Dove with Branch
January 7, 2008 Insights From the Dean of Peace
Notes from the Dean's Desk

Dear Peacemaker,


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Ask the Dean?
Dean Van Leuven   Global Struggle

Dear Dean, Regarding Candice (12/24): If our husbands are to expect a loving relationship from us they should listen to our needs. If we need someone to listen to our problems and lend a sympathetic ear they should be willing to do that. If they don't we are just going to go elsewhere to find someone to listen. All too often we end up having an affair because we are attracted to another man who will listen to us. It would be a wise thing on the husband's part if he would pay attention to Candice's need. - Jerri in Bakersfield

Dear Jerri, , Yes it would be the wise thing for her husband, or any husband for that matter to lend a sympathetic ear. This is not a good reason for the wife to look elsewhere and there are other better solutions available that would not necessitate breaking up the marriage. If that is the biggest problem with a marriage it can be easily solved without breaking up the marriage. Most marriages that end in divorce are due to lack of skill in finding a way to get our needs met. Once we get angry we stop getting and receiving love and the marriage falls apart. - the Dean

Dear Dean, Regarding Candice (12/24): How can she have a satisfactory relationship with someone who decides he is the boss and tells her what to do? - Shari in Seattle

Dear Sheri, By deciding not to pay any attention to him, by not listening to him, by not asking for his advise, by respecting his advise and considering it. She has many choices in how she wishes to respond to his habit of giving advice when being presented with a problem. If she thinks a satisfactory relationship is having things her way then of course as long as she looks at the situation and thinks she is not having things her way then the relationship will not be satisfactory. - 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

In speaking of laws governing economics, Plato said, "I should have thought that laws and institutions of that order do not deserve the attention of a law-giver worthy of the name, no matter whether the constitution be good or bad. If it is bad, they are useless and affect nothing; if good, some are such as anyone could devise, and the rest will follow themselves from practices we have already instituted."

This statement brings forth issues we should seriously consider in regulating our society. The more regulations we make just to make sure that everything is done in the "right way," the more complicated we make our life. In all probability we will also end up with less "good" because we expend so much energy in just following all the rules that we can't accomplish nearly as much in the long run as we could otherwise.

The problem with rules is that they need to be written to cover any possible situation. As a result we either have to follow complicated rules at considerably added expense in simple situations, or go through a complex procedure to get them waived when we need to make variations. We could accomplish so much more in the long run if we kept the rules simple, and deal with problems and abuses on a case by case basis as they arise, instead of the other way around.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

One way to reduce our susceptibility to anger is to be open to the possibility of other right answers for our self and for others. Just accepting the possibility that the answer may change if we have more information keeps us open to the idea that the judgment that we have made is only tentative, and always subject to change. When we view a judgment in this manner, we don't have a strong emotional investment in it. And we find it easier to make changes when we receive new information that is not in agreement with our present thinking. It also makes it much easier to recognize when new information is not in agreement with our judgment.

In this society we have learned to view differences as an attack. We have learned to marshal arguments to support our view of the truth. It is like we are debaters who are assigned a side and then defend it as our own truth. We tend to buy into our own story and the first thing we know it becomes our truth. If we can learn to give up the need to always have a truth then then becomes much easier for us.

Sometimes you must make a choice because you must determine an action NOW. Choose a response based on your best thinking, but don't place any emotional value on your choice. Don't take your truths too seriously. Always be looking for a better answer than the one you are acting on. When you see the possibility of a better choice, be open to changing your thinking. Rather than defending your original choice, see what you might learn by considering someone else's.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: I think about the idea that I don't know everything about anything.

Tuesday: I think about the idea that I could possibly be wrong about anything and everything.

Wednesday: I learn to be open for and to examine new information.

Thursday: I fully examine new information that is not in agreement with my opinion.

Friday: I learn not to take disagreement by others as an attack on myself.

Saturday: I always choose the best response available to me based on the information I have.

Sunday: I change my response whenever I see a better possibility.

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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