Lessons From the Geese
As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird following. By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.
Lesson 1: 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 one another.
Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone, and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the uplifting power of the bird immediately in front.
Lesson 2: If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation with those who are headed where we want to go, and we’ll be willing to accept their help as well as give ours to the others.
When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back into formation and another goose flies at the point position.
Lesson 3: It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership. With people, as with geese, we are inter-dependent on each other.
The geese in formation honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.
Lesson 4: We need to make sure our honking from behind is encouraging.
When a goose gets sick, is wounded, or is shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to help and protect it. They stay with it until it is able to fly again or dies, then they launch out on their own with another formation or catch up with their flock.
Lesson 5: If we have as much sense as geese, we too will stand by each other in difficult times, as well as when we are strong.
Lila knew the story of the geese, and she when moved to a new town, Lila decided that she would be as resourceful as those geese.
She was married with two small children, but despite having a loving family, she missed friends who she had left when she moved across the country. Phone calls helped but they weren’t enough. Plus, the calls were running into money. Lila is the kind of person who looks for possible solutions rather than complaining about what’s not working and she was determined to somehow fill the hole in her life that was left as a result of her separation from her friends.
She decided to commit herself to creating a friendship network herself in her new town.
One day she came up with the idea of inviting some new potential friends to her favorite restaurant for a group dinner. Lila hadn’t been in town very long and she hadn’t developed many contacts, but here were a number of people who she at least knew casually. To her surprise, most of the people whom she invited accepted her invitation, and attended with their families.
Since she hadn’t requested that anyone RSVP, she had no idea who would show up. Fortunately, the restaurant was big enough to accommodate everyone by putting several tables together. At the end of the meal, Lila invited them all back on the following Tuesday at the same time. Most of them showed up along with some new attendees.
Within a few weeks, the Tuesday night dinners became an ongoing gathering that many singles, couples and families included in their regular schedule of events. “It wasn’t just the food and the socializing that brought us together, Lila told us, “but there was something very special that started to happen among those of us who came on a regular basis. We became good friends and shared some really meaningful conversation and connection. It was much more than cocktail party chitchat, much deeper and more personal. Some of the relationships spilled over into the rest of the week, with shared activities and phone calls, but with some people the Tuesday night dinners were sufficient. Everyone was free to participate in whatever way was comfortable for them. Some never miss a meal; others come more intermittently. There are no requirements, and it always works out fine.
“The group has been meeting for several years and shows no signs of letting up. In fact, over the years it’s become increasingly more committed. It’s one of the most important parts of my life, something that I find myself looking forward to every week. Not knowing exactly who is going to be there and what other topics of conversation will emerge just makes it all the more delightful. Others have shared similar sentiments with me as well, and for many of us, having holiday meals together at Thanksgiving and Christmas has become a part of our tradition. I feel closer to some of these people whom I consider to be my family of choice than I do to some of my own blood relatives.
“We’re a motley crew. There are people who are a part of the group who I might not have expected to become close to. We have different political persuasions and varied interests. But those differences don’t seem to matter as much as the commitment that we all have to meet regularly and to invest time and interest in each other. We’ve gone through a lot together, illnesses, losses, prolonged unemployment, marital difficulties, you name it, and at least someone in the group has been through it. Having a wonderful group of friends who know me and accept me makes it easier to go through the hard times.
“I knew that I was going to be able to fly better if I didn’t fly alone, because I need a lot of connection and encouragement to be my best. I’m so glad that I got intentional about finding my flock. I see myself as being a generally happy person. But I really thrive when I have meaningful contact with friends. My quality of life slipped for a while after we moved to town, but all that’s changed now. I am certain that the happiness that I enjoy now is because I feel so much a part of this precious group.”
Linda and Charlie Bloom are excited to announce the release of their third book, Happily Ever After . . . and 39 Other Myths about Love: Breaking Through to the Relationship of Your Dreams.
Praise for Happily Ever After:
“Love experts Linda and Charlie shine a bright light, busting the most common myths about relationships. Using real-life examples, they skillfully, provide effective strategies and tools to create and grow a deeply loving and fulfilling long-term connection.” – Arielle Ford, author of Turn You Mate into Your Soulmate