Dove with Branch
July 14, 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, I am a working mother. I stayed home until my children were in school and get home early so that I have time to be with them. My husband and I agreed to this. We both work a regular eight hour day. My husband refuses to help with the housework. As a result I have much less time with the children and he just uses his time to watch TV. I have talked to him but he refuses saying it is "women's work." How can I get him to help with the housework? - Rachel in CO

Dear Rachel, It seems you are making good choices for your children, congratulations! Obviously you and your husband have a different view of the relationship. Have your explained to him why you need help with the housework? If you have and he still doesn't care, then you have an even larger problem. You need to find a way to balance the load in your relationship; accept that you are the heavy load bearer; or find some other way to resolve this problem; such as leaving the work that affects him undone. If you are skilled in this you should be able to save the relationship and the family both, without having to carry such a heavy load. - the Dean

Dear Dean, My wife likes to be comfortable at home and won't even put on her best clothes when I bring clients and associates home from work. It is important to impress my clients. What can I do? - Philip in CA

Dear Philip, You have many choices. You can get your wife to see value for the family in looking her best for clients. You can accept how she is as appropriate. You can take your clients elsewhere. You can choose different work. You can choose a different wife (probably a poor choice). Or you can just be okay with it and make do. The choice is up to you and your skill in negotiating with your wife. Perhaps you can offer her something she finds equally valuable in return for her help with your work. Good luck! - 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 grow up in our own Society and we are taught pretty clear rules about what is right and what is wrong. We know what we "should expect" from other people, and what they "should expect" from us. When we are growing up, we learn to comply with these rules because others get upset at us and punish us in some way - if only by the way they accept and respond to us. We learn to follow the rules because of the trouble it causes when we don't. We punish others by the way we respond to them when we don't think they are following the rules.

This works fairly well when we live in a homogeneous society where we have all learned the same rules. When we try to apply our rules to others who have different values, we run into problems. When I lived in other countries, I often found that many who visited would become upset because they weren't being treated according to their own rules. "They are wrong; we know the rules and we will correct them!" - was their thinking.

Unfortunately this thinking often carries over to our expectations of what is right or wrong in relationships between countries. We make judgments that they are wrong and must change their behavior. How would you feel if the positions were reversed? We do need some rules about what is right and wrong for all. However they should be created by common agreement, treaty, a world governing body, or some other way we can come to agreement. Dictating how others must act, when we "know" they are wrong only leads to trouble. To live in Peace we must build a path that all societies are willing to walk down.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

We tend to perceive information that supports the beliefs that we have. First of all, we take note of the information presented to us that validates our beliefs, and often fail to notice things that do not. Next, we interpret the information we receive in a way that is consistent with our existing beliefs, and often fail to notice things that do not. For example, we always interpret a close call in a sporting event in the light most favorable to our team.

What if this wasn't necessarily the case? What if we considered information in light of other people's beliefs? And what if we always looked at things from other points of view before making a decision? In order to win at trial, lawyers are trained to carefully examine the other point of view. If they do not, they will not be prepared to respond with the best argument for their case.

Likewise you can learn to examine the information you receive from the point of view of all possibilities. This allows you to choose responses that are more effective and are more in tune with the way the world works. The more effective your responses are, the happier your life will be.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: I notice how I always agree with my own thinking.

Tuesday: I think about the possibility that other's beliefs are as valid as my own.

Wednesday: Any time I take notice of something I try to see if there are other possible ways of thinking about it.

Thursday: I ask myself how others think about the things that concern me.

Friday: I examine other points of view to understand why others reach a different conclusion.

Saturday: I accept the beliefs of others as valid for them.

Sunday: I create harmony between my beliefs and the beliefs of others.

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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