Great Stories, Leadership

A Proud Son (Thanks Rotary)

Every parent should hear others praise their child. Every child should hear others praise their parent. For years working with youth I tried to apply that principle frequently, and my belief in it only gets stronger. Last night, thanks to the Dundas Sunrise Rotary Club, I had the privilege of hearing my mom praised as she was awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship for her remarkable record of serving her community in a vast array of roles and meeting a wide range of needs. She is a most deserving recipient, and I am a very proud son. In the course of the evening I also came to a greater understanding and respect for the work of Rotary International. While I’ve been familiar with their model of service clubs and remarkable campaign to eradicate polio, and despite connections with a number of Rotarians, this was my first glimpse inside. Rotary is an impressive organization. They describe their own work here. Members speak of the significance of Rotary in their own lives and the impact they have around the world with a sincerity and commitment commonly reserved for religious organizations. In some ways Rotary parallels the sense of community, service, commitment, and ritual often present in a religious gathering. There is great pride evidenced in both membership and in the impact of their work, and they back that up with significant financial giving. It is difficult for any organization to maintain enthusiasm for both local and international endeavours, particularly when a major driving cause (eradicating polio worldwide) is essentially complete. In just one evening I witnessed evidence of a desire for continuous improvement, generational transfer, and a willingness to challenge organizational traditions without rebelling against a proud history. I don’t plan to join Rotary, but I had to think about it. A few things to chew on: -How can you praise your staff, volunteers, clientele, and donors in front of those they love most? -What kind of commitment do you expect of your community and how strongly do they embrace it? -What are you doing to bring new life to your organization in terms of people, issues, and ideas?