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Dove with Branch
December 17, 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 sympathize with the girl in today's letter (10/29) who wants to get her ears pierced. I believe that her parents are being unreasonable. As long as my girls obeyed the rules of our household, I would allow them a simple expression of who they are, such as ear piercing. To repress your children's individuality will certainly cause rebellion. I have found that the more stringent the rules are, the more radical the behavior. What is really important here? Mom & Dad - pick your battles. - Paula

Dear Paula, My answer to Carla was dealing with the issue from her viewpoint. You have dealt with the issue well from the parent's point of view. We don't do a good job of teaching our children how to take responsibility for their lives by simply refusing to allow them to do what we don't want them to do. Thank you. - the Dean

Dear Dean, When my daughter sees something she wants on TV she keeps asking until I get so tired that I give in to her. How can I make her stop asking? - Hazel in Vancouver BC

Dear Hazel, She has learned that if she keeps asking you will say yes. She will keep doing this until you teach her that it will no longer work for her. Start by showing her that it won't work. Explain why it won't work, then teach her how to present her request to you in a way that you will fully consider it. When you say no, explain why you say no. And always, always do it in a loving way. You are the teacher. She learns her lessons from you. - 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 www.DeanOfPeace.com. to submit by e-mail.

Law, Politics & Society ... As I see them
  Globe Magnify Glass

When we come into this existence we have a natural desire to survive. The two basic models we have for survival are the competitive model where we learn to excel and then we succeed (survival of the fittest) and the cooperative model where we work together for our common good. They will both ensure the survival of the human race. But which one will provide us with the best quality of life?

The competitive life can produce a higher quality of life in material things for those who excel in the struggle. For the losers life is not so good. Because of this our nations have gradually shifted to the cooperative model. When we work together we produce more as a society. We do not have to waste our resources and energy in the competition to gather more of our resources for ourselves. The overall good is much higher when we learn to cooperate.

We understand this concept, yet we often have difficulty operating under the cooperative model. We think that it is because others want to take more than their share. We think it is the greed of others that is the problem and as a result we try to take us much as possible for ourselves to survive. Our resources are hoarded by the most powerful. We humans are social animals by nature and we care about others and are willing to share when we receive equal value in return. All we have to do is to learn to trust others and we will soon find that trust is returned in love and caring; and our society will prosper.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

When you communicate with someone who may be holding onto a lot of anger, the best way to deal with him or her is to show a genuine interest in them as a person and in the way that they view life. You'll likely find that when you communicate in this way, their defenses will drop and their hearts will open. Your authentic concern is a powerful diffuser of anger. You can learn how to show concern without validating their fear or anger.

Another very important aspect of communication that we often neglect is to understand the meaning that the other person has for the words they choose. I often find this a problem in doing workshops. I use a word one way and the listeners apply their own meaning to the word which is different from what I intended. This means that I haven't really communicated very well at all. When the response you get is not what you expect make sure that you and the other person really understand the same meaning for all of the words.

Always be vigilant that you both are using the same meaning for words. Realize that you often are not. Try to define or choose your words more precisely when ambiguity is possible. Always be receptive of the other person's definition of a word as appropriate; because it is for them. This is one issue that my wife and I have to pay very close attention to because we find we are often understanding something differently than what the other one is trying to say to us.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Today I think about how I can make friends just by being interested in other peoples concerns.

Tuesday: Let other people know you are interested in them by asking them to share theirs concerns with you.

Wednesday: If you are not sure of the meaning another person has to their words ask before you make an assumption.

Thursday: When the answer you get is not what you are expecting check to see what the other person thought you said and what they meant by the words they used.

Friday: Today I concentrate on avoiding ambiguity in my words.

Saturday: Today I learn to ask when I am not certain that I understand the meaning of what the other person is saying.

Sunday: I resolve that when I am disturbed by another person's words I will always seek clarity before responding.

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: www.DeanOfPeace.com

Additional Notes

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