206-542-8422 | Email Us |
Shopping cart is empty.
Eliminate Discord, Not Dissent

Learn to debate, discuss, and disagree on issues without crippling arguments. Mastering Council Meetings provides tools for healthy disagreement, giving voice to all council members while maintaining the focus on issues and ideas. Personalities and politics need not dominate your council meetings. Buy this book today.

Feel Empowered and Fully Engaged

Never lose confidence again. With Mastering Council Meetings in hand, council members know what to say and when. Effective governance requires that all voices are heard, especially yours. Buy this book today.

Be Confident, Clear, and Connected

The diagrams, examples, and lessons within Mastering Council Meetings are a complete toolkit for elected officials. Learn to communicate clearly and govern well through proper and effective meeting procedures. Feel rewarded by the work you do with your council. Buy this book today.

Increase Focus and Productivity

Tired of painfully long meetings? Mastering Council Meetings is an essential guidebook for efficient and effective council meetings. Work less and get more done. Yes, really. Buy this book today.

www.masteringcouncilmeetings.com

Subscribe to our newsletter

Robert's Rules in Real Life

The Elf Barn and Robert's Rules of Order

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

This week I had the pleasure of helping three young ones set up the “Elf Barn.” 

This Macfarlane family tradition is a Fischer-Price toy structure that we adorn with elves, angels, toys, animals and miscellaneous figures. It began with a charming set of pipe-cleaner elves made by my mother-in law perhaps 60 years ago. A ghostly Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi, Noah under an umbrella with his animals, a hot-air balloon, grand piano and a computer have become part of the scene – all more or less to scale. I feel a particular fondness for the tiny angel band I bought in Munich with my then-fiancé Lew, too many years ago to count.

Each type of figure aroused a different passion in each child, so we quickly established rules of order. You can collect the animals, you collect the people, you collect the presents and toys. Each child may place one figure in turn, one after another. Unanimous consent allowed a few variations – you can place a heap of presents (defined as four) and you can place the whole angel band, since they so clearly belong together. And afterwards – no changes allowed unless there is a quorum in agreement.

Is it a stretch to call these simple guidelines “rules of order”? I don’t think so. Human nature being what it is, and human feelings being what they are, coming to agreement about how we will conduct any human activity is necessary if we are all to be full participants. The alternative is authoritarianism, brute force, and unhappiness. As our readers know, I believe that Robert’s Rules of Order, properly used, add greatly to the sum of human happiness and efficiency. There is a continuum from hearth and home, and the charity that begins at home, to the governmental and nonprofit activities that support and sustain all of us in our individual lives within society.

Samuel Johnson said once that the whole purpose of government is to enable us to be happy at home. However you define your home, and wherever it may be, may this season bring you happiness and peace.

Ann G. Macfarlane, Professional Registered Parliamentarian

(c) Jurassic Parliament 2014. All rights reserved.