Vol. 8, No. 2 May 2004
Lessons from Geese
of geese say that the lessons they have learned by watching these birds
are useful for foster parents and others who work with and rely on others.
As each goose flaps its wings, 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.
People who share a common direction and sense of community can get
where they are going quicker and easier because they are traveling
on the thrust of each other.
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 bird immediately in front
If we have as much 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.
When the lead bird tires, it rotates back into the formation to take
advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front of it.
It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership.
As with geese, people are interdependent on each others' skills, capabilities,
and unique arrangements of gifts, talents, or resources.
The geese flying in formation honk to encourage those up front to keep
up their speed.
We need to make sure our honking is encouraging. In groups where there
is encouragement, the production is much greater. The power of encouragement
(to stand by one's heart or core values and to encourage the heart
and core values of others) is the quality of honking we seek.
When a goose gets sick, wounded, or shot down, two geese drop out of
formation and follow it down to help and protect it. 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.
If we have as much sense of geese, we will stand by each other in
difficult times as well as when were strong.
from Dr. Robert McNeish of Baltimore (1972)