Solution sleuthing

Any time, Drive time

Explore situations that require cooperation with family members, or with strangers, and learn some polite phrases that show your desire to cooperate.

When we live and work closely with others, we often need to cooperate. In everyday situations, whenever we are around other people, we need to consider how our actions affect those around us.

Brainstorm together about situations where you need to cooperate, both inside your home and outside your home. For each situation, come up with a creative and cooperative solution. The first table provides an example.

Cooperating as a family

Family situation

Creative solution

During a long trip, you stop at a gas station because everyone needs to use the washroom. To decide who gets to visit the washroom first, invite family members to express their need on a scale of one to 10. The person with the most urgent need (10) goes first.
Two people want to heat up their snack in the microwave.  
One person has the fridge door open. A second person can’t get past to access the pantry.  
One person is washing dishes. A second person wants to pour a drink of water from the faucet.  
One person wants to go outside, but a second person is blocking the doorway while putting on their shoes.  
Someone has an itchy spot on their back that is just out of reach.  
Someone is doing the laundry and needs help folding clean sheets.  



Cooperating with strangers

Public situation

Creative solution

Two people reach for the same bunch of bananas at the grocery store. One person says, “Oh, excuse me. Please make your choice first. I can wait.”
Just as you come to the end of the aisle at the grocery store, you almost run your cart into someone who is pushing their cart in the opposite direction.  
When you are driving along the road, one lane suddenly ends and all vehicles must merge into a single lane.  
Two people arrive at the fast food order desk at the same time.  
Two drivers want the same spot in a busy parking lot.  
While hiking on a narrow path, two families meet, each heading in opposite directions.  
Someone is struggling to lift a heavy box into the trunk of their car.  

Practice phrases you can say to let others know that you are willing to cooperate. Here are a few ideas:

  • You go ahead; I can wait.
  • You go first; I don’t mind waiting.
  • I’ll wait my turn.
  • Would you like me to give you a hand with that?
  • Can I get that for you?
  • After you . . . (with a gesture encouraging the other person to go ahead)
Relevant Scripture

Mark 9:35 “And He sat down and called the twelve. And He said to them, ‘If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.’

Luke 6:31 “Do to others as you would have them do to you.