Dove with Branch
June 23, 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, Regarding the Mother who isn't able to communicate with her daughter (6/09) and has never seen her granddaughter. In this instance peace and harmony can come at a great price. Why is her son-in-law isolating her daughter? This is a sign of abuse and should be checked into. - Michelle in KS

Dear Michelle, You may well be right. There was not enough information in the letter to more than suggest the possibility of abuse. The daughter may well have a consensual agreement with her husband about this. The mother didn't indicate she suspected abuse but if she does she should certainly explore that possibility further; and report it to authorities if she finds support for the idea that her daughter is not willingly consenting to this. Most of us would not tolerate this kind of control by a spouse, nor should we. However, her daughter is entitled to agree to her husband's requests. - the Dean

Dear Dean, My husband and I have been married for twelve years. I would like to receive some love and attention from him and tell him so. I feel like he just wants someone to take care of him and the children. He never acts like he cares for me even though I remind him repeatedly. Should I have a life without love just to keep the family together for my children's sake? - Nancy in CA

Dear Nancy, The basic rule when we are faced with problems in life is: Accept it, Change it, Leave it - or Accept it. You have made efforts for change and have not been successful. You may want to put more effort into getting answers from him about why you have this problem and how it could be resolved. If that doesn't work you must make a choice that takes into consideration the interest of the family. No matter what your choice the relationship between your husband and children is important. Look for a loving solution with an open heart and mind. Whatever answer you choose accept it with love. - 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 see freedom as the right to do as we please without interference from others. We have the right to become more educated, choose our religious faith, and our form of government. We also have the right to know what is right and to fight for our causes. The problem with this concept of freedom is that it does not take into consideration the freedom of others. If they do not agree with our "right causes," then we think they are wrong and must be corrected or submit to our will.

We need to expand our idea of freedom to include the right of freedom for other people. They have the same rights to have causes and beliefs that are different than our own. We need to consider the right of other people to be free as important as our own right to be free! When we expect them to conduct themselves in a certain way just because it is the way we think it should be done we limit their freedom.

Once we see freedom as something we create together we see the necessity of understanding the other person's point of view instead of treating it as wrong. We don't consider the interests others just to be fair. We do so in our own self interest. When I realize my freedom depends on allowing freedom for others, I will pay more attention to and be more accepting of what they say and do.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

It is not the triggering event itself that produces our anger; it is what goes through our mind when prompted by the trigger. Our emotions result from our perceptions, and our perceptions result from our observations plus our preconditioning. Our preconditioning includes our belief system, the way we are trained to respond, and what already exists in our memory file (past events and judgments). Understanding what this process is and how it works helps us to be able to make changes.

We train ourselves to respond to potential anger-inducing events in a different way by learning to process information differently. Once we choose to respond in a different way, it becomes a matter of updating our operating systems with the new material so we will get new results when we receive information into our brain.

In a computer, we have to put in new information and delete the old. We do the same with our brain, but it is much more difficult to delete the old unwanted information. The more we practice this process, however, the more adept we become.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: When I get upset I ask myself, "what am I thinking that makes me upset?"

Tuesday: When I get upset at something I ask myself, "why do I think it should upset me?"

Wednesday: I ask myself if it would better not to become upset.

Thursday: I think about new ways to think about the things that are upsetting me.

Friday: I choose a new positive belief to replace the old upsetting belief.

Saturday: I focus on deleting the old way of thinking from my mind.

Sunday: I enjoy the new positive way of responding that allows me to no longer become upset.

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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