Dove with Branch
May 8, 2006 Insights From the Dean of Peace
Notes from the Dean's Desk

Hello! - Dean Van Leuven

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Ask the Dean?
Dean Van Leuven   Global Struggle

Dear Dean, In a prior column you wrote about a niece staying in her aunt’s home while going to college, but not helping as agreed. I have the same problem with my own daughter. What do you suggest? – Disappointed Mother

Dear Disappointed Mother, Your daughter’s behavior has become a problem for you because you allowed it to happen. Taking corrective action is always much more difficult than preventing the problem. To change her behavior your daughter must experience defined consequences when she fails to comply. Decide the consequences when she fails to comply. Explain them to her. Then enforce them evenly and with love. - the Dean

Dear Dean, I have a son in high school who will not do his chores. I tell him, but he never seems to get them done. Even when I threaten him with being grounded he doesn't do them. Why does he act like this? Ignored Mother

Dear Ignored Mother, Because you let him. Pleading and threats of appropriate consequences are of no value unless they are applied as stated. They must be applied whenever warranted, exactly as established, consistently and without anger. Be open to discussion but not to complaining. Do not accept excuses unless they are appropriate. He will learn to get the chores done when he knows you mean business and are still giving him love. - 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
  Globe Magnify Glass

We have developed a habit of pursuing politics of self-interest. We fight to elect politicians and create laws that are favorable to ourselves, and the groups we belong to, regardless of the cost to others. If a politician from the party we support violates the law we overlook it. If a politician we oppose violates the law, we want to throw the book at him.

This kind of situational ethics is not a positive way to run a democracy. The basic concept of a democracy requires that we work together for the common good. We are substituting the basic idea of having a government that supports everyone, for a government that promotes our own personal interest. We think the end justifies the means.

In the long run we are not well served by promoting only our self-interest. This will result in a society that is stressful and in constant turmoil. We can’t be peaceful unless we are fully considerate of the needs of others.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Was your response appropriate for you in the present situation – or did it you simply go into onto “automatic pilot” and use a response that you had used in the past? For instance wouldn’t it be better to leave the dishes on table or put them into the sink yourself than to get mad at your mate for not doing it? Wouldn’t it have gone better with the boss if you had said to him that you would like to help but had already made other plans that were too important to be changed?

Perception is not a fact. It is a mirror of our thoughts. No two people see the world the same. Learn to observe yourself to find out how you see the world. Try to see how your problems overlap each other and are interrelated to your other problems as well as the problems of others. Try to see how your way of looking at things always agree with your entrenched beliefs. Try to see how the way you think causes problems for you.

Especially pay attention to how you are feeling. “Emotional awareness” is being aware of what feelings are actually occurring in your body. Try to be more aware of you emotions, and note how they make you feel. See if your responses are in line with the way you think and act when you are not feeling the emotion. Just the act of observing your emotions can take away some of the emotional charge.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: I learn to take a moment to think and make a conscious choice before I respond.

Tuesday: I look at my responses to see if the response I have chosen is the best possible choice.

Wednesday: Today I examine why I sometimes become upset by the action of other people.

Thursday: I examine other ways of thinking about the things that upset me.

Friday: I pay attention to the way I feel when I become upset. I examine the thoughts that result while I am upset.

Saturday: I notice how much better I feel when I examine the reasons for being upset.

Sunday: I immediately remove each thing that upsets me from my thoughts.

Additional Notes

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I welcome your suggestion or comments. If you have a question that you would like addressed in the Ask the Dean? column feel free to send them to


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