Dove with Branch
August 27, 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 am forty-five years old and my mother is still telling me what to do! She suggests things like my dinner menu and what I should wear when I go to parties. She will even tell my husband that what he is planning to wear isn't suitable for the occasion. I want to keep my mother in my life but how do I get her to stop giving me advice? - Harriet in WA

Dear Harriet, The first thing to do is to think carefully about whether you want her to stop giving advice. If you just let her speak her mind and continue to make your own choices you don't need to be upset by what she says to you. Your other options run all the way from explaining that you feel ready to make your own choices now, to breaking off regular contact with her. It may be difficult to get her to change. Think carefully about learning to tolerate her behavior before you make a choice that damages an otherwise good relationship. - the Dean

Dear Dean, We live in California and each summer we try to spend a summer at our family homes in Washington. We enjoy our three weeks there a lot but we have a problem with my wife's parents. They plan so many events for us. It's not so much that we don't enjoy them. It doesn't leave us enough time to do all the things we would really like to do. How can we find more time on our own without insulting them? - Stephen in Modesto

Dear Stephen, If you are going to make your decisions based on whether you insult them or not this may be difficult. I suggest you listen and accommodate them if you can make that work for you. Explain that you have other prior commitments when it won't. You can respect other's wishes and accommodate their good intentions when it works without letting them take control of your decisions. If being nice and just explaining your need or passion to do what you choose and let them keep trying to be helpful doesn't work for you, then perhaps you, your wife, or both of you, need to have a "heart to heart" with them. - 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 david Hazen   Globe Magnify Glass

We Americans are plagued with fears about not being good enough, not doing it right, not having the right answers. When we make mistakes, we blame and attack others instead of seeing the opportunity to learn. In attempting to divert attention from our low self-esteem we only make it worse. We become helpless, angry victims. This leads to violence that is both interpersonal and systemic, and our reputation around the globe is one of the most violent of nations. We have a cultural disease, an epidemic of violence carried by the virus of disrespect.

We who are very ill with our victim stance are unable to consider other possibilities for solving problems. We have a deep, paranoid cynicism about alternative conflict resolution methods. We deny the expensive and wasteful consequences of violence through false pride and bravado. This allows the cycle of violence to continue. We create, enable and sanction violent criminals, or we ourselves become criminal. We are not a free country. We have the largest percentage of our population in prison of any nation.

We are all in a prison of our own making. Violent thoughts, words and deeds, coming from the desire to be right, build the walls of solitary confinement. Do we want to be right, or do we want to belong to the human race? It's time to admit our violence is out of control, heal our broken hearts, and seek reconciliation. Do we respect ourselves enough to do this? Do we feel capable and worthy, as our Constitution says, of a "more perfect Union, [to] establish Justice, [and] insure domestic Tranquility?

Guest columnist David Hazen is the Oregon State Coordinator for The Peace Alliance Campaign for a Department of Peace. His e-mail address is

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Accept yourself as you are right now and as someone who is able to make any change that you truly desire; once you have decided to make the change.

Whether you like the results or not, you are doing the best you can right now. Recognize that. Accept yourself fully for what you are now. You may want to change to something different, but for now this is where you are. Wanting to be different doesn't mean you are not okay for now - it's just where you are at the moment.

Challenge the "shoulds" and "must do's" in your life by believing that in the greater scheme of things, this event is not all that important and I can either decide that I am going to do it because I want to; or I am not going to do it at all. If you feel you must do something because you are obligated but don't really want to, take the time to examine your belief system for conflicting beliefs. Try to bring these beliefs into agreement or assign priorities to them so that you will be able to accept your own decisions. For example, you have a cousin who was in jail and you feel you should be nice to him because he is family, but you don't want to be with him because you don't approve of his behavior. This is an obvious conflict in your belief system that is causing some distress. Take the time to determine your priorities and resolve this conflict.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Think about how you are trying to be the best person you know how to be.

Tuesday: Accept yourself as a loving and caring person.

Wednesday: Think about the things you don't like to do but do because you think that you should.

Thursday: Think about the changes you would like to make to become the person you hope to be.

Friday: Recognize that you have the power to make any changes you desire in your life.

Saturday: Think about the beliefs you have that cause you to become upset and identify the reasons that cause you to be upset.

Sunday: Resolve that when you make choices that result in your being upset that you will examine them and choose a new response that is not upsetting to you.

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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