Improving Military Life: Lessons From The Geese…

by Judy Davis on February 26, 2013

MB900406950 150x150 support system stress relief strength resilience milspouse military life Direction Moment:  Take a lesson from geese…Learn to “fly” in a “V-formation”

I don’t know about you but every now and then I think that I have be  able to handle and do everything on my own.  Whatever the reason, I have moments where thoughts run through my head like “You should be able to do this”, “Whats wrong with you, this is easy for everyone else”, “Don’t ask for help they will think you can’t do it”…..and maybe you have felt this way too.

It’s like if I can’t be “Military Super Spouse” that I’m doing something less that what I should be able to do.  Like you, I have lots on my plate, and with the preparation of launching the event portion of my business, I find myself saying “I Should be able to do this on my own” more and more.

But when I read the story about how and why geese fly in that “V-formation” I realized that I could learn a lot from these feathered creatures. They work together to reach a personal goal, and are able to reach them quicker because they have a “team” cheering them on and supporting them along the way.  Geese work together, pick up the slack and lift each other up. And frankly, we could use a little more of that in this community.

As you read this story, think about how much stronger we could be if we applied these facts and lessons to our interactions with those in the military community.  How would things be different in your life?

The Story of The Geese 

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

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

Fact: Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go through it alone. It quickly gets back into the formation to take advantage of the ‘lifting’ power of the bird in front of it.

Lesson: If we have as much common sense as a goose, we will stay in formation and share information with those who are headed the way we want to go. We should be willing to accept their help and give our help to others. It is harder to do something alone than together!  

Fact: When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back into the formation. Another goose takes over and flies to the point position.  

Lesson: It is sensible to take turns to do the hard and demanding tasks. It pays to share leadership. As with geese, people are interdependent on each other’s skills, capabilities, and unique arrangements of gifts, talents, or resources.

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 – Words of support and inspiration help energize those on the front line, helping them to keep pace in spite of the day-to-day pressures and fatigue. In groups where there is encouragement, the production is much greater.

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.  

Lesson: People who are part of a team and share a common direction as well as a sense of community can get where they are going more quickly and easily because they are traveling on the thrust of one another and lift each other up along the way.

Fact: 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 ! The next time you see a formation of geese, remember …

It is a REWARD, a CHALLENGE and a PRIVILEGE to be a CONTRIBUTING MEMBER of a TEAM!

I just love this philosophy and how it applies to everyday life. Wouldn’t we accomplish more, get farther and have a lot more fun along the way if we did like the geese and flew together toward our destination?

Military spouses are resilient, but we are also a gaggle that thinks we “should” be able to do it on our own. We worry about what others might think if we are “sick or weak”, we stress about what could happen if we get too tired, and we wonder if someone will really pick up the slack or just let us fall out.

We’re tough and we are strong but in being all these things, we miss out on the magic of being part of a team.  A team that is encouraging, supportive and helps us soar. A team that shares our passion and helps us along the way.

I believe that if military spouses learned the “Geese Lessons” and applied them to our lives, we would be able to accomplish so much more. We’d create an unstoppable force and create real change allowing every one of us to reach new heights.

I’d love to be like the geese, wouldn’t you?

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Veronica Jorden

Wonderful article! Who knew a flock of geese could teach us so much? I fully intend to adopt this line of thinking…from now on I’m a goose! :) Now, all I need to do is let the rest of my fellow MilSpouses know that they are part of the flock!

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2 Judy Davis - The Direction Diva

Glad you liked it Veronica and I’m with you on spreading our wings and letting our milspouses know we can all fly together!! Happy Tuesday!

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