Dove with Branch
October 30, 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 daughter has married a man who does not provide for her, or their children. He occasionally works but is unable to hold a job. My daughter works full time to provide for the family. Her husband pays little attention to the children and the house. My daughter does everything and never complains. I no longer want this no-good in my home but my daughter will not come if he is not invited and I do not want to lose my grandchildren. What should I do about this? – Unhappy Grandmother

Dear Unhappy Grandmother, Invite him to your home on appropriate occasions. Visit your daughter at her home and elsewhere when you can. If your daughter loves this man you must accept him to continue a loving relationship with your daughter. You do not have to love your son-in-law but accept him as what he is; the man your daughter loves. Do not pass your judgments on to him or your daughter. Allow your daughter to make her own choices. If she is happy with them do not try to make her unhappy. – the Dean

Dear Dean, My brother is successful and often travels in his work. He is able to make business trips all over the world. I am infuriated with him because when our mother was ill he was too busy to come see her. He had time only for short calls because he was always too busy. When she died he didn’t even come to the funeral. Mother was thankful for his calls, but wanted to see him when she was dieing. She said she understood, but I know she wanted him there. I don’t want him back in my life. Why would I ever want to speak to him again? – Tom in Ohio

Dear Tom, Because he is your brother. Do not condemn him for his relationship with life, and with mom. That relationship arose out of how he felt he must deal with the things in his life. By your standards he did not do well. Allow him to be your imperfect brother and love him with all of his flaws; or use his tactics and avoid a relationship. If you want a brother in your life, it is best to accept his flaws. We all have them – in other peoples’ eyes. - 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

When we have a conversation with someone let’s start by assuming they are speaking the truth. Let’s also assume that they believe fully in the rightness of their belief. Let’s assume that they have valid reasons for thinking the way that they do. And finally, let’s assume that we could be wrong. After all we do not possess all of the knowledge in the universe. Stop for a moment and think about how the beliefs of our society have changed as we have grown.

Since we want to be peaceful, let’s decide that we would like to have a peaceful relationship with other people. Knowing how much we like to stand in our own truth let’s look for a way to allow others to stand in their truth. Even if they are a racist we can allow them to exclude whomever they want from their own homes. What we cannot allow is for them to require us to do the same, or to exclude others from rights shared by all.

The best interest of each of us is tied up in the best interest of all others. Since we have an innate desire to be joyful and live in peace we will eventually learn that lesson, as will others. All we have to do is to prevent those who have not learned that lesson from taking control of our lives and messing it up for us. We need to be sure our government is ultimately controlled by us instead of those who happen to be running it. We will then eventually be able to resolve differences in a way that we can live together in peace.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

We each have our own unique belief system, which is like a filter that new information passes through before it comes into our awareness. It is an extremely complex system that contains all of the things we have learned in life; beliefs that we have been taught and accepted as true. Our beliefs determine how we think the world works, and embody the truths that we hold as self-evident and accept without question. In order to make meaning out of any new input to our brains, we always compare it to our existing belief system.

Our belief system will always make perfect sense to us – at least until we become troubled by the answers we are getting and begin to re-evaluate them. This system is self-validating because it is “truth” as we “believe” it to be. It is important to understand this if we hope to change the beliefs that trouble us.

Understanding the nature of our belief system will help us to find the things we believe in that are not working for us, and that we may want to change. It will help us to change to more positive and effective beliefs.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: I think about how beliefs systems are created.

Tuesday: I think about where the beliefs I think are important came from.

Wednesday: I think about the beliefs that make my life good.

Thursday: I think about the beliefs that cause me to be upset.

Friday: I think about the beliefs that I would like to change.

Saturday: I decide on new beliefs to replace my old upsetting beliefs.

Sunday: I begin the process of replacing my old upsetting beliefs with the new positive ones.

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