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Lessons We Can Learn from Those Geese

What geese can teach us

Who would have thought we could learn so much from geese?

The mission of the Eastern Province of the Congregation of the Mission is working together to be Good News to those who are on the margins of society. It might be surprising to learn how much food for thought and action this prayer (below) provides for all who are in any way associated with this mission.

The next time you watch a flock of geese, pause for a moment — think about how they teach us

  • To have a common direction and sense of community
  • To stay with those who are headed where we want to go
  • To be willing to accept help, as well as give help
  • To take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership
  • To make sure our honking from behind is encouraging
  • To stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we are strong

The Prayer

Leader: As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird following. Flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than if the bird flew alone.

All: The Lesson: People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they’re going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.

Leader:   Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to fly alone, and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front.

All: The Lesson: 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 will be willing to accept their help as well as to give ours to the others.

Leader: When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back into formation, and another goose flies at the point position.

All: The Lesson: It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing the leadership. If we have as much sense as a goose, we will remember that we are indeed inter-dependent on each other.

Leader: The geese in formation honk from behind to encourage those in front to keep up their speed.

All:  The Lesson: We need to make sure our honking from behind is encouraging.

Leader: When a goose gets sick or 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 they catch up with the flock.

All: The Lesson: If we have as much sense as a goose, we too will stand by each other in difficult times, as well as when we are strong.

Together: Lord, we ask you to give us the grace:

To have a common direction and sense of community.

To stay with those who are headed where we want to go.

To be willing to accept help, as well as give help.

To take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership.

To make sure our honking from behind is encouraging.

To stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we are strong.

And to have as much sense as a goose. Amen

Bonus question: Might there also be a lesson about learning from the irritants in our lives?

P.S. Various versions of the prayer are all over the web. There are even some really fine video versions.

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