Periodically, I will see and hear geese fly over our home. As always they are flying in the ‘V’ formation. They fly in the “V” formation for several reasons. One they fly this way to conserve energy. Each bird flies slightly above the one in front of him. They also take turns of who will be in the front so as one gets tired they can fall back. By flying in this formation, they are also able to keep track of one another.
Along with that philosophy, our military aircraft fly the same way. You will see them flying in a “V” formation in military missions. One of the reasons they fly in this formation is to improve fuel efficiency of the aircraft.
When I worked in the Special Education Department of one of our local schools, the teacher I worked with always started the year out with sharing about how and why geese fly in the “V” formation. She would share this story because our classroom operated under the same principle of the geese flying in a “V”. In other words, our group was a team from the teacher to the assistants to the students. We took turns leading (this included the students), we knew when one was tired who could step up and help and each member of the class knew where the other was at all times as well knew when to jump in and help their peers.
Until a week ago, I had not thought about this technique in quite a while. Then, our minister shared the philosophy of the flying “V” in his message in regards to stewardship. We were reminded how we are all a part of a group that is to help one another and to lift each other up.
Each one of us are born into a family. This is a fact. Some may have been born into one family but adopted/raised by another. The types of families and homes are so varied especially in the 21st Century. These varied families have different ways of how they operate, they have different rules and expectations in their homes.
Jim and I will be celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary this Fall. Over the years, we have had to learn how to fly together. Our learning how to fly together started when we were dating. If you are not familiar with our story, Jim and I met while working on summer staff at Lake Junaluska, NC. I was from Georgia and he was from Kentucky. As we began to date, Jim’s words were; ” I want to date you while we are here this summer but after that, you will go back to Georgia and I will go back to Kentucky. Long distance relationships just don’t last.” Well, for almost 32 years, Jim has been choking on those words. A good example of “never say never!”
What happened to make Jim swallow his words? The answer is simple. From day one, we learned how to fly together. Yes, there were and still are times of trial and error but non the less we learned to fly and fly together. We work together day end and day out on making sure the other’s needs are met. Both of us know that when the other is tired the other needs to move to the front and take the lead.
Not only did we have to learn to fly together as a couple. But we had to learn how to line up the other geese in our lives. These geese being our families, and our son, Drew when he was born. Jim and I knew that when we married, we married not only each other but we married each other’s family. In other words, Jim’s family became my family and my family became Jim’s family. When you compile these two families together, there are a lot of geese to coördinate in order to fly in formation.
Okay, you ask how do the Hawkins’ fly? When putting our ‘V’ formation together, we have to look at a big picture. We look at who is free at what time, who can do what at what time and we diligently make sure that each side of the family gets some sort of quality time. For us, quality outweighs the quantity.
For example, when Drew was growing up, my parents would come up and pick Drew up and usually took him on a two to three-week summer vacation of some sort with them. Now, you may ask; “was fair to Jim’s family?” The answer to that question is; “yes.” Why? You see, Jim’s parents live two hours away from us. My family is a good six hours drive when traffic is good. Jim’s parents got a lot of extended weekends when Drew would have days off at school where it would be impossible to make a trip to Georgia. We also made sure Drew got a week in here and there throughout the summer. It just wasn’t all at once like with my parents. It is just what worked best for each family.
In forming our formation of the flying “V”, Jim and I knew that each set of parents would and do play a significant role in Drew’s life in their own unique way. It was important to us that he have a relationship with both sets of grandparents. It is through time with his grandparents that Drew learned more about who he was/is, his heritage and he had opportunity to hear stories that he would some day share with his family.
Drew is now married. When he married, we told him that he would have to learn to get his own ‘V’ formation in order. Jim shared with Drew not only would he be marrying Megan but he would also acquire a whole new family and Megan would be not just marrying Drew but she would gain a family who would and does love her dearly. Jim and I also told Drew that as he lined up his ‘V” formation, that we would fall into place where he needed us. Drew is now the head of his own household and he knows what works best and the needs of his family better than we do. It is not for us to tell him how to fly his “V”. We will fly with him by lifting Megan and him up and encouraging them . We told him we will do our best to know when we need to jump in and help and know when to stand back and do nothing until we are asked to help.
If you were to be a fly on the wall in our home and watched us coördinate an event/holiday with either side and sometimes both sides of the family, you would think we were writing up a battle plan. It is not a battle plan per say but it is strategically lining up our ‘V” so that we can accomplish the mission/task at hand. And, that mission is to insure that we are aware of the needs of each person involved and each one is taken care of. Just like the military aircraft, Jim and I want to be as fuel-efficient with the geese that are in our “V” formation. So, that’ s how we fly!
How do you fly?
1 Thessalonians 5:10-12
New International Version (NIV)
10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
- God’s Protection Plan….(continuation of living on a prayer) (aprilhawk.wordpress.com)
- Chili Dogs and Bullets. Just a Day at the Office. (aprilhawk.wordpress.com)
- Lessons from the geese. (quimuthua.wordpress.com)