Hi Conscious Cooperators! Suzanne Lyons here, doing my bit to help usher in a new era of peace and sustainable common sense in these troubled times. CooperativeGames.com is my contribution, however humble, to the CHANGE that is coming and needs to come. I am a science educator by training, and a science textbook author. Pearson publishes my textbook, Conceptual Integrated Science, which is sold around the world. Yay but not enough. Education, I now see, is more urgent than cognitive expansion. We are the problem and we are the solution as far as the Earth and our own destiny on it goes. What the world needs now is love sweet love. But if we can’t quite get there, what we need AT LEAST is the ability to work together toward the common good. That’s called enlightened self-interest and it’s essentially cooperation. As President Eisenhower once said: “Though force can protect in an emergency, only justice, fairness, consideration, and cooperation can finally lead men to the dawn of eternal peace.” Let’s break it down. Why is cooperation so vital in life? What are its specific benefits? And why should we be learning how to cooperate through play with cooperative games?
Cooperation is essential because it helps solve problems. As we say, “two heads are better than one”. Cooperation brings the skills and talents of multiple stake holders to bear on any given situation. Cooperation makes it more efficient to get work done too. Many jobs are so big that they can only be accomplished through group effort. As we say, “many hands make light work”.
Cooperation is essential because it promotes healthy relationships. When we cooperate, we share, and as we know “sharing is caring”.” Cooperating and sharing elicit emotions of appreciation, gratitude, and trust as we help one another. These positive emotions underlie social bonding and healthy relationships.
Cooperation is also important because it’s the foundation of equity. Cooperation, in the sense we are talking about here, involves decision-making based on mutual respect and participation. It’s different than obedience. It’s motivated by the desire to listen to one another, to be fair and get along. Cooperation is the means by which equitable social arrangements can be forged and maintained.
If cooperation is of great value, and if cooperative games can teach cooperation through the powerful medium of play, then surely cooperative games are a beneficial teaching tool for our times. Hmmm…competition reinforces the us-versus-them mindset yet cooperation brings about peace. Maybe it’s time to rethink the commonplace idea that competition is natural and necessary. Maybe it’s time to give cooperation-and cooperative play-a chance.