Dove with Branch
February 27, 2006 Insights From the Dean of Peace
Notes from the Dean's Desk

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Ask the Dean?
by Dean Van Leuven - the Dean of Peace   Global Struggle

Dear Dean, I have given my grandchildren gifts for their birthday and for Christmas without ever receiving any kind of thank you. I am disgusted with this behavior. How can I make them acknowledge the gifts that I give them? Generous Grandmother.

Dear Generous Grandmother, You can't and you shouldn't. When we give someone a gift that means that it is given without condition. If we expect something in return, even if it is only a thank you, we have not given a gift Because we are expecting some form of payment in return. It is customary in our society to acknowledge and give thanks for gifts. If you want to give them something on that condition you may certainly do so. Consider that your grandchildren are not thanking you for the gifts simply because they have not learned the concept of doing so. If you want them to learn that concept a pleasant word with the parents pointing out the value of acknowledging gifts would be appropriate. Remember always that the parents are the teachers. You should do no more than offer advice unless asked to do so. Not feeling loving toward your grandchildren because they have not learned the concept of acknowledging gifts seems a very high price to pay. the Dean

Dear Dean, My husband's brother makes bigoted remarks in my home in front of our children. I have asked him not to do so but, he says that it is just his way and he means no harm. How should I deal with this situation? I am considering not allowing him to come into my home. Mary in Albany.

Dear Mary, Bigoted remarks are not appropriate in a loving world, and we should not leave the impression that they are. Since your brother-in-law comes to your home, I assume he has a loving relationship with your husband which should not be discouraged. You do not need to accept the remarks as appropriate in you and your children's presence. Finding some way for that to not happen would be appropriate. Perhaps he can understand your concern for your children's education. A solution which drives a wedge between your husband and your brother would not be desirable. the Dean

Send your Ask the Dean Questions to: P.O. Box 535, Elmira, OR 97437 or visit to submit by e-mail.

Law, Politics & Society ... As I see them
by Dean Van Leuven - the Dean of Peace   Globe Magnify Glass

In speaking of laws governing economics, Plato said, "I should have thought that laws and institutions of that order do not deserve the attention of a law-giver worthy of the name, no matter whether the constitution be good or bad. If it is bad, they are useless and affect nothing; if good, some are such as anyone could devise, and the rest will follow themselves from practices we have already instituted."

This statement brings forth issues we should seriously consider in regulating our society. The more regulations we make just to make sure that everything is done in the "right way," the more complicated we make our life. In all probability we end up with less "good" because we expend so much in just following all the rules, that we can't accomplish nearly as much in the long run as we could otherwise.

The problem with rules is that they need to be written to cover any possible situation. As a result we either have to follow complicated rules at considerably added expense in simple situations, or go through a complex procedure to get them waived when we need to make variations. We could accomplish so much more in the long run if we kept the rules simple, and dealt with problems and abuses case by case as they arose instead of the other way around.

Creating a Peaceful New World
by Dean Van Leuven - the Dean of Peace   World Peace

Some people live by the book, even though they don't know who wrote the book, or even what book it is. Translated to life this means people grow up with a whole set of values that have been given to them. Usually they do not fully understand the reason for the rules that they live by. Sometimes they are not even aware of where the rule came from.

The natural reaction when faced with a problem is to apply our beliefs in order to arrive at a solution. We often fail to look at the situation critically to see which beliefs really apply. We then apply our truths blindly without understanding the reasons for them, or even if they apply to the particular situation.

We all must learn to look at every issue and problem that faces us, turn it over and look at it from every angle, especially the other persons. If we are to make good decisions we need to understand the problem from as many perspectives as possible. "The book" is something we fall back on when we are unsure of what we are doing, instead of the primary guide to use to make our decisions. We should always try to understand why we are doing something, not just which rule we are trying to follow.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
by Dean Van Leuven - the Dean of Peace   Left Arrow

Monday: My purpose is to enjoy life regardless of the events that I experience. Whether it is a good day or not is my choice.

Tuesday: The world is good to me depending on whether I think it is. Whether I think the world is good is up to me.

Wednesday: I love the world for it sustains my life. I am thankful for this life.

Thursday: I am a victim of what happens to me only when I think I am. If I want to enjoy this life I can't accept being a victim.

Friday: I accept my own actions for they are always the best I can do at that moment.

Saturday: I am in control of my life. I choose to make it joyful.

Sunday: I choose how I respond to any situation. I always ask myself, "How can I make this better?"

Additional Notes

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