Below is my award winning Toastmasters speech on leadership and the constitution. – relationary
The Tale of Free Toad
I am going to tell you a story. It’s a story about why you joined this organization.
Once upon a time there was a toad called Free Toad who when he was old enough left his home and set out to see the world. He lived and worked with all kinds of toads in all kinds of ponds.
One day he came to a pond called Muddy Waters much and he was invited to a toad meeting. There he met Control Toad.
Control Toad had been sitting on the same toad stool for twelve years.
At the meeting Control Toad was being honored and he gave an acceptance speech. “I give perfect toad parties.” Control Toad croaked, “The sun and the moon, the planets and the stars revolve around me and if anyone thinks different they can leave Muddy Waters.”
Free Toad was not impressed. He decided go to the ribbit hole to consult with an old friend, Wise Toad.
Free Toad asked Wise Toad, “Is being a toad about perfect parties?”
Wise Toad looked long and deep at Free Toad and asked, “What was the goal of the first Toadmaster?”
Free Toad thought and could not come up with an answer.
Wise Toad replied, “To conquer fear.”
Free Toad asked, “Fear of what?”
Wise Toad replied, “Leadership, communication and achievement.”
Wise Toad continued, “Toads are afraid of their rights and responsibilities, afraid of speaking their mind and afraid to set goals and take action.”
Free Toad asked, “How do I know my rights and responsibilities?”
Wise Toad pulled out a strip of bark, “The Toadmaster Constitution”.
Free Toad asked, “How do I speak my mind?”
Wise Toad pulled out another strip of bark, “Ribbit’s Rules of Order.”
Free Toad asked, “How do I set goals and take action?”
Wise Toad pulled out a final piece of bark, “The Toadmaster Catalog.”
Wise Toad continued, “Toads have to return to the basics. The Constitution is the cornerstone of being a Toadmaster.”
Free Toad took the three pieces of bark and Wise Toad cautioned him, “Control Toad is a tyrant. He is afraid of the Constitution. When you use it he will try to kill you.”
Not At This Club
Free Toad hopped back across Muddy Waters and attended the next toad meeting. He ran for president and won. Control Toad was not pleased.
Free Toad announced, “I am giving every toad a constitution.”
Control Toad took Free Toad aside and said, “Stick the constitution, the rules of order and the catalog in a stump and forget them.”
At the next meeting Free Toad said to Control Toad, “The constitution says the president presides over all club meetings and business meetings.”
Control Toad replied angrily, “Not at this club!” and Control Toad took control of the meetings.
At the first executive meeting Free Toad said, “I would like each officer to perform their duties as defined in the constitution.”
Control Toad replied, “Not in this club!” And Control Toad took control of the duties.
Then one of Control Toad’s cronies wanted a favor. Control Toad said to the executive, “Do this favor without telling the club. It involves money and the club cannot be trusted.”
Free Toad could take it no longer. Control Toad had disempowered the President, disempowered the Executive and the disempowered the entire Membership.
Free Toad roared, “The Constitution says the executive can take no action without ratification by the club.”
Some toads covered their ears, some toads covered their eyes and some toads covered their mouths.
Control Toad covered all three.
The next meeting Control Toad conspired with her clique of cronies and stormed the meeting.
“The word of the day is ‘occupation’,” declared Control Toad and her cronies surrounded Free Toad.
“I didn’t come here to achieve,” said one crony.
“I didn’t come here to communicate,” said a second crony.
“I didn’t come here to lead,” said a third crony.
Then Control Toad stood up last and croaked, “Free Toad has salamandered me”.
“Free Toad must be taught a lesson,” the cronies all croaked in unison.
The votes were tallied and Control Toad’s clique won five to four the rest abstained. They had persuaded no one but themselves.
Then Control Toad pulled out a cake and yelled, “On with my perfect parties.”
Next meeting they installed a president who proudly declared he had never read the Toadmaster Constitution or Ribbit’s Rules of Order or the Toadmaster Catalog.
Free Toad had learned a lesson: The constitution cannot defend itself. Every toad has to learn and uphold the Toadmaster Constitution if they are to fend off tyrants.
As Free Toad walked away from Muddy Waters he decided to start a new pond. A few young toads came to him and asked, “How do we join you?”
Free Toad asked, “What was the goal of the first Toadmaster?”