Dove with Branch
July 30, 2007 Insights From the Dean of Peace
Notes from the Dean's Desk

Hello! - Dean Van Leuven

Starting July 31st I will be doing a special one week workshop for the International Peace Center in Nepal ( We will be developing a special program to restore peace to the Nepalese society. As a result some of you may not receive your newsletter next week. You may obtain a copy from my website - or you may request a copy to be sent to you by reply to this e- mail.

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Ask the Dean?
Dean Van Leuven   Global Struggle

Dear Dean, My boss frequently asks me to stay after work to finish up a project. I have children who come home from school that I must be there to care for so this is not acceptable to me. I find this very upsetting. What can I say to my boss when he asks me to stay and help him? - Billie in Bayside

Dear Billie, I assume that you are not required to stay by your work agreement. Since staying is voluntary on your part you can simply say no. I suggest that you explain why you are unable to stay, adding that you would like to help but can't in this way. Try not to be stressed by his request as it will affect your work relationship. Think he has a right to ask - I have a right to say no - and let it go. - the Dean

Dear Dean, My wife and I drive to and from work together as we work for the same company. When we get home at night she wants to unwind and spend some "quality time" with the kids before she prepares dinner. We get home at four and we never eat before eight. The problem is that by that time I am starving. How can I get her to fix dinner first and then play with the kids? - Carl in Memphis

Dear Carl, You don't mention that the kids are complaining. It looks like this arrangement is working well for everyone but you. Unless you had an agreement about this with her that she is not honoring it seems you have little to complain about. Have a family conference and find a solution that will work well for the family. Having a snack or preparing your own meal should not be out of the question. Maybe they would like having dinner on your schedule if you prepared it. - 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
by Todd Huffman   Globe Magnify Glass

As Americans, it seems in some ways our bounty is our curse. In this land of plenty, we are not forced to work together out of necessity or thrift. As a result, our distrust of each other forces us into conversations only with others like us. Our ignorance of each other misleads us into assigning easy categorizations and cartoonish stereotypes to those whom we do not personally know. Our mental filing cabinets in America today seem to have only two drawers, labeled "those who think like us", and "those who do not". Those who think like us earn our uncritical admiration and our unbending ear. Those who do not are just filed away, and never listened to again.

Americans are thus increasingly paying lip service to the ideals of democracy. We are forgetting that democracy is a thing we do together, else it is not done at all. A democracy invites and tolerates the clash of opinions, and understands its obligation to search for common ground. Indeed, a democracy knows its very survival depends upon it.

Finding common ground requires, first and foremost, releasing our anger; it must be let go; it is doing our nation no good. The clenched fist is an extension of the closed mind. Common ground is reached only through a willingness to listen with a mind that is open. Most importantly for democracy, listening permits the possibility of being listened to. Agreeing only with those who agree with us changes nothing. A democracy recognizes that there are intelligent people supporting each side of every issue. No one can claim a monopoly on truth. Every truth has an answering truth. There exists no issue facing our nation truly as simple as a choice between two absolutes, never mind what the shrill voices on each side say.

Guest columnist Todd Huffman is a pediatrician in Lane County, Oregon. He welcomes comments at:

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

We tend to make ourselves the victim of our own thinking. We grow up expecting certain things out of life, and when those things don't happen, we feel cheated. When something bad happens we tend to say, "What did I ever do to deserve this?" We find it difficult just to accept what happens because we get tied up in our own expectations and attachments. We put ourselves in the victim role whenever we deny that the feeling of being a victim actually originates in our own mind and that it is just the choice we have made about how we look at what happened.

If you find yourself thinking in terms of "How can I possibly cope with this awful situation?" you are admitting that you are a victim. Thinking about how you can just get by is victim thinking. Instead we need to think in terms of, "I am in control here." "I am the boss of my life." Until you take over the control of your life in every way, you are making yourself a victim. "Taking control," means that you are the one who makes choices about your own life based on your independent needs and thinking. It means that you are not making your choices based on what someone, or everyone else, is telling you that you must, or must not, do.

Refuse to become the victim of your own beliefs. Whenever you discover that you have beliefs that depreciate or upset you, don't allow them to remain. Examine them and make the necessary changes to align your thinking with beliefs that will allow you to get the best out of life.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Find a belief that upsets you and ask yourself if you are absolutely sure it is true.

Tuesday: Find a belief that upsets you and ask yourself if it is based on your own independent thinking.

Wednesday: Find a belief that upsets you and ask yourself if this belief actually helps you in life.

Thursday: Find a belief that upsets you and ask yourself how much it has helped you so far.

Friday: Find a belief that upsets you and ask yourself how it will affect your life in the future.

Saturday: Find a belief that upsets you and ask yourself how it fits in with your other beliefs.

Sunday: Find a belief that upsets you and ask yourself if there is a better belief to replace it with.

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

We will be doing a special Peaceful New World workshop on Saturday August 4th in Eugene, OR presented jointly with the International Peace Center from Nepal. For more information contact me at or call 800-359-6015

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