Dove with Branch
January 14, 2008 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 young male nephew who I have always been close to. We are really good friends since he was a baby and enjoy time together. The problem I have is that when we go out to dinner and are enjoying each other's company, others take it wrong. They treat me like they think I was Mrs. Robinson. It makes me uncomfortable. I really enjoy his company but I don't want others to think I am having an affair with a young boy. What should I do? - Sara in Memphis

Dear Sara, You are dealing with a problem of your own making. What other people think about you is their business, and is actually none of your business. What they think is their business and you can not or should not try to control that, if you value your own happiness. What you are doing and how you feel about it is your business. If you know you are doing what is right, that should be the end of your concern. We no longer live in a society where our code of conduct and moral behavior is determined by the opinion of others. Happiness and joy come when we learn to act in our own enlightened self-interest instead of an authoritarian idea of what is right and wrong. - the Dean

Dear Dean, My husband never seems to like the clothes I wear. He is always telling me to wear something more appropriate. I like to wear slacks and blouses with bright green colors. He doesn't like bright colors and thinks women shouldn't wear pants. Should I dress the way he wants? - Tomi in Colorado

Dear Tomi, Only if you want to! He would like you to dress differently and it is okay for him to let you know that. You, however, are the one who gets to choose what you wear. What he thinks is a factor you should consider. Ask yourself if you are doing this because it is what you want for yourself taking all things into account. - 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 worry about anthrax, a threat that kills almost no one, more than we do about influenza which kills about a quarter of a million people a year. Threats that are new, sudden, and more dramatic trouble us much more than those we have grown up with, and learned to accept.

How can we learn to evaluate the threat instead of the fear? I call this "keeping things in perspective." We need to stop when we are upset by something that is happening, or we fear will happen, and compare it with the other dangers and fears in our lives. Always ask yourself the question, "How important is this anyway?" Whenever you feel caught up in the drama of what is happening, or are upset with what is happening stop and ask yourself that question.

When we learn to keep things in perspective it allows us to be more accepting of our world, and what is happening in it. If we ask what we can do about something, and the answer is nothing, then learn to let go of the worry associated with it, or at least store it for a later date when you are ready to deal with it. When you choose to worry when you can do, or choose to do nothing the only thing you accomplish is making yourself upset.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

If you don't want to be angry at the world and what is happening in the world, then you need to make your world one of preferences. You can think: "This is the way I would like the world to be." And, "I will work to make the world the way I want it to be." And, "I enjoy doing this, this is my bliss, this is my way to change the world."

On the other hand, you could choose to carry a heavy negative charge on your emotions by thinking, "If the world isn't the way I want it to be, it is wrong." One of the keys to erasing anger from your life is, to delete the "musts" in your picture of the world. Be ready to accept the world for what it is. You can work to change the world when you are in disagreement with it, but accept it as it is for now.

Think of it as a world that you have a chance to improve, because you have a wonderful vision about how it could and should be. If you choose as your bliss working to make the world a better place, you will be better equipped to succeed by having a greater understanding of both yourself and the world.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Today I think about other people in the world, and why they think differently than I do. I try to put myself in their shoes.

Tuesday: I accept the idea that it is okay for others to have different values than I do.

Wednesday: Today I think about the things in the world that I would like to be different.

Thursday: Today I think about which of the things in the world that I want to become involved in changing.

Friday: Today I select the things in the world that I am going to work to change.

Saturday: Today I think about what I must learn in order help create meaningful change.

Sunday: Today I become involved in creating meaningful change in my 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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