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Old 16-08-2008, 02:59   #16
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Oh boy, leadership by consensus of committee.

How many Quakers does it take to change a lightbulb?

That depends. If the lightbulb is in the meetinghouse, then it takes the whole meeting, and 3-9 months.

First, property committee has to notify clerk that a lightbulb is burned out. It will then be put on the agenda for the next monthly meeting for business. When it comes up on the agenda, clerk will ask how Friends respond to the notice from property committee. Then, clerk of property committee will be asked for that committee’s recommendation regarding the burned out bulb, and we will learn that property committee was merely notifying meeting of the state of the bulb, and it did not reach the point of trying to make a recommendation. The matter will then be referred back to property committee to come up with a recommendation regarding the bulb, and the matter will be put on the agenda for the next monthly meeting for business, four weeks later.

At the next monthly meeting, property committee will report that it needs more time to make a recommendation because it has asked for consultation from other committees, and it has not yet received reports from these other committees. The Peace and Social Order committee is reporting back regarding the relationship between the utility company and the armaments industry and the Pentagon, and looking for a manufacturer of lightbulbs that does not have such ties. Unity With Nature Committee is reporting in the effects of the use of electricity on the environment, and whether the old light bulb is biodegradable, and, if not, is there any way to get rid of it that comports with our commitment to the environment. The Committee on Right Sharing of the World’s Resources has reported back that any additional use of lightbulbs by meeting flies in the face of our testimony of simplicity, and recommends that the burned out bulb be left in place as a reminder of all who must live without the benefit of electrical power. The matter is then put over to the next meeting for business.

At the next meeting for business, all committees report and there is no unity on a recommendation to change or not to change the lightbulb. Clerk schedules a threshing to take place in the interim before the next meeting for business, at which time it will be on the agenda again.

At the next meeting for business, Clerk discerns a sense of the meeting among Friends and attenders that meeting should do the following:

1. Remove the burned out bulb from the socket, but not disposed of. It shall be kept on the mantle above the fireplace.

2. A new bulb, provided one need not be purchased, shall be placed into the socket, but not screwed in all the way so as not to use additional current. The decision as to when to screw the bulb in all the way is referred back to property committee which will makes its recommendation, after input from all the other committees previously involved, at a future meeting for business.

3. If a new lightbulb needs to be purchased, the matter will be referred to the finance committee to review and make a recommendation.


After a period of silence, an old, well respected Quaker scholar and weighty Friend rises to quote from George Fox, stating that, “It is not in thy power to change it. Thy task is to bring it to Christ and leave it there.” In view of this, weighty Friend must stand in the way. After another, even longer period of silence, another Friend rises to make the point that our willingness to proceed requires respect for Fox’s writings, but must be tempered by the light received by meeting today. More silence. Clerk discerns that there is no sense of the meeting to proceed at this time, and offers to lay the matter over for the next meeting for business. Weighty Friend suggests that since so many of us did not grow up as Quakers, we might schedule an adult education series on the writings of George Fox on the inward Light, thereby preparing meeting for its future possible consideration of when the new light bulb should be screwed into the socket. There is clearly strong unity on the Fox series, and Clerk receives volunteers to arrange and schedule it. Weighty Friend then agrees to stand aside. Meeting Clerk then reads back the three points on which there had been unity, and asks for a period of silence. The matter is minuted. Then another Friend suggests that the matter be put over until the next monthly meeting since it is our custom to put over all action items for a month for seasoning. Friends agree, and the matter is put over to be reconsidered after seasoning.

