geese

Many people consider wild geese as nuisances if not pests. Living in a lake environment, I have become enamored with these water fowls. They can teach us humans a lot. Here are a few interesting and edifying things about geese that put some of us to shame, especially us men.

Several times a day, a monogamous goose couple swoop into our yard and feed on the seeds dropped from our bird feeder by a variety of careless birds. The ritual is always the same. The female–usually the smaller of the two–begins instantly pecking the ground for scattered seeds almost before her wings fold. But Mr. Goose, not so fast. He immediately stretches his neck pivoting his head in every direction looking for potential predators. He continues vigilance until Mrs. Goose has had ample time to feast on the left-over seeds. Then he alternates pecking and checking every few seconds. In the goose world, consistent with most of the animal kingdom, the male naturally assumes the security and protection role. This is a lesson for all of us men, compliments of God.

Did you catch the first sentence of the paragraph above? Geese are monogamous and life-long mates. Two young-adult geese become attracted to each other, and from their first brood, they stay faithful to each other until death. If one becomes sick or injured, the other will not follow their flock in seasonal migration but will stay by the side of their mate. Like every couple should, they share responsibilities. If they migrate each season, the gander decides where they winter in the south, and the goose (female) decides where they nest in the north. When they nest, the husband-goose gathers most of the materials for the nest, and the wife-goose arranges them to her liking. The male does the heavy lifting, while the female does the nurturing. After the eggs are laid, the female sits comfortably on them while the male beds down on the ground at a distance facing the most vulnerable approach. This is a lesson for all of us men, compliments of God.

When the goslings are hatched, the daddy takes on a major role in their development. He always leads the way over land and water to a safe feeding and learning location. If one strays, it is he who goes after the wanderer and herds it back to the gaggle. The gander will not allow his family to socialize with large flocks of other geese which he considers a potential threat until his goslings are almost adults. If a stray gander gets close to his kids, the daddy gander can become vicious toward the intruder. This possessive protectionist character is a threat to any other animal, including humans. Getting between a gander and his goslings is a horrific experience. Fathers, take note. This is a lesson for all of us men, compliments of God.

God gives humans myriad learning examples in his miracles of nature. His avian creation of geese demonstrates a natural behavior expected of His ultimate creation–you and me. What else do you see in geese, particularly the ganders, that is instructive for us?