Caleb Butts, a graduating senior at Port St. Joe Jr./Sr. High School, was recently named the winner of the annual Port St. Joe Rotary Club Citizenship Award.

Butts earned the award and $1,000 for his winning essay on ethics applying the Rotary International Four-Way Test.

Created by Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor in 1932, the Four-Way Test is a “non-partisan and nonsectarian ethical guide for Rotarians to use for their personal and professional relationships,” according to Rotary International.

The test revolves around four questions and has been translated into 100 languages and recited at all Rotarian club meetings.

Those four questions to be applied to thoughts, actions and words, are:

Is it the truth?

Is it fair to all concerned?

Will it build goodwill and better friendships?

Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

Sponsors of the Citizenship Award are: Centennial Bank; Costin and Costin, Attorneys at Law; Capital City Bank; Coastal Realty Group; Dewberry; Duren’s Piggly Wiggly; Farnsley Wealth Management; Dr. John and Kim Miller; Sunset Coastal Grill; and Jim and Diane Lowry.


Caleb Butts’s essay:


As I embark on adulthood seeking a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing with the goal of becoming a nurse, I can see how the tenets of the Four-Way Test would be very useful in the field of nursing. As a nurse, you would find yourself in life and death situations, making decisions that will literally impact the health, wellbeing, and mortality of your patience. Nursing provides so many opportunities that can expose all facets of one’s character. Understanding the Four-Way Test would not only better me as a person, but it would help me become a better nurse, as well.

Throughout life as we come across different decisions, we could use the Four-Way Test as an essential way to help make those decisions. One of the questions to ask yourself from the test is “Is it the truth?”

Asking yourself this question before making any decision will keep you accountable to yourself. Being honest and having integrity is very important in shaping the character of any man or woman. The important decisions we have to make in life need to be based on good and strong ethics and morals. Being truthful is one of the most, if not the most, important values we should have in our lives. Letting the truth affect the way we think and what we choose would help create a better standard for the way we live our lives. It would affect the relationships we have with people by realizing that what you say has an impact, so the things you say to people needs to be truthful. Living in truth gives you wisdom and insight, helping you understand what is really important in life.

Another question to ask yourself from the Four-Way Test is “Is it fair to all concerned?”

Being one of the youngest in a family with six kids, I learned a great deal about fairness. I learned that sometimes things simply are not fair in life. This made me appreciate the idea of being fair much more. Being treated equally is important in life and in the work field. Man or woman, young or old, everyone needs to be held accountable for the same things and held under the same rules. That’s why fairness needs to be a major factor in our thought process. Giving everyone an equal opportunity to excel in life and try to live out their dreams would impact each and everyone’s life for the better.

As I think about the decisions I have made in the past, I can’t help but to wonder how they might have changed if I had thought about the Four-Way Test before. Before making a decision, you should also ask yourself, “Will it build goodwill and better friendships?”

Bad company corrupts good character, so surrounding yourself in good company is the best way to living a good life. As you go through life, it is important to build relationships and make connections, but you need to make those connections with the right people. You need to build relationships with people who will want the best for you and who will guide you in the right path. Understanding the Four-Way Test in the past would have affected many of the relationships I have today. Good friendships are very important in life. Having someone to keep you accountable to live right and to do what’s right would be very helpful in the world we live in today.

The last question from the Four-Way Test is “Will it be beneficial to all concerned?”

When making a decision, it is important to keep in mind of everyone that is being affected by it, and then ask yourself how it is affecting them. Keeping this question in consideration when making decisions will help to keep you from being selfish. Living life being conscious and considerate of others will help you understand that our actions have consequences. The philosophy of “You reap what you sow” applies here.