Before the next monthly meeting, old weighty Friend becomes ill and at the time of monthly meeting for business, is still in the hospital. Meeting agrees not to act on the lightbulb matter until weighty Friend recovers, since the matter was so close to his heart. The matter is put over to next meeting for business, at which time, though weighty Friend is still in the hospital, he has sent a message that he is still willing to stand aside so long as the Fox education series goes on. Clerk re-reads the three points on which meeting reached unity, and there is a loud “Agreed”.
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Old 16-08-2008, 05:48   #17
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Rebuttal: Though not Quakers ourselves, our two kids went to a Quaker school. My wife taught math there, and was head of the math department. The school ran very well, in spite of (or perhaps because of) the "consensus" process.
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Old 16-08-2008, 05:59   #18
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Originally Posted by David M View Post
The co-captain idea might work for a couple who are close and who have nobody else aboard. I though would not want to be a crew member on a boat where there are two captains. One person needs to have the final word...not two people who may disagree with each other in a dangerous situation.

There is also the legal aspect. I don't think any government authority recognizes two captains aboard one boat.

It is a cute idea and hints of political correctness in making things "fair" for everyone, but it is probably not a pragmatic idea.

You would both learn more by switching roles periodically. Perhaps let her be the captain on one voyage and you be the captain on the next voyage?
Our method wouldn't work for a second with crew, or with anyone but people with the same circumstances we have. Definitely not.

I think those who poo poo the idea and must be the "captain in charge" probably are the "captain in charge" at home, in the office and everywhere else in life too. (I say this in general, not toward you, David)
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Old 16-08-2008, 06:07   #19
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I meant no disrespect to the Friends. It's an old joke they tell on themselves.
http://www.kvaekerne.dk/personal/HFH/humorquaker.html
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Old 16-08-2008, 09:27   #20
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I would think the equality of knowledge between 2 people are rare. Sully you are lucky to have such a mate, but for most of us. It is usually the man that brought the woman into sailing. How will my wife make up for my 20 years prior experience? The knowledge of sailing is gathered in every new experience. When I have sailed for 50 years. There will always be a sailor with more, or better experience.

My wife has a hard time picking out an outfit. I am not waiting on her to make the decision when the POO hit the roatating blades of the fan!!!!!!!!LOLOLOLOL
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Old 16-08-2008, 17:05   #21
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Read "UNDAUNTED COURAGE" by Steven Ambrose. Lewis and Clark managed this arrangement 200 years ago with no big deal. What is a captain? Probably, the most important feature is the sense of leadership and decision that is implied by the crew. What is the issue? If two (or three or ?) folks share decison making, they will all recognize that the wheel can only be turned one way and that death is a real consequence of indecision. If not, they may all die and the issue is resolved for them. That is what got early explorers through squeaky situations (or didn't). Folks either figure out that one decision is better than another and take the chance (and the consequence) or they muddle through, or they don't. Work out your own code of conduct and learn more about each other. You may discover some pretty exciting country, or be eaten by bears, or merely take different paths. Don't pay that much attention to the likes of us. We haven't figured it out either.
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Old 18-08-2008, 09:31   #22
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We're not co-captains, or even co-owners. The boat is mine. The house is hers. Yes, that means I live in a woman's house.
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Old 19-08-2008, 11:44   #23
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Sue and I consider ourselves each as Captains of Angel Louise. We call ourselves Co-Captains.

We both hold USCG 6-pack Captains licenses and share responsibility equally for all decision making aboard. But there will be one or the other of us in charge all the time. As full time live-aboard cruisers we each have different strengths, and at times one or the other of us is in control.

We are very consultive and work by consensus. When it comes to operations, only one person has the conn however, and we are clear when we are changing off. It is important to make it clear who is in control at any time, as that person is primarily responsible for operation during the watch and in command until the other person relieves them.

But if we are both up and active and the person on duty desires to divert attention from running the boat - even if the boat is on autopilot - we make clear who has the CONN, as they used to say in the movies.

