Lessons learned from geese

Imperial Valley Press - - OPINION - RON GRIF­FEN

Th­ese past few weeks I have no­ticed a trend in the con­ver­sa­tions I’ve had with friends and neigh­bors. A sense of de­spair hangs in the air as we talk about the hur­ri­canes, fires, shoot­ings, dys­func­tion in our na­tion’s cap­i­tal, even the pol­i­tics that have im­pacted the NFL.

Speak­ing of foot­ball, I have this im­age of the late Vince Lom­bardi stalk­ing the side­line in a game, yelling out to his team who ap­par­ently aren’t do­ing very well, and shout­ing, “What the hell’s go­ing on out there!?”

It is in­deed a time when many folks are ask­ing that same ques­tion.

And yet. I’m re­minded there have been times such as th­ese in which the peo­ple of the Bi­ble faced un­cer­tainty, rais­ing doubts about their faith and their fu­ture. Ex­ile. Good Fri­day. Per­se­cu­tion. The story of Job.

And through it all, an­other theme emerges. One of hope, as­sur­ance, courage. God never gives up on us. Even when we thor­oughly mess things up. And God finds so many dif­fer­ent ways to re­mind us how to be the peo­ple God in­tended us to be.

Even ways that don’t seem that ob­vi­ous, but are right in front of us. If we just take the time to think about them.

Take geese, for ex­am­ple. This time of year I love watch­ing them make their way South. In­stinc­tively. Faith­fully. Have you ever thought about how geese travel? Dr. Robert McNeisch did. He was a sci­ence teacher in the Bal­ti­more area. He was also a man of faith. He saw in geese a metaphor for hu­man liv­ing, how God wanted us to live. Through good times and bad. How we might move from de­spair to hope. And he shared his thoughts in a ser­mon he gave at his church in 1972. Maybe you’ve heard this be­fore, but like a lot of things we’ve heard be­fore we some­times need to be re­minded of them once in a while.

This is what he shared.

Geese fly in a V for­ma­tion, right? Well, it turns out that by flap­ping their wings the lead­ers cre­ate an up­lift for the fol­low­ers, and their range of flight is ex­tended by a whop­ping 71 per­cent. We were meant to work to­gether, and work­ing to­gether makes things eas­ier for all.

If one goose falls out of the for­ma­tion, they soon re­al­ize how much more work they are do­ing to get where they are go­ing. And they join back in with the group. The sen­si­bil­ity of geese can teach us about the value of com­mu­nity. Even the Lone Ranger had a part­ner.

When the lead geese tire they move to the back so oth­ers can take their turn at lift­ing cup the group. Lead­er­ship is a shared ac­tiv­ity. A shared re­spon­si­bil­ity.

If a goose is in­jured or wounded or shot down, two oth­ers fol­low their fel­low mem­ber down and stay with them as pro­tec­tion un­til he or she ei­ther flies again or dies. Then they con­tinue their jour­ney with an­other flock or catch up on their own. You see, we’re all in this life’s jour­ney to­gether. No one should be left alone. Or left out.

Fi­nally, the geese in the back of the for­ma­tion con­stantly honk en­cour­age­ment so that the lead­ers up front main­tain their speed. They honk en­cour­age­ment. We need to make sure our honk­ing is en­cour­ag­ing, not some­thing else.

So there it is. Lessons we can learn from geese. Who knew?!

Well, now you know. And now it’s up to you. Let’s get out there and fly! Honk, honk!

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.