Dear Fellow Rotarians
In the olden days, back when I was a student at Saint Patrick's Institute, the classroom walls were bedecked
with huge black chalk boards. These were used extensively because each member of the class had a spot on
which to chalk out their arithmetic problems. Despite the folklore, the saintly nuns did not beat us darlings
with wooden rulers. They did punish infractions by keeping us after school. If you were unfortunate enough to be detained you would be immediately forced into slave labor and you would be assigned to clean up the class room. The worse of the janitorial duties, as I remember, was bringing the chalk erasers out into the school yard and pounding the dust from them. The thought of that grit still gives me the shivers.
Discipline in the classroom, of course, has changed over the years. Dry-erase boards for one thing. Sanitation codes in our places of learning require a trained professional cleaning staff which, therefore, replaced student slave labor.
Early in my membership in Rotary, attendance at weekly meetings was very strict. If a member missed a number of meetings a committee MAN would contact the delinquent guy to find out the reason. And it had better be a good reason or else. I don't know what the 'or else' was. Maybe you had to clap-out the chalk erasers?
Yes, things change over time. One thing that doesn't change is Rotary's mission in the World and the community. This is why you are a Rotarian. I have found in our Bennington Rotary, that a member, when asked, will say yes to volunteering for a project 98% of the time. But then months will go by without seeing that member at a meeting. That is sad. A Rotary meeting is where you renew you commitment to the spirit of belonging. It is a time to let your fellow members know that you are doing all right and lets you see how they are doing.
Now, in the beginning of February, I am asking you to review your schedules and commit to coming to Rotary more frequently. Let's make a New Year's resolution towards better attendance.