When I joined Rotary, it was like moving into a new house — a house with four large, beautiful windows, each offering a different and striking view. One window led directly to my newfound friends — lawyers, architects, bankers, businessmen and others. Another window led straight into the heart of the community. The third opened onto a broad avenue that led out of my community, my country to different parts of the world. But it was the fourth window that fascinated me. The glass of this window was like a two-way mirror — one offered a view outside allowing me to offer my vocational expertise to my club and community. But it also gave me a glimpse into my own self; my attitude, thinking and actions. Yes, the three windows are club, community and international service windows. But the fourth was very important — Rotary’s vocational service, reflecting and depicting the very core of Rotary. It is the true window to Rotary’s soul which has brought credibility to Rotary.
When I was club president, Bob Barth was the RI president. He once said the Rotary pin should say about the wearer — ‘You can rely on me, I am dependable, reliable, give more than I take, I am available’. These words apply to all aspects of Rotary but especially to our vocational service.
January is vocational service month, a good time to focus on vocational service in our club projects and activities. It is this that clearly and sharply differentiates Rotary from other service organisations, as our membership is based on our vocations. It is about sharing and learning about each other’s vocation; using our professional skills to serve; mentoring the young, recognising outstanding individuals and integrity in our personal, professional and Rotary lives. It calls on us to empower others, especially youth, by using our unique skills and expertise to help them discover new professional opportunities and interests. Vocational excellence and integrity are two intertwined parts of Rotary’s vocational service. By recognising individuals who practice their profession/vocation with passion, pursuit of excellence, perseverance and integrity through rewards, Rotary seeks to encourage and motivate them and set an example for others to follow. This is a good way to celebrate vocational service month.
Values are intrinsic to our lives. They add strength to our character. I had a dream in which God said to me, ‘Just build a better world.’ ‘How?’ I asked, ‘The world is a vast and complicated place. And I am so small and insignificant.’ And God in His wisdom said, ‘Just build a better You’. Let us build ourselves better so that we can make our clubs better and the community a better place to live in. That is our vocational opportunity. The greatest reward for doing good is the opportunity to do more. Grab that opportunity. Enjoy Rotary, enjoy yourself.
Dr Bharat Pandya,
RI Director, 2019-21