Ed Kelly - now lying Kittery, Maine (actually <quite by accident> at anchor next to Capt Sully)
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Old 21-08-2008, 07:45   #24
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co-captains

My wife and I operate under this priciple most of the time. I say "most" because the majority of the time we don't have what one would deem an "emergency situation". In the case of an "emergency" or potentially unsafe situation, one person on board should be a decision maker. Democratic debate has no place when time is of the essence.
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Old 21-08-2008, 09:33   #25
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Captaincy has very specific functions in the naval environment, and the history of this has evolved to include similar principles in non-naval (commercial) shipping. In small private vessels, there is no need for a captain per se, just as there are no captains in small boats in the navy. I can see where there is a large disparity in knowledge/experience levels between the two persons, that the more experienced person of that couple would be considered the "captain". Where both have similar (or identical) competency, then it makes more sense for the person on watch to have "charge" of the ship, in effect exercising command. The person on watch is more likely to be awake, lucid and aware of the situation, so is in the best position to make the decisions. Captains don't work in a vacuum - they take advice and recommendations from trusted crew; so let's be realistic - a spouse's input will have a lot of influence on a captain's decisions. Whether a couple decides to go with one captain or two, it will work just fine so long as both parties absolutely agree that the captain or captain on watch makes the decisions.

Kevin
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Old 21-08-2008, 13:41   #26
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My wife and I are "CO" everything, interestingly enough we refer to our selves as "Team Summers"........Although she isnt a well versed sailor, we share in the decision making about where when and what we are doing, I make the boat go.

It works for us.
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Old 21-08-2008, 14:39   #27
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The boat is the ultimate master, the crew is always subservient to her needs!

There is always aspirations among the crew as to the right or wrong way to do something but in the end, procrastinate or deliberate long enough and the master will choose.

You can call yourself captain or skipper but are you ever really in absolute control during every minute of every trip?
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Old 24-08-2008, 08:11   #28
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We are " co-captains", however when things seem to be getting hairy we do not make decisions by committee. My partner has more experience than I do and will assume a leadership role when ti is prudent and necessary to do so. We DO NOT argue in those situations. While we we may do a post mortem also not arguing, there is in truth no friction. We take action together as things arrive. We are used to sailing together in various conditions and circumstances and have developed an understanding and way of communicating that works for us. When others are aboard we explain as we go, if there is not time we ask them to move for a moment while dealing with whatever is happening.
Each couple will hopefully find what works for them with safety and enjoyment. Safety is always a prime concern.
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Old 27-08-2008, 12:48   #29
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Question Whats in a "handle"

Reading through this thread it seems to me to wander away from the point "does any couple consider themselves co-captains" in favour of defending who is in charge.

I like the comments where its joint responsibility (like their marriage) and those where the watch keeper is responsible (trusting) and those where one deffers to the others experience (faith in each other).

What I dont uderstand is why the title has to be Captain isnt this a bit "high and mighty" and "I'me better than you"? Its surely, when leisure sailing in ones own boat, nothing other than a pleasure activity.

Captain sounds like a military rank which is not part of leisure sailing. Whilst as a Naval rank the use of the rank of captain (I understand) was dropped years ago as the rank of the master of the ship/boat, as the master could be a lesser or higher rank.

My wife and I have never used the term "captain". Most authorities we have had occassions to deal with enquire who is the "skipper" or "master" to sign the papers or pay the money. Maybe if we travel further a-field we might hear the word as I notice many leisure sailors in the USA sign themselves off as captains! or does this indicate they are qualified to hold the rank through military service?

In many European areas a recognised qualification is now expected to demonstrate competence, not "Captain Qualified". I once captained the school chess team so maybe I can sign myself as;

Captain Martin
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Old 28-08-2008, 07:29   #30
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In truth we do NOT actually think of ourselves as Captain..co or otherwise. We approach sailing as we approach the rest of our lives, as a team. When we began sailing together we had been working together for many years in a business venture. Which was also the case before we became a couple. I believe this has always been advantageous. There was much we knew about each other, and we were familiar with each others working style of communication. Always knew if someone felt something was urgent for example. In any case it works for us.
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