Lessons from the Geese written in 1972 by Dr. Robert McNeish
This Fall, when you see geese heading south for the winter flying along in “V” formation, you might consider what science has discovered as to why they fly that way.
FACT: As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an “uplift” for the bird immediately following. By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock has at least 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.
LESSON: People who share a common direction and sense a community can get where they are going quicker and easier because they are travelling on the thrust of one another.
FACT: When a goose flies out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone. It quickly moves back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird in front of it.
LESSON: If we have as much common sense as a goose, we stay in formation with those headed where we want to go. We are willing to accept their help and give our help to others.
FACT: When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back into the formation, and another goose flies to the point position.
LESSON: It makes sense to take turns doing the hard tasks and share leadership. As with geese, people are interdependent on each others skills, capabilities and unique arrangements of gifts, talents or resources.
FACT: The geese flying in formation honk to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.
LESSON: We need to make sure our honking is encouraging. In groups where there is encouragement, the production is much greater. The power of encouragement is the quality of honking we seek.
FACT: When a goose gets sick, wounded, or shot down, two other geese will drop out of formation and follow it down to help and protect it. They stay with the fallen goose until it dies or is able to fly again. Then, they launch out with another formation to catch up with their flock.
LESSON: If we have as much sense as the geese, we will stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we are strong!