Our TrueNorth staff had a “Staff Funday” last week as we rented tandem kayaks and floated down the Augusta Canal together. When we began floating down the canal, I watched all along the edges as turtles came up out of the water and began stacking themselves on top of each other. I knew there had to be a specific reason for what seemed to be strange behavior,

After doing some research I learned that turtles stack to get more warmth and UVB rays from the sun. A good basking spot is considered as high as possible with no shadow. Often, there are not enough basking spots, so turtles will stack to make up for the lack of available spaces. Their goal, of course, is to get closer to the sun by cooperating.

Forming stacks is evidence the turtles know that in order to get the UVB rays they need, they will have to work together. When another turtle tries to climb the stack, they simply let them. They also don’t worry about their position in the stack, because each position has its advantages.

There are some valuable lessons we can learn from turtles about teamwork.

First, we need each other. It doesn’t matter whether we’re at work, in a family, a marriage, a sports team, or a club – we need each other. The point of having a team is to accomplish what can’t be done by one person alone. Each person matters to the project, the game, or the relationship, just as each turtle is needed to stack rather than bask in the sun alone. Their warmth is achieved by working together.

Second, no position is better than another.  Turtles don’t fight each other for the top position. In a team, each position matters, the person who makes the winning shot and the person who assists by giving them the ball are both critically important. The person presenting the project and the one working on the details behind the scenes are both significant to achieving the desired goal.

Third, each position deserves the chance to feel recognition and praise for their part on the team. Turtles do not worry about their position in the stack. In a team, sometimes the most important thing we can do is to humble ourselves and allow someone else to have the glory.

The Bible affirms the turtle stacking mentality in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12:

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

Two are better than one because working together allows everybody to win! During our canal adventure each kayak pair had to row together to get to their final destination across Lake Olmstead. Let’s be more like turtles and work in harmony to accomplish greater goals together.