Dove with Branch
August 13, 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, My son is unruly and frequently challenges my authority. I end up getting so upset at him that I scream at him and have even slapped him on a couple of occasions. I am ashamed of myself. How can I stop this behavior? - Monica in IL

Dear Monica, You and your son have both learned strategies of responding that are not effective, and are even self-defeating. It seems impossible to stop because they have become an automatic response pattern that just happens whenever you are "provoked." Just like when you buy a new car with different controls or get a new computer operating system you can learn a new response pattern. This is a serious problem. If you can't do it on your own or with the help of my book I suggest you seek counseling. - the Dean

Dear Dean, My sister and I have fought for years. We are very different and find I hard to see the other's point of view. We are in our thirties and still don't talk to each other. I would like to put this behind us and become friends with her. Where do I start? - Maria in TX

Dear Maria, You can start by accepting her as perfect just the way she is. Learn to think that it is okay for you that she has different beliefs and goals in life than you do. The next thing is to tell that you have come to understand and are truly sorry for the way you have acted toward her. Next find time to show her that you care by visiting and being friendly whenever the opportunity arises. Do not beg forgiveness or push for togetherness. It will happen when she sees that things have truly changed. - 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
Todd Huffman   Globe Magnify Glass

After many years as a physician, working with families of all classes and colors, I've come to realize that people are much more alike than unalike. We all have so much more in common than we have in conflict. Even where we disagree, it is likely that your vision and mine are not so far apart.

So what I hope for most for America in these early days of the 21st century is not a living wage for our growing poor, not health insurance for our growing uninsured, not energy independence from our growing addiction to coal and oil, not reduction of our growing debt, and not the return of a competent and incorruptible government. To be sure, all these are things I do desperately want. But I cannot possibly hope for any of them until as a people we reach out as we once did to those with whom we disagree or only partly agree, in order that we gain a more clear understanding of these and many other growing problems we face together.

Most of our nation's problems will never yield themselves to speedy or simplistic solutions, despite what any pundit or politician tells us, and no political party has all the answers. Call me naïve, but until we Americans let go of our contempt for those with whom we disagree, until there are outbreaks of reasonableness in our public discourse, until we begin to discuss our differences and similarities, and until we approach each other and our problems with an open hand and an open mind, America will find itself falling ever more behind in this new century. Corrosive is the effect, and fatal may be the result of partisanship on our nation.

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

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

We can accept disagreement without being disagreeable in return. We don't have to require that we be treated well. We can accept the way other people treat us, in the sense that we don't get upset about it. We can assert our boundaries and refuse to accept the other person's position, without getting angry or upset. If we believe in our self and our own truths, then we can let the other person have their own truths, and just refuse to be affected by them.

Do we want to be happy, or do we want to be right? Whenever we are attached to being right, we are convinced the other person is wrong and we are right. As long as we cannot accept the idea that maybe they are also right, or at least realize that it just doesn't matter, we can't be free of our negative emotions or experience happiness and peace of mind. The more we accept the other person's reality as being authentic, the less upset we become.

As we become more accepting, we stop demanding that things go a certain way. It is part of our nature to want to give and receive love. When we demand things be a certain way, we are not giving love, and we seldom receive love in return when we don't give it. We get even less love when we give anger in return. Accept that there are many vantage points from which to look at the same thing. You can choose to change your way of looking at things to a way that is in line with happiness. The choice is yours.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Realize that it is not necessary to be offended when others disagree with you.

Tuesday: Realize that it is not necessary that other people accept your beliefs as true.

Wednesday: Accept and expect that others have truths that are different from your own.

Thursday: Do not get upset when others refuse to accept your truths.

Friday: Do not insist that others should believe as you do.

Saturday: Do not insist that others do things your way.

Sunday: Resolve to accept that the beliefs of others are appropriate for them.

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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