How About Some Cooperation?
Wednesday - October 14, 2009
I’m a glass-half-full kind of gal. It’s a good mindset to have, especially when everything around you is going to hell. That positivity has been useful. Sometimes it annoys other folks who think it’s stupid and shallow, but I don’t let that bother me. Negativity just feels bad, and who likes feeling bad? Not me.
That said, I’m also a realist. I know that just having a positive attitude isn’t enough to cure the world’s ills or that crisis staring you down at home. After all, when problems reach a critical point, they won’t get resolved unless you have the wherewithal to move things in the right direction. You actually have to work a little. You must have real desire to solve a problem. Then you have to take real action.
If your problem is with other people, a lot of times you will need to make use of a little skill most of us learned back in kindergarten or preschool: the delicate art of cooperation. It’s delicate because it’s hard. And when I say “most people” learned it, it’s because I’m well-aware that some never did catch on to the concept. Some people sort of half-learned it and then forgot about it as they grew up.
Cooperation is tricky. It takes some skill and effort to put into practice. We get lazy. Or - and this is sad - some people really don’t want to get along. It suits their purpose to fight and obstruct. They’ve got an agenda and it does not include playing nice with others.
I’m reminded of that every day when I skim through a daily newspaper, log on to to the Internet or turn on the TV. The news is full of evidence that people either have forgotten how to get along or are willfully trying to not get along. They’ve dug trenches in the sandbox and refuse to cross to the other side. They won’t even point a toe in the direction of their perceived enemies.
We see this failure to cooperate very starkly on the national level. In our nation’s Capitol, the red and blue divide not only still exists, it has widened, deepened - and hardened. The wall is like an immovable Lucite barrier of shame. People look at each other from their respective sides, and point and shout. But the folks on the other side can only hear every other word, it seems, so there’s a lot of misunderstanding, a lot of anger and yelling and screaming and pounding on that wall. Too bad. They are stuck on their side. Can’t jump over it, can’t break through it, can’t meet in the middle. That dang wall.
Here at home we have the wall, but occasionally people make cracks in it - and some manage to go around it. The teachers and the state did it - they reached around that wall and came to an unprecedented agreement that, while perfect for no one, was (we hope) ultimately the decision that will keep teachers employed. The HGEA and the state did it - they hammered at the wall and broke through with a deal that could keep everyone on the job.
Both deals are designed to be the lesser of evils. No one’s happy, but at least they’ll be unhappily employed, which is a whole lot better than being miserably unemployed.
At least the folks here at home behaved themselves and remembered their cooperation skills. The politicians in Washington could use a little refresher course. Maybe they need to go back to preschool.
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