Dove with Branch
October 22, 2007 Insights From the Dean of Peace
Notes from the Dean's Desk


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Ask the Dean?
Dean Van Leuven   Global Struggle

Dear Dean, I am the shipping supervisor for a large company. I am an expert in shipping efficiency as I have studied it and worked in the field for years. I was chosen for my efficiency skills. The problem is that when I institute new plans that will create efficiency the employees always resist them and we end up with the opposite result. What can I do to get my employees to go along with me? - Fred in Pittsburgh

Dear Fred, If your job is to be a shipping supervisor you have only learned half of the job. As a supervisor your task includes getting the work done efficiently. This means you must get the other employees to buy into your ideas for change. That is part of your job. Start by liking them and appreciating their point of view and warming them to the task by getting them to understand the advantages for the changes you suggest. - the Dean

Dear Dean, My husband's father frequently makes bigoted remarks in our home in front of our children. When I ask him to stop he says that it is just his way and he means no harm, and keeps on making the bigoted remarks. How should I deal with this situation? I am considering not allowing him to come into my home. - Chelsea in CA

Dear Chelsea, Bigoted remarks are not appropriate in a loving world and we should not leave the impression that they are. Since your father-in-law comes to your home I assume he has a loving relationship with your husband which should not be discouraged. You do not need to accept the remarks as appropriate in you and your children's presence and finding some way for that to not happen would be appropriate. Perhaps he can understand your concern for your children's education. A solution which drives a wedge between your husband and his father would not be positive. Do not stop loving the messenger even if you have a problem with the message. - 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

The idea that we can understand our emotions is a new idea. The concept is that once we understand our emotions and those of others we will be able to make better decisions in our relationships with other people. Even newer is the concept that we are actually able to implement changes in our belief system and response patterns so that we can change our emotional response to any given event.

In the field of sociology this is a huge advance! Once we learn how to use this concept effectively in our personal lives we are no longer controlled by our emotions. We are free to make decisions that are in our own best interest. When we ask the question, "How is that working for me?" and the answer is, "not very well" we will be able to find a new answer that works for us and create a new belief based on that experience. When we find our fear or anger being destructive to our well being in some way we can simply choose a new and more effective way of responding.

When it comes to relationships with other countries we can look at history and see that hate, domination and warfare have been destructive to our world society. Because we know that better choices are available we will no longer feel bound to follow the old ways that have caused so much destruction for so many years. As Dr. Martin Luther King would say, "Free, free at last." That freedom is just sitting there waiting for us to choose it. All we have to do is change the way we feel about things.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Humor is a good way to divert you attention from a stressful situation so that you can more easily accept and deal with it. You experience what you are focusing on. With your focus on humor, you are focusing on positive emotions. The anxiety of anticipating something is greatly lessoned by focusing on the humor. When you anticipate the stress, you then feel the pain. The basic rule is that what you dwell on becomes yours. Joke with the dentist when he is pulling your tooth, and you will have less pain. The story of Doctor Patch Adams and how he uses humor in healing his medical patients is a great example of what humor can do for us. Other doctors have successfully used laughter as a cure. This works because we shift into our positive emotions when we laugh.

We use humor all of the time in our society as a way of deflecting the stress and other negative emotions in our lives. The reason why the best professional comedians are so popular and well respected is that they have a powerful positive effect on our emotions. Erma Bombeck, Robin Williams, George Burns, Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Bill Cosby, and many more have become immortal because they help us to see the world's problems - and our own - including the things that upset us - in a new light, a laughable light.

Take the opportunity whenever you can to look, read, or listen to humor - and take the time to appreciate it. Make it a practice to tell others about the things you see that are especially funny to you.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Today I decide to look at the funny side of life.

Tuesday: Every time I feel stressed about something I stop and look for a humorous way of looking at the event.

Wednesday: Whenever I do something that brings on stress I stop for a moment and find the humor in it.

Thursday: Today I read the comics and find something funny in each comic strip.

Friday: Today I watch a funny movie or a comic on TV.

Saturday: Today I laugh about whatever is troubling me.

Sunday: I resolve to find the humor in each and every event that occurs in my life.

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:

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