Dove with Branch
August 28, 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, My father died over a year ago. He left everything to his second wife of less than two years. I lived across the county and barely got to know her. She seems like a nice enough person who cared about my dad. My dad had lots of things from our home and photos from our life together when we were growing up, as well as pictures from our grandparents that I would really like to have. It would seem that they would mean little to her. However, she has not offered anything, or even asked if we cared. What do you think we should do? – Missing Dad

Dear Missing Dad, Ask! If you haven’t asked or shown any interest perhaps she thinks you don’t care. Let her know you miss your dad and would like some remembrances that she would be willing to share with you. Why create a problem in your mind before it exists? While you are at it let her know that you appreciate her for loving your dad and ask if she would like to know more about his past. Let her know your dad loved her, and you respect his ability to make good choices. – the Dean

Dear Dean, I have grown up to be a responsible person and take good care of myself, both physically and financially. My brother however has not. He keeps losing jobs, getting in trouble with the law, and has lost three wives already and he is only in his mid-twenties! The problem for me is that every time he gets in serious trouble he comes to me to bail him out. I don’t want to keep supporting his bad habits but I always feel guilty and give in. What do you suggest? – Frustrated Sister

Dear Sis, The answer is to give love and emotional support always and think carefully about the other support you give. Ask yourself if you are being caring or enabling? Sometimes this is a very difficult question. If you are having difficulty with this issue talk to someone outside the problem. If you need a place to seek help look up Al-anon. You are facing the same problems as someone who has an alcoholic in their life. Above all, do not feel guilty for problems you have no responsibility for. - the Dean

I welcome questions and/or comments from our readers. Send your Ask the Dean questions or comments 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 say we would like to have peace, but it never happens. It is always the “other person's fault.” There seems to be an unlimited supply of “other persons” in the world, and perhaps we are sometimes one of them ourselves. Why do we always get angry and blame the other guy when things don’t go our way? It is because we think they are wrong and we are right. Isn’t it possible we are both right; and both wrong when we get angry?

If we are to have peace we must learn to stop getting angry at other people. When we get angry at others we quit treating them with respect. We are no longer caring, or even open to why they think the way that they do. When we are angry we have the idea that they must do it our way, or we will make them do it. We think they are bad and should be punished.

We are willing to impose our power, to the death if need be, to make them do it our way. This may lead to lack of warfare because they are weak and the fight is over. We may be happy for the moment because we have things our way. But instead of solving the problem it only sets us up for more conflict in the future. We have made an enemy that we didn’t need to make! When we listen to others, understand their differences, and seek resolution we can create a peace that will be lasting.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

As we grow, we are taught certain ideas of how the world is by our society and by those around us – our parents, our teachers, and our friends. We take all of this in and form our own special idea of how the world is. We then form expectations of how things should happen in order to fit with our own special idea of how the world is. When things don’t happen that way, when reality doesn’t match our idea of what we think should happen we get angry.

We need to realize that our idea of how the world is, is only our ideal world, as we see it, and not the real world at all. If what is happening in the world doesn’t conform to your idea of what should be happening, then take it as a clue that your ideal world does not actually match the real world. If you could accept the idea that what is actually happening in the real world is appropriate, then you would have nothing to be angry about.

The ideal world file that we have in our brain just doesn’t match the real world. In order to eliminate anger, we need to create a relationship between our ideal world file and the real world file itself so that they are not in actual conflict.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Think about how you would like the world to be.

Tuesday: Think about how you would like the world to be.

Wednesday: Accept the world for what it is now.

Thursday: Think about the things in the world that you would like to be different.

Friday: Select the things in the world that you want to become active in changing.

Saturday: Accept all of the things in the world that you don’t want to actively change at this time.

Sunday: Think of ways you can work to create change.

Dean Van Leuven is a psychologist, conducts workshops and is the author of A Peaceful New World and many other books dealing with quality of life issues. Contact him on the web at:

Additional Notes

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Dean Of Peace | P.O. Box 535 | Elmira | OR | 97437