This morning in assembly I talked with the children about pink-footed geese.
In the Autumn of each year, tens of thousands of pink-footed geese, in V-shape formation, arrive in the skies above Loch Leven at the end of their arduous journey of over a thousand miles from their summer breeding grounds in Iceland. Tucked in behind one another's wings, they each benefit from the drag of the goose in front. This way the flock preserves their energy and, overall, uses 71% less energy than flying alone. It is clear that by working as a team and heading in the same direction, so much more can be accomplished. Equally, each goose that leaves the formation feels the full effect of the wind resistance and faces the challenge of being alone. Those that do leave the flock soon return and take up their position once more.
The lead goose at the head of the formation takes its turn then, when tired, peels off and tucks in behind the formation to rest and recover. Over the course of the journey each goose will take their turn at the front and their turn to carry the burden for the flock. While they do so, those geese behind quack to encourage the leader and to help to fine tune the speed of the formation. When a goose gets injured or is too sick or tired to keep up the pace, they fall out of the formation but are soon joined by other geese who will guard and protect them until they have recovered, reached their destination or have perhaps died.
There are many lessons which can be learnt from the migratory lives of geese. For me, though, the simple truth that we are stronger together is enough. Together we can achieve so much more than we can on our own. So I discussed with the children this morning the truth that part of growing up is to find your ‘V’, those who we can shelter behind, those who we are prepared to make the effort on the front for and those who will have our shoulder when the challenging times appear.
I hope that you have found your ‘V’...
John F Gilmour