This is the Life: Rotarian offers good advice

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The magazine I’ve been reading for the past few days, mostly over breakfast, has been publishing for 100 years. Among its contributors have been Jesse Owens, J.C. Penney, Babe Ruth, Carl Sagan, Albert Schweitzer, Scott Turow, Kurt Vonnegut and Winston Churchill. The New Yorker? Life? Time? No, The Rotarian.

Among the many, many good reasons for being a member of a Rotary Club is that membership includes a subscription to a magazine that celebrates the countless good works undertaken by Rotarians around the world. In reading the centenary issue this week, I’ve been impressed by the amount of good advice readers have been offered over the years.

Without further comment, I present some snippets I found of particular interest.

“Anybody with any sense knows that the whole Solar System will go up like a celluloid collar by-and-by. I honestly believe, though, that we are wrong to think that moments go away, never to be seen again. This moment and every moment lasts forever.” (Author Kurt Vonnegut)

In response to the question, What does one have to be willing to do to be happy at work?: “First, to accept that the notion that happiness at work is possible. What we discover is that what we believe determines everything. If you cannot believe that it’s possible to be happy at work, the game’s over.” (Graphic designer Milton Glaser)

“If we are to advance, we who are in business must give time and effort, which are not always immediately productive of profits, to the training of our successors. We who employ should build something into a man instead of constantly taking something out of him.” (Department store founder J.C. Penney)

“Why don’t the wicked people suffer in this world? My answer: they do. Maybe they don’t suffer in the ways we are looking for. Maybe they are not arrested, humiliated, afflicted with herpes. But their punishment is very real and very severe. Their punishment is that they run the risk of coming to the end of their lives without ever having known the satisfactions of genuine love, self-discipline, unselfishness, generosity. That, it seems to me, is a worse punishment than going to jail, worse than being stuck by little red figures with pitchforks or dipped in fiery brimstone.” (Rabbi and author Harold S. Kusher)

“Never, ever say, ‘My bad.’ We know that it’s your bad. You’re the one who threw the ball out of bounds. You’re the one who ran the red light. You’re the one who issued the bonuses to the big earners at AIG. It’s not as if we’re likely to confuse you with somebody else. We’ve got it all on tape. Again, a simple, ‘I’m sorry — I deserve to be flogged’ will do nicely.” (Humorist Joe Queenan)

“The rich cannot accumulate wealth without the co-operation of the poor in society. If this knowledge were to penetrate to and spread amongst the poor, they would become strong and learn how to free themselves by means of nonviolence from the crushing inequalities which have brought them to the verge of starvation.” (Indian spiritual and political leader Mohandas K. Ghandi)

“When I come back from any trip, I realize that I am a part of the terroir of my home turf, just as the people who so charm me in distant corners of the world are part of theirs. Those people might visit me here, find it interesting, incorporate a few slices of my lifestyle into theirs, and be just as thankful to fly home. While travel can inspire us to challenge our society to do better, is also shows us how much we have to be grateful for, to take responsibility for, and to protect.” (Travel writer Rick Steves)

“The way for a person or a club to be well thought of in its community is to do something for the community.” (Rotary founder Paul P. Harris)

Lorne Eckersley is the publisher of the Creston Valley Advance.

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