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To build community we learn from the geese.
Lessons from the Geese
By Robert McNeish – Baltimore, 1972
FACT: As each goose flies it creates an uplift for the birds that follow. By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.
Lesson: When we share a common direction and sense of community we can get where we are going faster and easier because we are traveling on the thrust of one another.
FACT: When a goose falls 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 birds immediately in front.
Lesson: If we have as much sense as a goose, we stay in formation with those headed where we want to go. We need to be willing to accept help from others and give our help to others.
FACT: When the lead goose tires it rotates back into the formation, and another goose flies to the point position.
Lesson: Remember to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership. As with geese, we are interdependent on other members’ skills, capabilities, and unique arrangements of gifts, talents, or resources.
FACT: 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 work goes better. The power of encouragement (to stand by one’s own core values and encourage the core of others) is the quality of honking we seek.
FACT: When a goose gets sick, wounded, or shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to help and protect. They stay with it until it dies or is able to fly again. Then they launch out with another formation or catch up with the flock.
Lesson: If we have as much sense as geese, we will stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we are strong.