Dove with Branch
September 10, 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, Like Harriet (8/27) my mother was still telling me what clothes I should wear even though I was thirty-five years old. I finally decided that it was time to make my own decisions. When I told my mother to please let me make my own choices she said she did it because I didn't know how. I pointed out that she was right and that I was never going to learn until I did it for myself, and that she wasn't always going to be there to choose for me. She understood and after a few glowing errors I am now doing pretty well. - Donald in NJ

Dear Donald, Great work! You were assertive in a positive way and solved the problem without creating stress between the two of you. Congratulations! - the Dean

Dear Dean, We have a bully in our school that is always making fun of me. He makes fun of the clothes I wear and the food I eat. He even makes fun of the way I talk. No matter what I do he makes fun of me. It upsets me so much that I don't even want to go to school! I tell him how much it hurts, but that only encourages him to do more. How can I get him to stop? - Edgar in Portland

Dear Edgar, He keeps picking on you because you allow yourself to be upset. He is someone who enjoys creating pain for others. When you understand this and accept yourself as being okay no matter what he says you will be able deflect his attacks without being upset. When you do the fun will be over for him and he will stop. What is even more important, you will learn to like yourself, and life. - 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

Many of us live in a world of turmoil. We often fail to realize that inner peace and joy are equally available to each of us. Regardless of the circumstances in our life it is a personal decision whether we allow ourselves to be upset by them - or not. We will accept anything as appropriate if we personally believe that is the way life should be. And we will fear anything we believe is fearful.

We accepted the idea that communism was going to take over the world and that we must prevent it from advancing at every turn and at any cost. As a result of this fear we entered into war of rebellion against the government in Vietnam. Many lives were lost and even though we lost, the results turned out well. Things would have turned out even better had we not entered the war. Life is too dear to lose it over our irrational fears.

The next time we want to enter into a fight with someone I suggest that we look at the situation from their point of view, and try to determine what they want to accomplish instead of looking just at our fear of what could happen. The world is not naturally a "dog eat dog" world. We have made it that way unnecessarily because of our distrust and fears. Everyone may want something from someone else, but we have learned long ago that we can accomplish more by trading than fighting.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Children need to learn boundaries. They must learn the rules of our society. Teach them these things with love. Permissiveness is not love. And assertiveness is not anger. Model love for them, and they will see the value in not being fearful or angry. Remember, your child needs values, your time, and love; not things. Worthwhile values are imparted when you parent with love. The reward for this style of parenting is a happy and independent child with whom you will have a loving relationship for the rest of your life. Always, always, remember to treat your children with love.

Never accept anger from your child as appropriate behavior. Children learn to use anger when it is effective for them. They will keep using it as long as it works. Part of our job, as a parent is to not allow anger to be effective for our children. It is our task to show them a more effective way to deal with their problems. Whenever your child is angry, lovingly demonstrate to him or her that it is not appropriate behavior. Teach your child to find a more effective way of dealing with problems. As soon as your child is old enough to communicate verbally, teach them about expressing and dealing with their feelings.

Our children learn fear when we teach them that the world is a dangerous place, and that they must be fearful of dangerous things in order to protect themselves. Learn to teach them that this is a wonderful world in which good things happen when we are trusting and alert. Teach them to pay attention to provide for their well being, knowing that doing the best they can, will be enough.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Think about the love you have for your children.

Tuesday: Recognize that you want your children to have a happy and enjoyable life.

Wednesday: Recognize that your children learn their lessons in life from you.

Thursday: Remember that if you model anger, your children will learn anger.

Friday: Recognize that if your child makes a mistake it is because he/she has not yet learned the lesson.

Saturday: Resolve to teach your children how to correct their mistakes in a loving way.

Sunday: Resolve to teach your children to love and trust the world.

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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