Dove with Branch
May 5, 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, My 18 year old daughter went through a very rough time over 3 years ago. She had a boyfriend that made her miserable, suicidal, untrustworthy, angry all the time and she cut herself the entire year she was with him. They broke up when he cheated on her and slowly she pulled herself back together and had been happy, stable and trustworthy. A little over 2 weeks ago I noticed she is cutting again. She is angry about everything, snaps over the smallest thing and has begun going down hill in her school work. She overdosed on medication last week and I had to take her to the hospital. To top it all off I picked her camera up off the floor where it had fallen out of her coat pocket and there were tons of pictures of her ex-boyfriend. She is back with him and behaving the same way she did when she was 14-15 years old. How can I get her to see that this relationship she has with this boy is not healthy? He is a drug user and manipulates my daughter and ruins her self esteem. I just want her to have a happy healthy future. Less than a month ago she was on that path. Now she is angry, suicidal, and carving her skin. - Troubled Parent in ID

Dear Troubled Parent, You are at a place where you should seek professional help and consider a support group for yourself. Be supportive of your daughter. Don't criticize her for her behavior. She already knows she has a problem. Work with her to solve the problem. - the Dean

Dear Dean, My son is starting to fail in his school work and is hanging out with kids who are troublemakers and into drugs. What do you suggest? - Barbara in LA

Dear Barbara, Again, don't criticize. Take the time to get him to open up and tell you what the problems are. Ask lots of questions and give few suggestions. Let him know you are there to help. Guide him to find why what he is doing is not the best course to follow. - 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

Periodically I write about how we should make our political and social decisions with a consideration of all points of view. In our government we have single party rule. When the parties are more evenly divided; or in a spirit of cooperation, we talk about using a bipartisanship approach. The bipartisanship approach however considers only the views of the two parties. I believe we should develop the transpartisanship approach to government. Transpartisanship recognizes the existence and validity of many points of view. It advocates a constructive dialogue aimed at considering all points of view and arriving at solutions that meet the needs of everyone.

Transpartisianship is being increasingly employed by companies, universities, non-profit, and citizen groups for finding resolution to problems. If we are going to be an inclusive society that lives together in peace, we would benefit greatly if we would employ this concept at all levels of government. We can benefit from this concept in politics, culture, economics and other aspects of our society as well.

We can learn to share all viewpoints openly and honestly. Disagreements over issues need not undermine consensus if all parties are willing to search for an answer that accommodates all points of view. We will be able to find previously unanticipated solutions that can satisfy everyone.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Most often the anger directed toward us is due to the other person having different expectations than our own. They are operating under the assumption that we will act toward them in a certain way; and when we don't, their anger is triggered. They may have very different beliefs and be totally unaware of our point of view or motivation; or they simply may be very different from us in many ways.

In dealing with another person's emotions, it is important to be aware of the fact that the other person wants something to come out of their relationship with you. The key is to understand their expectations, and to help them understand yours.

Such mutual understanding is brought about by meaningful communication. Rather than expecting the other person to feel the same way as you do about the situation that has made them upset, make a real effort to find out how they are thinking about something. In order to get a good understanding of what's driving their upset, so that you can ultimately diffuse it, you need to hone your listening and communication skills. Train yourself to be a good listener by learning how to "listen deeply." To do this, you must put your own thoughts and beliefs on hold, and really focus on what the other person is saying.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: When someone is upset with you ask yourself why you think they are angry.

Tuesday: When someone is upset ask yourself what they are expecting from you.

Wednesday: When someone is angry with you ask yourself what different belief they have that is causing the upset.

Thursday: When someone is asking for something from you find out exactly what they are expecting and why they do.

Friday: When you are asking for something from someone make sure they understand exactly what you are expecting and why you expect it.

Saturday: When someone asks for something from you try to understand their request from their point of view.

Sunday: Resolve to always be a good listener, and understand fully the meaning and feeling of what others are relating to you.

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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