Do YOU have the Sense of a Goose?

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Reflections: edited reposting

Click HERE for Part One: ABOUT Values and the Goose Story

A wonderful model for living

In 1994 I founded The Optimal Functioning Institute™ – the company that presented the world’s first comprehensive ADD-specific coaching curriculum, and the only one for many years (OFI’s certification compliant A.C.T.), a curriculum I developed and delivered personally for years.

OFI was founded according to the principles that Dr. Harry Clarke Noyes articulates in The Goose Story, an extremely short free-verse poem (below) about the importance of community.

For well over a decade it was featured prominently on my first website,, built to focus on promoting the existence of ADD Coaching and the importance of brain-based, ADD-specific, Coach Training — and one of the first ADD sites on the web.

I first shared it here on in 2011. Over the years, it has become a touchstone and a talisman for myself and, I hope, many of the students who trained with me.

In The Goose Story, Noyes compares and contrasts human behaviors to those of a flock of geese, starting with an impressive explanation as to why you always see them flying in V-formation.

The reason I was so taken with this story is a story of its own: how I became aware of the importance of a strong personal foundation and of values-based goals.

After my recent three-part empathy story [Part I here], which you’ll also find in the Related Contents at the bottom of this post, I decided it was time to share it again with many new readers who might never have seen it.

Part I of this post attempts to give you a little bit of background.
This post shares Noyes’ wise words.

The Goose Story
by Dr. Harry Clarke Noyes

Next fall,
when you see Geese
heading South for the Winter,
flying along in V formation,
you might consider
what science has discovered
as to why they fly that way:

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As each bird flaps its wings,
it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following.

By flying in V formation the whole flock adds at least
71% greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.

People who share a common direction and
sense of community
can get where they are going
more quickly and easily
because they
are traveling on the thrust of one another.

When 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 in front.

If we have as much sense as a goose,
we will stay in formation with
those who are headed the same way we are.

When the Head Goose gets tired,
it rotates back in the wing
and another goose flies point.

It is sensible to take turns doing demanding jobs
with people or with geese flying South.

Geese honk from behind
to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

What do we say when we honk from behind?

Finally, and this is important,
when a goose gets sick,
or is wounded by gunshots and falls out of formation,
two other geese fall out with that goose
and follow it down to lend help and protection.

They stay with the fallen goose until it is able to fly,
or until it dies.

Only then do they launch out on their own,
or with another formation
to catch up with their group.



attributed to Dr. Harry Clarke Noyes in
ARCS NEWS, Vol. 7, No. 1, January 1992

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About Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC
Award-winning ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching field co-founder; [life] Coaching pioneer -- Neurodiversity Advocate, Coach, Mentor & Poster Girl -- Multi-Certified -- 25 years working with EFD [Executive Functioning disorders] and struggles in hundreds of people from all walks of life. I developed and delivered the world's first ADD-specific coach training curriculum: multi-year, brain-based, and ICF Certification tracked. In addition to my expertise in ADD/EF Systems Development Coaching, I am known for training and mentoring globally well-informed ADD Coach LEADERS with the vision to innovate, many of the most visible, knowledgeable and successful ADD Coaches in the field today (several of whom now deliver highly visible ADD coach trainings themselves). For almost a decade, I personally sponsored and facilitated seven monthly, virtual and global, no-charge support and information groups The ADD Hours™ - including The ADD Expert Speakers Series, hosting well-known ADD Professionals who were generous with their information and expertise, joining me in my belief that "It takes a village to educate a world." I am committed to being a thorn in the side of ADD-ignorance in service of changing the way neurodiversity is thought about and treated - seeing "a world that works for everyone" in my lifetime. Get in touch when you're ready to have a life that works BECAUSE of who you are, building on strengths to step off that frustrating treadmill "when 'wanting to' just doesn't get it DONE!"

128 Responses to Do YOU have the Sense of a Goose?

  1. Lucy Brazier says:

    I definitely have a sense of goose! This is just lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. swamiyesudas says:

    Reblogged this on lovehappinessandpeace and commented:

    “By flying in V formation the whole flock adds at least
    71% greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.

