Cooperation In the Community
Understanding others to effectively work with them
To practice Cooperation I will:
- find a way to help
- genuinely listen to others’ opinions and needs
- respect the decisions of my authorities
- pull my share of the load
- see the needs of others as quickly as I see my own
“Effectiveness and Understanding”
-Jill W Tomey
The term ‘Cooperation’ is derived from the two Latin words: ‘Co’ meaning together and ‘opera meaning to work. If you further define work, it is tasks toward a common objective. So, Cooperation is then working together toward a common objective. The Character First definition of ‘Understanding others so I can effectively work with them’ adds two more dimensions of effective work and understanding others. Not only do we work together but we must do work that produces something that we commonly value. Understanding others requires empathy and communication. It requires openness on our part to allow ourselves to be understood by others. This brings cooperative work into a very personal space. Our simple concept of working together just became complicated.
Let us examine Cooperation within the context of a married couple working together to raise a family. What is the common objective? Thinking in terms of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the first objective would be housing, food, clothing then progressing up through the physical needs in the pyramid to emotional needs at the top. It takes communication to define the goals in each of the levels. There is usually much discussion about the objectives within the first levels of the needs. Will we live in the suburbs? Will we be vegan? Is social status a priority? Will the kids be in public school? After that, the discussions typically taper off. When a family has both parents working, kids in school (or remote learning), sports schedules, homework, and school events, all competing for time, the objective begins to be survival. ‘Let us get through this soccer season and our schedule will be better’, or ‘let us just finish this school year and the stress will get better’ becomes a mantra. Unfortunately, the next sport’s season, or summer, or school year is usually just as demanding.
Family life can be efficient with synced calendars and color-coded chore charts but being effective requires another level of thinking and goal setting. “Who do you want your children to be?” is the main question. What Character Qualities will you value, teach, practice, and praise? If these are not specified, then the effectiveness of the family is at the whim of whatever. You may work together and cooperate nicely but without clear objectives, the purpose of the work is fuzzy.
Understanding each other should be a family’s strong suit when compared to other groups working together. The connection to each other that is built from living together is a good foundation for Cooperation. With understanding comes deeper commitment, trust and more willingness to Cooperate with each other for the good of the family.
This month, how will you use effectiveness and understanding to practice Cooperation?