Dove with Branch
July 23, 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, Our 18 year old daughter just graduated from high school. We will send her to the local college and she can live at home with us. She wants to take a year off and travel around the country before she goes to college. We have forbidden her to do so and have told her we will not pay for her college or let her live at home if she does. Do you think that is the right thing to do? - Sandy in Chicago

Dear Sandy, She has a right to make her own choices. You have no obligation to support her trip or to pay for her college afterward but traveling and being on her own can be a good learning experience. She should make and learn from her own choices even if they seem wrong to you. Punishing or trying to control her by withholding support for education that you are otherwise willing to support is not helpful for her growth. It may seem the best to you but probably will not be for your daughter. - the Dean

Dear Dean, Our son has just graduated from high school and we want him to go on to college and are willing to pay for his education. Instead he wants to go to trade school to become a plumber. We think he is capable of being much more than a plumber. How can we encourage him to go on to college before he makes his choice? - Fred in PA

Dear Fred, How can he be more than a plumber? One profession is not better than the other. His choice may be different than yours. But that is part of the freedom that creates our society. Do you want your child to be his person or your person? Not that it matters but plumbers make more than the average college graduate these days. - 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 have learned that bullying people and making them do things the way we want them to be done has not been effective in the home, in the workplace and in our local community. Whenever we try to do that we create resistance. People refuse to cooperate with us because they feel put upon by the way we are treating them. We want to be accepted and liked by other people for who we are and they are treating us just the opposite.

True, we can learn to recognize this is what is happening and learn not to be upset by it. This is difficult for many of us to learn. And is still not giving us the love and approval we naturally seek. This bullying behavior leads to an even greater problem. It leads to us as a nation using that kind of behavior when dealing with the other nations of the world.

If it doesn't work well in the home and the community it is not going to work well in the world. The result is that it leads to a world society that is held together through fear rather than common respect and caring for each other as fellow human beings. The world is here for us to enjoy. Why should we waste our lives generation after generation living in disharmony? All we have to do is change our way of looking at things and we can produce the joy and peace we all seek in our lives. Furthermore, we don't have to wait for the rest of the world. We can learn to experience joy and peace in personal lives now.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

One way to reduce our susceptibility to anger is to be open to the possibility of other right answers for our self and for others. Just accepting the possibility that the answer may change if we have more information keeps us open to the idea that the judgment that we have made is only tentative and always subject to change. When we view a judgment in this manner, we don't have a strong emotional investment in it. And we find it easier to make changes when we receive new information that is not in agreement with our present thinking. It also makes it much easier to recognize when new information is not in agreement with our judgment.

In this society we have learned to view differences as an attack. We have learned to marshal arguments to support our view of the truth. It is like we are debaters who are assigned a side and then defend it as our own truth. We tend to buy into our own story and the first thing we know it becomes our truth. If we can learn to give up the need to always have a truth then this become much easier for us.

Sometimes you must make a choice because you must determine an action NOW. Choose a response based on your best thinking, but don't place any emotional value on your choice. Don't take your truths too seriously. Always be looking for a better answer than the one you are acting on. When you see the possibility of a better choice, be open to changing your thinking. Rather than defending your original choice, see what you might learn by considering someone else's.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: I think about the idea that I don't know everything about anything.

Tuesday: I think about the idea that I could possibly be wrong about anything and everything.

Wednesday: I learn to be open for and to exam new information.

Thursday: I fully examine new information that is not in agreement with my opinion.

Friday: I learn not to take disagreement by others as an attack on myself.

Saturday: I always choose the best response available to me based on the information I have.

Sunday: I change my response whenever I see a better possibility.

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

My Phone Seminar for this week is: Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?

Most of us find real enjoyment in being happy. But we sometimes get hung up on the idea that we need to be right to be happy. We often find that we get so involved in being right that we get upset defending what we think is right that end up being unhappy.

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.

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