Dove with Branch
September 22, 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 friends are all going to Europe to study and tour the countries this summer. My parents pay more attention and give more to my brother than they do to me. I am a junior in High School but I don't even want to live at home anymore. How can I get them to treat me as an equal with my brother? - Rebecca in TX

Dear Rebecca, It doesn't sound like a good reason to leave home. It does sound like a good reason to have a discussion with them. Without being angry or upset find out why they don't want to allow or support your trip to Europe. Explain pleasantly why you think it would be valuable for you to go. Respect their answer until you are an adult and ready to do it on your own. Your parents are your teachers and guardians for now. They are responsible for your care and education. You should respect their choices. Very soon you will be making your own decisions. Try to learn and understand why they make the decisions they do. As harsh as it seems, you are not entitled to fairness as a matter of right. - the Dean

Dear Dean, My friends at school are able to wear the latest fashions. My parents will not let me wear them because they say that they are too expensive and not important. If don't wear them I won't be accepted by my friends. How can I get my parents to buy me the latest fashions? They are important to me. - Paul in NJ

Dear Paul, Tell your parents why you want the new clothes and what it feels like to you not having them - and then accept their answer. Your parents are teaching you a certain way of life that they believe is important. They may feel that things other than being popular are more important. Respect their wishes and learn from the lessons they are teaching. It will help you to make better decisions when you are on your own. - 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

Even though we are still experiencing a lot of strife in the world, I get the feeling that peace is gradually breaking out. I feel this way because of all the e-mail I am receiving from people telling me about their own personal peace projects and what other groups are doing; stories about churches and universities that are establishing peace centers. The common thread that runs through all of these is that they are positive centers for peace and are not established as resistance movements.

It looks as if we are really beginning to learn the lesson that we do not establish peace by fighting wars. Fighting against war is not peace. It is just another kind of war. We think that to fight for peace is justified because of the purpose, but it is still war! It is impossible to be peaceful when we are trying to impose our way on others no matter how good the cause may seem. If we are going to have peace the first thing we must learn is to stop fighting, even for good stuff like peace. The very fight itself produces a lack of peace.

When we have learned to be at peace with ourselves and those around us then we will be able to experience peace in the world. As long as there is power in the belief that we can impose our way on others or solve our differences through force we cannot be peaceful. The more of us who understand and care about this, the more peace we will have. Learn peace - teach peace - and we will have peace.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Gaining and maintaining the commitment to make positive changes in your life requires thought, feeling and behavioral change - none of which is easy. So give yourself credit and keep telling yourself how much harder your life will be if you don't change. The benefits are worth all that work - many times over. Be willing to do the work, knowing that peace and joy lie ahead.

You can't change, unless you think you can. You must get over, "I tried but I failed, therefore I can't." You must realize that you can change your beliefs. Realize you have accomplished difficult things before. Know that change requires significant thought and effort. Stop thinking "I will change;" instead, think, "I am in the process of changing." If you think of changing your beliefs in some positive way, as something you will do, you'll be tempted to put off doing the work required to arrive at a better life.

You may find it more effective to commit to changing only one or two of your habitual negative responses at a time. Work with each of them until you have them pretty well mastered, and then commit to additional changes. If you focus on fewer changes, it will be easier to keep them in focus. Whereas, if you try to change every single time when anger flairs, you might be taking on more than you will find the energy to maintain.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Think about the changes you would like to make in the different areas of your life.

Tuesday: Decide what changes you would make in each of these areas.

Wednesday: Think about what you need to learn or do to make each of changes you have decided to make.

Thursday: Think about which changes are the most important to you.

Friday: Think about which changes will be the most difficult to make.

Saturday: Prioritize your changes and select the ones you will begin now.

Sunday: Start and maintain the process of change. Work on new changes as the first ones are completed.

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:

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