Dove with Branch
April 09, 2007 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, I have a friend who wears clothes that are just not appropriate. He will go to nice parties without a tie on and shirts that are too colorful for instance. Society has certain standards. He needs to know that others will judge him by what he is wearing. When I tell him he gets upset and tells me that it is none of my business. His clothes are affecting his career. How can a get him to pay attention? – A Friend in Dallas

Dear Friend, You have tried, and most likely succeeded. What you have not been able to do is have him change his behavior. He knows what you have told him. He just hasn’t chosen to take your advice. We get to choose the things we want out of life. He has chosen to “pay the price” for wearing the clothes he does. To him the price of being depreciated in the opinions of others is not too high. Some will appreciate his choices. We all do things that others wouldn’t because it is worth it to us. When someone no longer wants our opinion is the time to stop giving it. – the Dean

Dear Dean, I have a friend who is always telling me what makeup to wear, and what not to wear. I like the natural look and prefer to wear little or no makeup. I keep telling her that it is none of her business and to please stop giving me advice on my makeup. This doesn’t seem to stop her. She keeps telling me what she thinks of my makeup on an almost daily basis. How do I get her to stop telling me about how I look? – Cindy in Eugene

Dear Cindy, You are right it is none of her business what you wear. It is your face, your life, you get to choose. However it is her business and not yours whether she continues to talk about it or not. When she continues to talk about your makeup it then becomes your business to decide how you wish to respond to her continued talking. This is a free society. She is free to say what she thinks! Consider that when making a choice of whether to remain friends or not. The more we accept others for who they are the more friends/love we have in our life. Not being upset by the opinions of others is a great skill to acquire. – 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

It is helpful to think of schools as having three basic functions: 1. To educate the students in the basic skills needed for life (the 3 R's). 2. To train the students so that they will be able to be productive members of the society and to be able to provide for their own support. 3. To learn how to think and be creative so that they and the society can prosper. This third function has been very controversial because the agenda of change and growth is perceived as not in the best self interest of many in our society. However if we are to create a Peaceful New World, this is the area of our education that we must emphasize.

The basic objective of education has been to advance the knowledge of the people. However this goal is often distorted because self-interest groups within the society are concerned that their agenda be advanced, or that what is being taught in the schools is compatible with that individual group's philosophy.

To create change we must learn the skills of creating. If we are taught that the law and our government and society are always right then what we have today is what we will always have. What change we do experience will be created out of the best interest for a few controlling individuals. When we learn to recognize the positive possibilities of change, then we will have positive change. The student learns from the teacher. We are all teachers whether we are in the educational system or not. What are we going to teach our children?

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Realize that what you are thinking may be hurting you. Choose to replace your negative thoughts with loving positive thoughts. People want to be loved. If you hold back your anger and give them love instead they will respond in a positive way.

When others are positive, it is easier for you to be positive. Ask yourself, “If I was feeling love, what would I do now?” Realize that the other person is not intentionally trying to hurt you. They are just doing the best they can. Do not blame other people for not playing by the rules. They are playing by the rules, “their rules.” They are living their life, not yours. We all have some rules of our society that we do not accept. Others are entitled to reject different ones than you do.

Remember that you have no right to control other people. The fact that they have done something you think is wrong gives you no right to control them or try to change them, unless of course you are a policeman. Remind yourself of this when you are upset at how others are acting. Once you tell yourself, “I do not control what other people do,” it is easier to free yourself from the anger that results when others are not doing things the way you feel they should be done.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Make a list of the things that upset you the most about your family.

Tuesday: Think of a new positive way of feeling about each item on your list.

Wednesday: Think of the things that upset you the most about your work.

Thursday: Think of a new positive way of feeling about each item on your list.

Friday: Make a list of the things that upset you the most about your government.

Saturday: Think of a new positive way of feeling about each item on your list.

Sunday: Resolve to develop new positive responses for anything you find upsetting in your life.

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