It is Sunday, May 1 2016 and my first walk of the season around Telford Lake, in the city of Leduc where I reside.
Nature’s market has opened its doors for business. A variety of species seem to be endeavoring to mark out their territory, as they outdo each other in their own cultural language.
The Geese are what seems to be getting more of my attention as I sit at the water’s edge and observe their industrious pattern of doing things. They are fascinating creatures even though they are considered pests.
I am amazed how they can fly over the lake and land as smoothly as a 747. As I observe their activity, they seem to never fly alone and have a keen sense of ownership of the community they call home. Probably one of the most phenomenal geese facts is that their desire to return to their place every year is so strong that they will often fly up to 5000 kilometers to get there.
They fascinated me to the point that I came home and did some research of geese, and discovered there’s a lot to be learned from the way of the geese, especially for those in either secular or faith based leadership.
- Geese fly in a V formation. By doing so, as each goose flaps its wings, creating an uplift for the birds that follow which adds 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone. This exemplifies great team work. People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier when working together.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV: Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.
- When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone, and will move back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird in front of it. How often in leadership we see weakness in the team, either because we depend too much on the leader or the leader feels the need to carry the load.
Romans 15:1 NIV: We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.
- When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies to the point position. It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership. As with geese people need each other’s skills, capabilities and gifts to accomplish the task.
1 Peter 4:10 ESV: As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.
- One of the honking theories is that geese honk to encourage those in the front to keep up their speed. We need to be sure that when we honk it is encouragement. In spite of the seminars and workshops on team work, it is still quite common to hear horror stories of supervisors and managers who degrade and humiliate their co-workers.
1 Thessalonians 5:11: Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. It goes on to say to honor those who work hard and live in peace.
- 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 the wounded goose until it dies or is able to fly. Standing by each other in difficult times as well as when we are strong would be a lesson well learned.
Gal 6:2 NIV: Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Another interesting fact about geese is that they have a strong sense of family and group loyalty. In a world of constant change, where loyalties to leaderships, organizations and the family unit is on the decline, we could well learn something from the Way of the Geese.