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Lessons from Geese

As each goose flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird following. By flying in a V formation, the whole flock adds 71 % more flying range than if each bird flew alone. Lesson: People who share a common direction and sense of community can go further and get where they are going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.

Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to fly alone, and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the 'lifting power' of the bird immediately in front. Lesson: If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation with those who are headed where we want to go.

When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back into formation and another goose flies at the point position. Lesson: It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks, and sharing leadership with people who, as with geese, are interdepend­ent with each other.

The geese in formation honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed. Lesson: We need to make sure our honking from behind is encouraging, not something less than helpful.

When a goose gets wounded or sick or shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to help and protect it. They stay with the goose until it is either able to fly again or dies. Then they launch out on their own with another formation or catch up with the flock. Lesson: If we have as much sense as geese we'll stand by each other like that.

Author unknown. Quoted from Gardening With Soul by Gaylah Balter, Learning Tree Books 2003.