On the way back from PA on Friday, Mart and I were talking about the geese flying above us. He asked why do they fly in a formation? I remembered the Story of Geese that was shared with me early on in my teaching career and looked it up to share with him. Here is the story which gives us something to think about as we enter into a new year.
In the fall when you see Geese heading south for the winter flying along in the "V" formation, you might be interested in knowing what science has discovered about why they fly that way.
It has been learned that as each bird flaps its wings, it creates uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in a "V" formation, the whole flock adds at least 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own. Quite similar to people who are part of a team and share a common direction get where they are going quicker and easier, because they are traveling on the trust of one another and lift each other up along the way.
Whenever a Goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go through it alone and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the power of the flock. If we have as much sense as a Goose, we will stay in formation and share information with those who are headed the same way that we are going.
When the lead Goose gets tired, he rotates back in the wing and another Goose takes over. It pays to share leadership and take turns doing hard jobs.
The Geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep their speed. Words of support and inspiration help energize those on the front line, helping them to keep pace in spite of the day-to-day pressures and fatigue. It is important that our honking be encouraging. Otherwise it's just - well honking!
Finally, when a Goose gets sick or is wounded by a gunshot and falls out, two Geese fall out of the formation and follow the injured one down to help and protect him. They stay with him until he is either able to fly or until he is dead, and then they launch out with another formation to catch up with their group. When one of us is down, it's up to the others to stand by us in our time of trouble. If we have the sense of a Goose, we will stand by each other when things get rough. We will stay in formation with those headed where we want to go.
The next time you see a formation of Geese, remember their message that "IT IS INDEED A REWARD, A CHALLENGE AND A PRIVILEGE TO BE A CONTRIBUTING MEMBER OF A TEAM"