1999-11-27 / Letters

Lessons From The Geese

Dear Editor;

Several days ago I received a bulletin from the Chamber of Commerce in my hometown in Minnesota and this article caught my eye. It was originally written by Angeles Arrien and it seemed so very appropriate to Rockaway civics. As we are often aware of the honking geese overhead, perhaps we should stop and think about the following:

This fall, when you see geese heading south for the winter flying along in V formation, you might consider what science has discovered as to why they fly that way.

Fact: As each bird flaps his wings, it creates an "uplift" for the bird immediately following. By flying in a V formation the whole flock has at least a 71 percent greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.

Lesson: People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going more quickly and easily because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.

Fact: The geese flying in formation honk from behind 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 production is much greater. The power of encouragement (to stand by one’s heart or core values of others) is the quality of honking we seek. We need to make sure our honking is encouraging and not discouraging.

Fact: When a goose gets sick, wounded or shot down, two other geese will drop out of formation with that goose and follow it down to lend help and protection. They stay with the fallen goose until it dies or is able to fly again. Then they launch out on their own or with another formation to catch up with their flock.

Lesson: If we have the sense of a goose, we will stand by our colleagues and each other in difficult times as well as in good.

LIZ SULIK

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