(#20) DOLPHIN SAYS: “Cooperate With Others”

“Great discoveries and improvements invariably involve the cooperation of many minds. I may be given credit for having blazed the trail, but when I look at the subsequent developments I feel the credit is due to others rather than to myself.”—Alexander Graham Bell“We all do better when we work together. Our differences do matter, but our common humanity matters more.” ― Bill Clinton

I’m continually amazed and delighted whenever I come across stories of how we human beings can work together, how we’re able to put aside perceived differences and collaborate for the greater good. Here in Laguna Beach there are a handful of community gardens, plots of land where some residents of the city have come together to create a bounty of vegetables that are in turn shared with one another and the rest of the community. When the downtown area was flooded just a few short years ago, many came together to clean up the debris and mud that had piled up on a main stretch of Pacific Coast Highway.

There are many more tales of how we cooperate to either get things done or help each other out after a crisis. We’re rapidly moving into an era that will require greater cooperation amongst us human beings if we are to resolve the critical issues that are facing us. Our western society is so steeped in the value of competition that it requires a complete revision of our thinking, values, and attitudes, both individually and collectively.

Bruce Lipton, author of Biology of Belief, states, “. . . you are in truth a cooperative community of approximately fifty trillion single-celled citizens. Almost all of the cells that make up your body are amoeba-like, individual organisms that have evolved a cooperative strategy for their mutual survival.” This is but one example of how, even at the cellular level, cooperation is innate and serves the survival of the human being.

Dolphins are excellent models of cooperative behavior. They work together as a pod to gather fish for their meals, and also have been known to help stranded boats and swimmers. So it’s no surprise that Dolphin spirit would be the one to promote the value of cooperation in the Children’s Spirit Animal Cards. Following is the message from Dolphin for children in the guidebook that accompanies the cards:

I’m sure there are times when you need a little help from your parents or your friends, and just the same, there are times when dolphinsomeone needs your help. Offering to help or asking someone if they need help can make you feel good. It’s an act of kindness and often leads to the same kinds of favors being returned to you. It’s particularly rewarding when you are part of a group that is helping each other out, such as in team sports like soccer, but it doesn’t have to be only at those times or in those places.

Right now it’s an important time to cooperate with others in getting things done. Cooperate means to operate together. For instance, when you’re playing a game with friends, taking turns and trying to be as fair as possible with everyone, including yourself. You can help your parents out too by asking them how you can help. See what happens when you use teamwork to play or to get things done. It makes it easier and more fun for everyone!

As with the other cards in this deck, there are ideas for things to do that will support the idea of cooperating with others.

* Help out a friend who is troubled or is having a problem.
* Whenever your parents tell you what to do, cooperate with them.
* Whenever you have a disagreement or even a fight, try to work things out by finding a solution that will work for everyone by compromising.
* In any teamwork, do your best to play fair and get along with others

And as well, along with ideas as to how parents can help their children use these cards, there are suggestions for parents as to how to implement

* When fights break out with siblings or friends, guide them in finding a solution that works for everyone.
* Ask for your child’s help with things that are within the scope of their developmental capabilities and when they do help, thank them.
* With you child in the room, tell someone else about how they helped you out.
* Let your child see you cooperating with other people.

As is the case for “peace begins with me,” so it is true with cooperation. By incorporating this as a priority, modeling it, and encouraging this with your children, there is great promise that we can evolve to a kinder, more compassionate world.

The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation.” —Bertrand Russell

“You must cultivate unity, cooperation and mutual trust.”—Sri Sarhya Sai Baba

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