were important for me to write on my Rotary Life slate was that I believe that the more people are educated, the more effective they can be in what they choose to do in their Rotary Life. The more people realize the value and impact of what they believe to be only small actions, the more they are willing to give to Rotary. I never knew what a conversation might lead to, so I was determined not to let any opportunity go by without either sharing or reflecting the light.

As the year draws to a close, I look back to see if my efforts were effective. What I do know is that those clubs who were enlightened to embrace change such as visioning have developed a strategic plan that will help their club grow and thrive. Some of the strategic plans I have seen are going to create dynamic clubs. Those individuals who caught their own reflection in my mirror are some of our most amazing leaders and have accomplished such remarkable goals. I know that I am going to continue to “Be the Light” in my Rotary Life.

What are you going to write on your blank slate about your Rotary Life this coming year? I challenge you to write a word or design a picture with your chalk on your blank slate so that your actions have a focused goal for your Rotary Life this year. With such individual determination about one’s Rotary Life, humanitarian efforts as well as creating dynamic clubs will continue to make our district strong and preserve Rotary for future generations.

Posted with permission of the author.

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About John Borst

John Borst’s career in education spans the years 1960 to 1996. During those 36 years, he spent an equal amount of time working int he English language, Public and Catholic school boards. Borst taught in both elementary and high school environments. Positions of responsibilities held included department head in Geography, curriculum coordinator of Social and Environmental Studies, Principal, Education Officer with the Ministry of Education, Superintendent of Schools, and Superintendent of Student Services. Borst retired in 1996 as Director of Education for the legacy Dryden Board of Education. During this time, Borst has lived in the Ontario communities of Brampton, Toronto, Newmarket, Thunder Bay, Aurora and Dryden. Currently, Borst splits his time between Dryden and Toronto. Since retirement, Borst has served as a Supervisory Officer with a remote School Authority; been a freelance writer of articles on education in particular for Education Today, the magazine of the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA); founded and edited from 2006 - 2010 the Education blog Tomorrow’s Trust: A Review of Catholic Education; and from 2003-2010 was a trustee of the Northwest Catholic District School Board.
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