Dove with Branch
July 21, 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, My husband's son lost his job and his home. He came to live with us until he could get back on his feet again. Fortunately he is single. He has been here three months. He doesn't look for work. He doesn't help with the housework. He stays out late drinking. He shouts at our children for making so much noise. We don't want to throw him out on the street. How can we get him to leave? - Pamela in CA

Dear Pamela, Of course you really could throw him out if you wanted too; but you are a caring person who is willing to help family who are willing to help themselves. Consider going to al-anon. If you want to help more, offer counseling and conditions that must be met to stay. If you don't want to invest any more, or need to be free of the negative energy, then set a date for him to leave. Consider finding him a room and paying the first month rent if you feel you can't throw him out. - the Dean

Dear Dean, Some people just have to be right all of the time. I think they are insecure and need to feel right just so they don't feel depreciated. I try to deal with this by not paying any attention to them and if necessary limit the conversation or in some cases even keep them out of my life by ending the relationship. - Wren in FL

Dear Wren, Feeling upset by someone having the last word is a signal that we should pay attention to and find out why we have the problem. If we think they shouldn't be right is that a signal that we think we should be right? Why is it upsetting to us not to be right, or have our thoughts validated by the other person? It is much easier, and much more satisfying, to work on our own issues than it is to try to change the other person. - 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

Let's teach our children a better lesson! Let's teach them that they should consider other viewpoints when making a decision. Because of our exaggerated viewpoint about right and wrong - especially when it comes to political parties - we teach our children to keep telling other people how stupid they are. And to keep it up until they agree with us. They learn their lessons from what they see us doing. Is this the example we want to set for them?

When we learn this behavior and talk to those who do not agree, we become entrenched in our positions, and are unable to influence each other's thinking. No-one is influenced by the others' words and we end up in arguments that sometimes deteriorate into fights. The only way we can enjoy life is to be around others who think like we do - unless of course we truly enjoy being mean spirited and making the lives of others unhappy. We are like spoiled children who must always have our way.

Remember that if we had the same belief that another person had, we would think like they do. They are honest people acting in their own beliefs about what is right and wrong. Learn to respect the other person's point of view, and pass that lesson on to your children. Others will listen to us when they realize that we respect them for who they are. If we work together, we can find positive solutions that will work better for all of us. When we vilify those who disagree with us we can not live together in peace.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Be your own person and honor the rights of others to be their own person. If you think that the world, or some other person, owes you something, then you have set yourself up for anger when things that you think should happen don't. When we learn not to expect from others, we both end up being happier, and more fulfilled.

Furthermore, the expectations of others are going to be different than our own, and to assume that they are the same will only cause problems. We create conflict for ourselves all the time by assuming that others expect what we expect. This is especially obvious in marriage. We often marry someone expecting that they will act according to society's accepted rules for marriage partners, or the same way our parents did, or that our marriage will resemble that of our parents in some general way.

But we have no right to expect that someone live up to our expectations unless they agree to. Just because they marry us doesn't mean that our partner has agreed to do the cooking and the cleaning, or to be the breadwinner. Anything you consider important in your marriage should be agreed to ahead of time. Remember that the customary ways that things are done in this society are just general rules, and are only relevant to those who accept them. Don't fall into the trap of thinking someone should be a certain way just because most others are.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Think about the things you do just to make others happy.

Tuesday: Think about doing or not doing those things in a way that makes everyone happy.

Wednesday: Think about the things that you expect others to do your way.

Thursday: Accept that others are free to do or not as they choose.

Friday: When you have a difference of opinion with someone, ask them about their expectations.

Saturday: Talk with your partner and/or friends about their expectations of you.

Sunday: Release others from the expectations you have of them.

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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