Wisdom of the GeeseLooking overhead while on the seventh grade field trip to Frost Valley, I was reminded of a unique phenomenon that occurs each fall and spring. Much to the chagrin of many golf clubs, the Canada Goose annually flies in formation north, or south, depending on the seasonal change. Regardless of the direction, it is clear that their tell-tale V formation is deliberate and used almost exclusively by every flock travelling long distances. The first question is: why? After a little research I learned the following things about “goose” travel.
• As each goose flaps its wings, it creates "uplift" for the birds following. By flying in a "V" formation the whole flock adds 71% more flying range than if each bird flew alone.
• 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 group effort.
• When a lead goose gets tired of cutting the wind for those that follow, it drops back into formation and lets another goose fly in to take its turn leading.
• The geese that follow in formation honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.
• When a goose gets sick, wounded or shot, two geese drop out of formation and follow their fellow member, to help and provide protection. They stay with this member of the flock until he or she either is able to fly again or dies. Then they launch out on their own, with another formation, or to catch up with their own flock.
The second question is: What do geese have to do with Tuxedo Park School? While it seems somewhat “downhill” following Spring Break, significant time remains in the school year and it is a great opportunity for us to reaffirm the things that make this community rare and special. With a little help from the geese, I have highlighted what I believe are the hallmarks of Tuxedo Park School.
At Tuxedo Park School:
• People share a common direction and sense of community, and are able to get where they are going faster and more easily because they are traveling on the forward momentum of each other.
• We have learned that individuals are capable of great things, but shared tasks often provide opportunities for the greatest successes and offer considerably less resistance.
• We take turns sharing the difficult tasks of leadership. We learn to ask for help when we need it, and in doing so, reveal strength--not weakness.
• Encouragement is always the best means of increasing forward momentum.
• Like the geese, we stand by one another when needed.