Dove with Branch
March 6, 2006 Insights From the Dean of Peace
Notes from the Dean's Desk
Reminder: We are doing A Life Without Anger 1 - Making Better Choices workshop on Friday March 17 and a Life Without Anger 2 - Creating New Patterns workshop in Eugene, OR on Saturday March 18. These are small group workshops where we will have time to focus on your individual issues. If you are interested or would like more information please contact me.

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

Dear Dean, Ted and I have been engaged for two years and we have finally set the date for our wedding. We are looking forward to this event and would just like to have a small wedding with only family and close friends attending and perhaps a brief reception. My mother is OK with this but Ted's mother is not. She insists on inviting everyone and having a big reception and says not to worry because she will pay, and that the family's position in the community requires it. Neither Ted nor I enjoy this kind of attention. Denise

Dear Denise, It is good to consider the feeling's of others in your family, but you are entitled to make all decisions relating to your wedding. Turning it over to your mother-in-law to be could be a great gift if you were happy with her plans. Be sure you have considered the benefits and if you do not find them attractive, then you and Ted should decline her offer being sure to say; "Thanks, but no thanks." You and Ted need to reach agreement on your course of action and follow it. Ted and you are free to choose a social life different than your parents. You do not want to get married until this problem is resolved to both your and Ted's satisfaction. the Dean

Dear Dean, My wife doesn't get enough sleep. She puts in a hard day at the office, and after we put the family to bed she stays up until late at night making clothing for our grandchildren. Our children provide quite well for their children. It is not necessary that she do this. It is affecting her health and our relationship. How can I get her to stop this destructive behavior? Worried Husband.

Dear Worried Husband, You do not indicate whether she has consulted her doctor and been advised she needs to get more sleep to protect her health. Let us assume that is the case. She is stressing herself for some perceived need. You can start by trying to understand what that need is, and help her to understand and resolve the issue within herself. Just asking her to change because she is damaging her health is not usually very effective. You can be helpful by being empathetic to her stress, and helping her to search for and remove its causes. If the two of you working together don't find a solution, then encourage her to seek outside help. 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

Ernest Hemingway, when asked what the most important attribute in a writer was, replied that the most important attribute is to have an automatic built in crap detector. What he was saying was that writers need to be naturally critical of all thoughts and ideas, whether new or old. Writers are of course the people who are most responsible for making society as a whole aware of its own problems and coming up with ideas to improve our way of life.

The group that is the next most influential is our educators. If we want our society and the individuals in it to improve the quality of their lives then it is only proper that our educators be "crap detectors" and further, that they teach this ability to their students. We seem to be afraid that our children will grow up different than we are. What is so bad about that? Most of us would like life to be better than it is.

Once you accept the idea that our social order can be improved, then it follows that we should encourage everyone, especially the young, to be critical of our ideas and ideals. We want them to learn how the world looks from the viewpoint of others, and choose new ways to make their life and their society better. We don't need to change for the sake of change, nor do we always need to stay the same for the sake of stability. But when we feel we have a problem we can learn ways to better understand it and go about finding new answers that will be more effective for us.

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

It is easy to look at all of the problems around us; war, prejudice, fraud, superstition, intolerance, etc., and end up feeling a little discouraged about the future. We need to take a little broader look at the problem in order to get it in perspective. Five thousand years ago people were crawling around in smoky caves chewing on bones. Two thousand years ago almost nobody kept written records. Only two hundred years ago most people couldn't read written records.

People's interests and actions are naturally self-centered. We start looking out for the interest of other people when we learn that it is in our own self-interest to do so. It takes a little time to develop long range thinking. It is not so surprising that we are still having social problems. The really encouraging thing is that our rate of social change has increased in recent years. It continues to increase at an ever faster rate as our level of education increases, and our resistance to change decreases.

Resistance to change comes from fear of the unknown and security in the known. We need to be rational about this. We need to realize that if we think the world should be better off than it is, then we must embrace change. If we base our judgments for action in the future on how people have been in the past, we will continue to have more of the past. However, if we base our actions on what we are capable of becoming, we can live in a world that becomes ever better.

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

Monday: Other people's anger is not about me. When they are upset at me it is because of a problem they have.

Tuesday: It is not what others do that makes me angry. My anger is caused by my thoughts and attitudes about what they do.

Wednesday: Other people are worrying about their own problems, not mine. I will help them if I can.

Thursday: When I accept that others can think differently than I do, I do not get upset when they don't agree with me.

Friday: When I have compassion for the angry person's feelings I am I am able to offer them my love.

Saturday: I understand that when someone is angry they are seeking love. I will offer them love.

Sunday: When someone who does not know how to give love is given love they become more loving.

Additional Notes

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