    People who share a common direction and
    sense of community can get where they are going
    more quickly and easily because they
    are traveling on the thrust of one another.”
    (From Madelyn’s post)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful post, Madelyn. All the best to Harry too. Mega hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. colonialist says:

    A great analogy. Geese do these things without even thinking about them. Humans think about them but still don’t do them. Which is the more stupid species?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wendy says:

    Let’s flock together. I like that.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A lovely story Madelyn. It symbolises to me what life is about. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Mary Smith says:

    Brilliant post and story. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    I believe that community is vital to our survival and feel that this is almost as effective online as it is in person. And in fact as the generations roll out behind us it will be come equally so. Particularly as our reach is now worldwide and we can take support and knowledge from a much wider level of experience. I do recommend that you read this post because Madelyn Griffith-Haynie illustrates this elegantly and succinctly.. #recommended

    Liked by 1 person

  9. dgkaye says:

    Loved the goose tale. Life in the skies is so comparable to ours. 🙂 xx

    Liked by 1 person

  10. noelleg44 says:

    What a great poem. How isit that animals can be so much smarter than we are?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Great things happen when we pull together… 🙂 Wonderful post Madelyn.. May we all keep flying in Unity and keep our headings in the same direction… As we all open our hearts to one another…
    Love and Blessings
    Sue ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  12. John Fioravanti says:

    Reblogged this on Words To Captivate ~ by John Fioravanti and commented:
    Madelyn Griffith-Haynie gifts us with a poem called The Goose Story. After the poem, we are given a valuable lesson in living. Please, don’t miss this and read on…

    Liked by 1 person

  13. That is the thinking this world actually needs, thank you for sharing such insightful, thought-provoking post! I wish more and more people followed with this sensibility, cos’ the only way humanity can win is by being together, strengthening each other.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Chuck says:

    Hi Madelyn,
    😉 I got it right this time.
    Each time I visit, I learn more and witness the empathy you have those that suffer. I had heard about the Geese and their flight. However, never say it used as an analogy before. Great Post

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Bernadette says:

    That is amazing. I will never look up at that formation the same way again.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Reblogged this on Kate McClelland and commented:
    good analogy

    Liked by 1 person

  17. That is fantastic. I think I’m a goose closer to the back working towards being closer to the front. Building strength. Maybe. Cheers,H

    Liked by 1 person

  18. ghostmmnc says:

    That was a great poem, and we should all learn from the geese. We have a playa lake right by the house, where the Canada geese winter over. I love watching them fly in their formations and hear them honking. This poem did answer some questions I had about them. 🙂 Wishing you a lovely week.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. mistermuse says:

    So much for that old expression about going on a wild goose chase! It’s geese who know what they’re doing, and it’s humans who often go on what would be better called a “wild PEOPLE chase.”

    Liked by 1 person

  20. -Eugenia says:

    This is most interesting, Madelyn. Humans can learn a lot from geese, can’t they? In fact, humans can learn a lot from animals and nature. We bring a lot of issues on ourselves. Outstanding post – reblogging.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Amazing Goose wisdom! I love it. We have so much to learn from animals and nature. It pains me that we don’t listen.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. This is such a wonderful reminder to us Madelyn. Thank you. Touching story and one that always brings us back to the basics of fellowship.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. colinandray says:

    Love the goose analogy. We share our environment here with a lot (a REAL lot) of Canada Geese. They will never look the same now! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Smita Ray says:

    Appropriate message to be passed on to the world that insist upon fragments. 👍

    Liked by 1 person

  25. that’s a very good example how people roll ;o) and it reminds me of my math teacher who said I’m like those big berds, whose feathers we use for pillows… so I’m probably a goose in many ways :o)


    • Tink’s favorite pillows are goose down – because he can squirm around and make a nest before he lies down. I ran into an amazing close-out sale at a Big Lots many years ago, so I picked up quite a few for dog beds when I had three Shih Tzus. Now that I have only one, Tink gets them all.


  26. IF WE HAVE THE SENSE OF A GOOSE, WE WILL STAND BY EACH OTHER LIKE THAT! This is the reality, Madelyn that says all in your awesome poem. We need to learn from these beautiful geese how we need to live and support each and everyone of our Human beings and a community that stays together lasts longer. I had never heard anything like that about these birds. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. CalicoJack says:

    Howdy Madelyn!

    Great story. We’re stronger together, aren’t we? Hm… where have I heard that before?


    Liked by 2 people

  28. Thank you for sharing this, Madelyn. I makes so much sense. Sadly, there are a lot of humans that don’t subscribe to this sort of thinking and they are often the ones that cause all the problems for the rest of us.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for letting me know you like it, Robbie. Sad indeed, especially for them, it is true that there are many who probably never will choose to subscribe to this sort of thinking – but we don’t have to join them, do we?

      And a lot of us don’t – especially those of us who blog. I think we are a pretty encouraging bunch – amazingly so, actually. And thank you, Robbie, for your support and encouragement.

      Liked by 1 person

  29. Pingback: Do YOU Have The Sense Of A Goose? – The Militant Negro™

  30. Mr. Militant Negro says:

    Reblogged this on The Militant Negro™.

    Liked by 2 people

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