Dove with Branch
August 6, 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, David and I plan to be married in October. We would just like to have a small wedding with only family and a few close friends attending. My mother is okay with this but David's mother is not. She insists on inviting everyone and having a big reception. She says that the family's social status is important and not to worry because she will pay for everything. Neither David nor I want to do this. What do you suggest? - Carla in Ohio

Dear Carla, It is good to consider the feelings of others in your family, but you are entitled to make the decisions. Turning it over to your mother-in-law could be a great gift if you were happy with her plans. Be sure you have considered the benefits. If you do not find them attractive, then you and David should politely and firmly decline her offer. The two of you need to reach agreement on your course of action and follow it. You are free to choose a social life different from your parents. - the Dean

Dear Dean, I give my grown children gifts for their birthday and Christmas and never receive any kind of thank you. I am disgusted with their behavior. How can I make them acknowledge the gifts that I give them? - Loving Mother

Dear Loving Mother, You can't and you shouldn't. When we give someone a gift that means that it is given without condition. If we expect something in return, even if it is only a thank you, we have not given a gift since we are expecting some form of payment in return. It is customary in our society to acknowledge and give thanks for gifts and if you want to give them something on that condition you may certainly do so. Consider that they are not thanking you for the gifts simply because they have not learned the concept of doing so. If you want them to learn this concept a pleasant word pointing out the value of acknowledging gifts would be appropriate. Not feeling loving toward your children because they have not learned the concept seems a very high price to pay. - 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 are the society. Society should be organized so that it works well for us all. If we have some way of doing things that has become customary for our society and it is not working well for us then we should be willing to develop a new way of doing things that will be more effective for us.

When we reach this conclusion and try to develop a better way of doing things we find ourselves intimidated by the special interest groups that benefit from the way things are done presently. They operate through the media and in their lobbying before government bodies. Let's learn to recognize them for what they are - special interest groups who have a stake in the outcome and want the legislation to benefit their special interests.

Somehow we have gotten the idea that they are too powerful and that we can't create legislation that goes against their special interests. In our system of government it is the votes that count, not the money. If the money is buying the votes then we can elect new representatives who have not been and will not be bought by the money. It would help if we would change the way we elect our politicians so they don't need the money to get elected. The present system just makes the problem of the votes following the money more difficult to solve. Let's devise a way of electing politicians without them having to spend money to get elected and we will solve a lot of our inequities in the present system.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

A Rule To Make Choices By: For everything that happens in our life, there are three possibilities: (1) We can change it, (2) We can leave it, or (3) We can accept it. With each event in our life we need to make this choice.

For example, consider your work. You may not be happy with it just the way it is. Is there a way you might change it to make it better? If that is not possible, then your next choice might be to leave it. That may not be possible for the present, because you may need the work in order to eat, or pay the rent. You then can choose to accept your work, or you may choose to make a plan to change to new employment in the future. If you choose to make a change later, then you need to make the decision to accept your work for now. As with all of life's experiences, if we don't find a way to make our work experience a positive one, then we are left with negative emotions in our lives. To remove any anger or other negative emotions from your life, you need to apply this principle of change it, leave it, or accept it each time you need to make a choice. The important thing is to remember that if you can't change something and are not going to leave it that the only choice left for you is to accept it.

If you decide to go to work because you must have the money for food and shelter but you would prefer other work then make some effort to find or prepare yourself for other work. In the meantime you have chosen to go to work tomorrow, so go there with a happy face and enjoy it.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Think about something in your life that you are not happy about at the moment.

Tuesday: Think about why you are unhappy about it.

Wednesday: Think about how you can change it to make it better for you.

Thursday: Think about the possibility of no longer having this event or person in your life.

Friday: Think about something you have decided to do anyway that make you unhappy.

Saturday: Think about how being unhappy about the things you have chosen to do upsets you.

Sunday: Resolve to always accept and be happy with the things you have chosen to do.

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: How Can I Help?

We all have a set attitude about the way we respond when others ask for assistance. If we are open to helping we are cheerful and if we are note we are unpleasant. Just being able to say so in a way that others feel you care about them changes the relationship and 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.

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