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A Family of Five
Photo: Jeri Gray
Some of you may be familiar with the place. You may have had a similar experience. After eating lunch at Fernwood Gardens (a botanical garden near Buchanan, Michigan), my husband and I had taken a short walk down to a dock at the water’s edge on the St. Joseph River. As we sat there soaking in the quiet beauty and warmth of the sun, I looked across the water and saw two adult Canada Geese swimming down the river. Between them were three goslings. Talk about synchronized swimmers!

As I marveled in their beauty and the way they swam together, I heard a motor boat approaching from the other direction. The boat was coming so quickly that I was worried it would be upon them before they could swim to safety. Yes, the parents could take off in flight, but not the goslings! I felt a stab of fear as the boat came closer and closer.

The geese were in the middle of a wide stretch of the river. Almost imperceptibly the male, who was in the lead, changed direction and began to swim towards the shore. His family followed.  There was no sense of confusion or anxiety.

As the two parents directed their little ones towards safety, I thought about how it might be if it were a human family. The female might have said, “I take care of these kids more than you do, and I know they swim to the left faster than towards the right.” The parents could have discussed, or even argued, about which parent knew what was right or best. In the meantime, the little ones would have been in jeopardy and all would have lost important time. These parents had a partnership, and together they worked for the good of their family.

As they glided, seemingly so effortlessly, close to the shore and the speed boat passed the geese, it struck me that there was a lesson here. After the family of geese were safely resting under some hanging tree limbs by the shore, my husband and I talked about lessons we could glean from that experience.

This goose family illustrated what I believe God intended for our families. Goose pairs mate for life, and both parents care for their goslings. God’s desire is that husband and wife, mother and father, work together for the good of their children. They are to protect their children from the dangers of this world. I believe those three goslings had no idea of their potential peril.

I invite you to consider other lessons we can learn from Canada Geese and that little family of five.

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By Susan E. Murray. Copyright © 2010 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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