Dove with Branch
November 26, 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 have a large family and to provide for them I have had to take a job with much stress and a long commute. When I get home I am tired and need some quite time but my family refuses to give to me. They are arguing or playing loudly and my wife refuses to keep them quiet. How can I get them to be quiet so I can relax? - Stuart in TX

Dear Stuart, I know that you are feeling the effects of a stressful day. You may feel that since you have been out there supporting your family that they should cater to your needs. However this is not the case. The need for peace and quiet is your problem not theirs. If you can't join in the fun in good humor then you need to find a place where you can go and experience the quiet time you seek. The last thing you want to do is get upset and be angry with them. This will not only make your immediate problem worse but it may also have some very negative long term effects as well. - the Dean

Dear Dean, I want to wear three earrings in each ear like most of the other kids do but my parents refuse to allow it no matter how hard I argue. I have explained that the other kids are doing it and have been willing to pay for it out of my allowance, but they still refuse. If I am not allowed to be like my friends I am not accepted by the group. How do I get my parents to realize how they are messing up my life? - Monica in Santa Monica

Dear Monica, You should state your case and your reasons clearly and completely to your parents. They will listen if you remain polite and not argumentative. You need to accept their decision if they say no. The fact that all of your friends are doing it is not a sufficient reason for you to be allowed to do it. It is reasonable to be required to live by your parents' values unless they are illegal or unhealthy. When you are an adult you will be able to make your own choices. Until you become an adult it is your task to accept your parents' choices. Until you become an adult think of yourself as a person in training. You can work on which rules you want to keep as an adult and be ready to take control of your life at that point. - 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 have developed a way of thinking in our society which I refer to as partisanship. This means that we choose up sides, and then do our thinking on the premise that whatever supports our side is what is right. When we make the decision of which side we are going to support we tend to give up our own independent thinking and accept the thinking of the group as our own. We no longer trust our self enough to do our own thinking. We are willing to put our trust in what the group says because belonging seems important to us.

This also means we resist whatever the other side says. We no longer try to understand their position. We no longer seek compromise. We feel we must prevail because we are right, and they are wrong. It is like being elated when our team wins the World Series - and depressed when they don't. We forget it is just a friendly game. We support it with our emotional life.

If we are aware we have this tendency, then we can pay attention and catch ourselves when we have this feeling. We are not going to be able to live well together, unless we are as caring and friendly with the fans of the opposing team just as we are with our own fans. Give up the idea that the other team - the other fans - the other country - the other religion - the other society, are the bad guys.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

In dealing with others, the best rule is to start from a place of trust, realizing and accepting that you could be wrong. People tend to respond to you in the same way that you act. You will receive more trust if you offer trust. If you offer distrust, then that is what you usually get back.

If you want to be free of negative emotions, you will need to choose trust. It is well worth the risk of a few disappointments because the only way you are going to find many rewarding relationship is to give them a chance. In order to find rewarding relationships you have to offer trust and see how it works out. If you don't get trust back, well it was going to happen sooner or later, and you have done your best. This is just one of those things in life that we need to takes risks on if we are going to have a rewarding life.

But remember it is a calculated risk that, while you have some failures, is the only way to get the big rewards. One of my personal rules is that I would much rather trust someone and end up being wrong than to not trust them and be wrong. When we trust we create the possibility of something really good happening. When we don't trust we are shut down and even though we may prevent a possible grief - we have not created a possibility for something good to happen.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Think about how the people you trust treat you.

Tuesday: Think about how the people you don't trust treat you.

Wednesday: Ask yourself if those you distrust might respond differently if you trusted them.

Thursday: Think about the opportunities you miss in life simply because you don't trust.

Friday: Realize that nothing good can happen unless you trust others.

Saturday: We willing to accept a few failures in order to achieve more and better relationships.

Sunday: Resolve to offer trust so that you can receive trust.

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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