Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting—over and over announcing your place in the family of things. –Mary Oliver
Many years ago, I read a book entitled, “Gung Ho!” by Ken Blanchard. It was a book about leadership which the company who had just hired me suggested all new associates read. Blanchard, in his book, gleans wisdom for leadership observing animals that work in groups. I remember his analysis of squirrels putting away food for the winter and beavers building a dam. What is most memorable to me is his analysis of geese.
Last weekend, at the Southern Illinois Women’s Retreat, we were asked if we were an animal which animal would we want to be. Nearly all the women named a type of bird. All the women said they wanted to be able to fly. I wondered if it had anything to do with the Biblical imagery of being carried on eagles’ wings by God or the winged cherubim and seraphim.
I said I wanted to be a goose, based on Blanchard’s telling of their flight. Blanchard noted that, as geese fly south for the winter, they do so in a V-formation. There is always a leader; however, the leader is not always the same. One goose will lead for awhile – then, he will drop to the back and allow another goose to lead. This rotation of leadership happens throughout their travel to warmer weather. And, you might recall that geese honk a lot encouraging one another in flight. Above the shared leadership, I appreciate a sick goose. If one goose becomes unable to fly for any reason, 2 geese will stay behind with it, as the rest of the flock moves on. The 2 geese stay with the sick goose until it is able to fly again. The 3 then join another flock.
Geese provide an excellent example of leadership, whether at work or in our personal life or in our life within the church. One goose could not give the lesson – only a flock. Share leadership, encourage one another and take care of one another.
May you find your inner goose,