Today’s Platform address is about War. We usually think that the opposite of war is peace, but I think that the opposite of war is also cooperation: cooperation between people and nations. This made me think of a story that I heard years ago. It’s called “The Story of the Geese” and it goes something like this:
Next autumn, when you see geese heading south for the winter, flying in their familiar V formation, you might be interested in knowing why they fly that way. Science has learned that, as each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately behind it.
By flying in a V formation, the entire flock increases its flight efficiency by 71% compared to just one bird flying alone.
People and nations who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.
Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front.
If people and nations had as much sense as a goose, they would stay in formation with those who are heading in the same direction as they are. There is strength in numbers. It is easier to reach the goal, and everyone will be inclined to accept and provide help.
When the lead goose gets tired, it goes to the end of the V formation; while another goose moves to the front.
It pays to take turns doing hard jobs. In order to share leadership, there must be mutual respect between everyone involved at all times. As people and nations share the hardest problems and tasks, as they gather their abilities and combine their gifts, talents and resources, everyone wins.
The geese from behind honk constantly, as you’ve no doubt heard whenever a flock passes overhead. They do this to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.
An encouraging word goes a long way, but everyone needs to be careful what they say when they “honk” from behind. When there is encouragement, the progress is greater. A timely word of encouragement always motivates; it helps and strengthens everyone, and it definitely produces the best results.
Finally, when a goose gets sick, or is wounded by gunshot, and falls out, two geese fall out of the formation and follow him down to help and protect him. They stay with him until he is either able to fly or until he is dead, and then they launch out on their own or with another formation until they catch up with their own group.
If all people and nations had the sense of a goose, they would stand by each other, protect one another and sometimes make new friends who seem to be going in the same direction.
When everyone unites, people and nations can accomplish much more than they could alone. Joining together creates a force that can make positive change, support a worthy cause and discover the unknown–the possibilities are endless. Not only does everyone feel connected to each other, but they also feel stronger, more harmonious and uplifted. Feeling a part of something greater than ourselves is an experience meant for everyone.