Good Work: Service Above Self

The more I love, the longer I love, the larger I become.  Genuine love is self-replenishing.  The more I nurture the spiritual growth of others, the more my own spiritual growth is nurtured.  -M. Scott Peck
Once a year we get dressed up and go to the Rotary auction.  The location may change, but the formula is time tested: two waves of silent auctions, the live auction during a plated chicken dinner, and a featured cause.  It’s all pretty predictable.
What strikes me every year is the contribution mentality of the Rotarians.  It’s a group of people that take seriously the Rotary International motto, service above self.  They have made a commitment to this place and they steward with care.  Many of them own a small business. They are doctors, accountants, insurance agents, and realtors.  Sure, there is some enlightened self-interest at work here but it’s more than that.  They have made a conscious choice to weave the fabric of community and to serve those in need.
Many of the Rotarians have found, as the Peck quote points out, that service is self-replenishing—their lives are enriched by volunteering at schools, by giving scholarships, and by stocking the food bank.  The contribution mindset is more rewarding than an extraction mindset.
They gather every Thursday to learn together, to coordinate service, and to reinforce the contribution mindset. And once a year, they hold an auction.

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Discover the latest in learning innovations

Sign up for our weekly newsletter.


Dr. Conrad Ulpindo

Rotary is an organization that certainly stands for the creed and slogan that it speaks. From Africa to Antarctica and the world, Rotarian work in a variety of services to humanity, from health, education, hunger, polio and much more. As a former Rotary scholar, I have seen and experienced the commitment of Rotarians from coast to coast, serving in every generation or people worldwide. Someday, I too wanted to become a Rotarian, and articulate the motto to the world: Service Above Self and Beyond! Thank you, Tom for your kind words to Rotary.


Tom Vander Ark

Thanks Dr. Ulpindo. I'm proud to be married to a Rotarian (and was one for 10 years)

Dr. Conrad Ulpindo

Thank you to Rotarians (you and your wife) around the world, who in many ways, make our world a better plan to live. May you continue to support Rotary and articulate the idealism of the organization: One World, One Rotary! See you around, sometime, Tom!

Karen Vander Ark

Proud to announce the event on Saturday evening raised over $25,000 for the Birth to Three Center in Federal Way. A portion of the proceeds always goes to fund scholarships for high school seniors who are in need of financial assistance. Proud of our Rotary groups service to the educational needs of our community!

Dr. Conrad Ulpindo

Karen, thank you for all the work you do for Rotary and the world. Rotarians across the globe are making a difference in the lives of people, one dollar at a time. Your effort in educating children shall reward us all for generations to come. Thank you, again!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.