Dove with Branch
October 16, 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, When I talk to my husband he doesn’t listen. I want to tell him something about what’s going on with my day and his mind is somewhere else. It seems he never gets around to answering until I am so busy that I don’t have time to listen. How can I get him to listen when I have something to say? – Teri in Idaho

Dear Teri, Your husband seems willing to listen to you, and to discuss things with you. Be thankful for that. What you have is a problem of timing. He has just as much right to determine the timing as you do. Either agree to some time that you are both willing to discuss things, or be patient until he is ready to listen. Many people have the idea that if they want to talk, the other person is obligated to listen. This can create a lot of friction. Talking takes both a sender and a receiver and they both have equal rights. You talk only when he wants to listen and he talks only when you want to listen and your discussions will be much more effective, and friendlier. – the Dean

Dear Dean, I often eat at a nice restaurant in our neighborhood. Often there are families eating there. The problem is that the children are very noisy. This disturbs me, and makes my meal very unpleasant. I have asked the owner to speak to the parents about their children’s noise, but he refuses. What can I do to make my dining more pleasurable? Should I speak to the parents? – Unhappy Diner

Dear Unhappy Diner, You can speak to the parents. You need to remember however, that the children have as much right to be noisy as you have to be quiet. If the owner accepts that atmosphere as appropriate, then you must decide for yourself whether you wish to continue eating there. The thing that you have complete control over is whether you continue to eat there, and whether or not you are upset by the noisy children. You can tell the parents that you are upset by the noise, and ask if they can help make it more pleasant for you. Remember you have no right to quiet and are only asking for a courtesy. Explore the idea of enjoying their energy before you make your choice. Children add a lot of fun to the world for many people. - 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 grow up in our own Society and we are taught pretty clear rules about what is right and what is wrong. We know what we “should expect” from other people, and what they “should expect” from us. When we are growing up, we learn to comply with these rules because others get upset at us and punish us in some way – if only by the way they accept and respond to us. We learn to follow the rules because of the trouble it causes when we don’t. We punish others by the way we respond to them when we don’t think they are following the rules.

This works fairly well when we live in a homogeneous society where we have all learned the same rules. When we try to apply our rules to others who have different values, we run into problems. When I lived in other countries, I often found that many who visited would become upset because they weren’t being treated according to their own rules. “They are wrong; we know the rules and we will correct them!” – was their thinking.

Unfortunately this thinking often carries over to our expectations of what is right or wrong in relationships between countries. We make judgments that they are wrong and must change their behavior. How would you feel if the positions were reversed? We do need some rules about what is right and wrong for all. However they should be created by common agreement, treaty, a world governing body, or some other way we can come to agreement. Dictating how others must act, when we “know” they are wrong only leads to trouble. To live in Peace we must build a path that all societies are willing to walk down.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Learn to embrace change. Your life hasn’t been perfect. You can make it better by letting go of old attachments so that you can pursue more desirable goals. When something doesn’t work the way you want it to and you can’t change it, concentrate on replacing it with something new. Think of what you want in its place. This focus on the new positive goal is helpful in letting go of the old negative attachment.

You may also find it helpful at this point to focus on the knowledge that you are now open to new opportunities. This is the time that you can choose something new in your life. You want your life to be better? Choose something that will make it so. You may even find that it is time to train for a new career, or make new friends.

Just know that all negative attachments can be released, if and when you are up to doing so. If you have difficulty letting go don’t give up. It just is a signal that you have more to learn and need to pay more attention. Books, counselors and friends are available to help you find the answers. Happiness is always an available choice. Don’t pass it by just because you don’t know how to do it.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Think about the things in your life that upset you.

Tuesday: Think about how your life would feel if everything was they way you wanted it to be.

Wednesday: Select the most important change you want to make in your life.

Thursday: Think about how your life will be when you make this change.

Friday: Determine what you must learn in order to make this change.

Saturday: Today begin the steps necessary for change.

Sunday: Today dedicate yourself to enjoying the process of 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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My Phone Seminar for this week is: Learning Forgiveness

We all talk about forgiveness, but how many of us really know how to forgive. Learn how to truly let go of those old angers that are messing up your life.

You can schedule a phone seminar for the days offered. You can schedule them at your convenience for any day Monday through Thursday between 5:30 PM and 7:30 PM Pacific Time by calling 800-359-6015 or e-mailing at least 24 hours in advance to arrange a scheduled time.

The price is $15.00 for a one hour seminar. If you subscribe to my free newsletter “Insights from the Dean of Peace” you are entitled to two free phone seminars to use at your convenience.

Past issues of this newsletter for the year 2006 are archived on my website.

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