Frogs, Conductors and Failed Groups

Last year I participated in bringing up the Florida Republic.  Six months later it split/collapsed.

Have we learned anything since then?  Can we bring the Republic back up again, or any other organization for that matter, and get past where we left off, or are we just going to repeat the mistakes made before?

Up until the mid 1900's, all trains carried special rails called frogs.  They were short ramps that would be used to get a derailed train car back on the tracks. One end of the frog was bolted to the track and the other end was dug under the wheel. The train would ease forward, with the frog acting as a ramp, the wheel would ride above the track and then fall into its proper place. 


      Frog hanging on an engine.

I first learned of frogs when talking with an elderly gentleman who worked for the railroad prior to World War Two.  He was training to be a freight train conductor before he was drafted.  We have all seen movies of conductors going through the train cars collecting tickets from the passengers, but what does a conductor do on a freight train?

The Conductor orders the movement of the train, especially when it is backing up.  He is responsible for the addition and dropping off of train cars. He rides in the caboose watching for sparks indicating that a car is derailed with the potential of derailing the whole train.  And yes, the conductor is responsible for using the frogs.

So what went wrong with the Florida Republic?  There were lots of mistakes, mishaps and missed opportunities.  But most noticeable to me was the fact that we, the electors, abandoned our elected officials. When the elections were over we left knowing the right people were elected and would do an excellent job.  We never checked back on them to see if they needed help.  We had done our part.  We gave the members of our assemblies the same non-support.

But in truth, we had no idea if they had all of the training needed to do their jobs; we really knew nothing about them.  Were they up to speed with Robert's Rules of Order?  How could they know what they were expected to do without job descriptions? They didn't know what they didn't know and if they did know they never asked the rest of us for help.

What we allowed to happen to our elected officials and members of our new assemblies was tantamount to my friend being made Conductor his first day on the job without any training.  No wonder we find ourselves with a derailed train.  In retrospect, what else could we have expected to happen?

What we now need is a training manual for all persons desiring to govern themselves, both elected and assembly, so we don't continue to be unsupportive and perpetuate this crippling problem.  We will soon be forced to process a lot of concepts quickly and efficiently that will determine the well being of our entire community.  If we are not properly trained in concept processing we will probably turn on each other instead of creating good for all concerned.  We must not fail in our search for freedom and community happiness.  Lets get trained and create our future! 

When building your own organization, don't make the same mistakes we made.