Dove with Branch
June 9, 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 friend who doesn't like the car I drive and she mentions it constantly. I tell her that I don't like to be criticized, but she says "Friends should let each other know what they think." I don't think that friends should criticize each other, am I right? - Sylvia in CO

Dear Sylvia. I think that you think friends shouldn't criticize each other - and that you look at her giving her opinion of your car as criticism. If what someone thinks of you is of no value or hurtful to you then you will want to avoid them - or get over it. Many think it is really great to have someone they can trust to give them an honest opinion. You might remind her that she has already let you know how she feels. If I had a friend who was doing this to be helpful I would appreciate it very much. If what they said upset me, then I would try to examine and change how I feel about it. Friends sometimes bring out our insecurities. If they are doing it in a loving way then we can be thankful. - the Dean

Dear Dean, My son-in-law does not like me. He will not invite me to his home and won't carry on a conversation with me. I have a granddaughter that I have never even seen because he won't allow my daughter to bring them to my home. My daughter has chosen to abide by his wishes even though I know it hurts her very much. He won't even allow her to call or write. He won't even let me know why he is upset with me. How can I find a way to see my daughter and granddaughter whom I love very much? - Nancy in CA

Dear Nancy, If he refuses to talk to you and you are unable to talk to your daughter as well, then gracious acceptance of the situation is probably your best bet in the long run. Perhaps time will change things. Have great compassion for your daughter and try not to make things more difficult for her than they already are. For whatever reason, she has chosen to abide by her husband's wishes. It was most likely not an easy choice for her. Try not to add to her suffering by showing your pain to her. Telling her that you understand without saying more would be a great gift under the circumstances. - 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 say we would like to have peace, but it never happens. It is always the "other persons fault." There seems to be an unlimited supply of "other persons" in the world, and perhaps we are sometimes one of them our selves. Why do we always get angry and blame the other guy when things don't go our way? It is because we think they are wrong and we are right. Isn't it possible we are both right; and both wrong when we get angry?

If we are to have peace we must learn to stop getting angry at other people. When we get angry at others we quit treating them with respect. We are no longer caring, or even open to why they think the way that they do. When we are angry we have the idea that they must do it our way, or we will make them do it. We think they are bad and should be punished.

We are willing to impose our power, to the death if need be to make them do it our way. This may lead to victory if they are weak. We may be happy for the moment because we have things our way. But instead of solving the problem it only sets us up for more conflict in the future. We have made an enemy that we didn't need to make! When we listen to others, understand their differences, and seek resolution we can create a peace that will be lasting.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

The most common cause of old anger is unresolved issues from our family of origin (usually our parents). Not only are such angers the most common; they are also the strongest and often the most deeply buried. We bury these angers because we don't want to keep feeling the hurt, and because we need to be able to function in our family, and in the world.

We learn a particular belief system from our families, but as we become adults we change at least part of that system, so that some of our old beliefs no longer fit. The old beliefs no longer serve us well but we haven't released them. They lead to our making poor choices and feeling unnecessary stresses. The problem is that most of the time we don't realize that this is happening.

Once you find a problem in the present that is difficult to solve look for some old beliefs from the past that may be leading you to stress and ineffective decisions. Once you locate these beliefs and their source you can then replace then with new more effective beliefs that are in harmony with your present belief system.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Today I think about all of the lessons I have learned from my mother.

Tuesday: I decide which lessons I learned from my mother I would like to keep in my life. I appreciate them.

Wednesday: I decide which beliefs I learned from my mother I want to release and create a new belief to take its place.

Thursday: Today I think about the lessons I have learned from my father.

Friday: I decide which lessons I learned from my father I would like to keep in my life. I appreciate them.

Saturday: I decide which beliefs I learned from my father I want to release and create a new belief to take its place.

Sunday: Today I rejoice in the new beliefs I have chosen for my life.

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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