Dove with Branch
October 13, 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, Our father died recently. I am having a difficult time getting over it. My brother however doesn't even seem to be affected by it. Other than going to the funeral he hasn't seemed to be affected. Should I speak to him about his behavior and how disrespectful he is to our father? - Nancy in NC

Dear Nancy, You might speak to your brother and find some helpful tips for getting over the loss of your father. We all grieve in our own way and our own time. The sooner we are able to Let go and get on with our life the better our life will be. When we have a loss the object is to get over it as soon as possible if we want to have a happy life. There is no required or expected way to grieve. You are entitled to grieve as long as you want but you should not be asking or expecting others to grieve in the same way you do. - the Dean

Dear Dean, My mother doesn't approve of my wife. She thinks she is not good enough for me or to me. I knew this when we got married. I love my wife and love being with her and I like the way she is. She drinks but only socially. My mother refuses to even speak to her because she drinks alcohol. She often invites only me and the children to visit. How can I get my mother to accept her? - Todd in CO

Dear Todd, That is a decision your mother must make for herself. It would be helpful if you could accept that. Let your mother know you are firm in your choice and that you love them both and ask her if she could try to do the same. That is about the best you can do. If you feel the need ask her if she would keep her opinions to her self in a respectful way. Prepare to love and support them both and not let yourself be disturbed by your mother's honest feelings. - 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

What if we elected politicians whose job was to decide for the best interest of our society as a whole, instead of primarily for the people who supported them? Unless we are among the powerful or rich who are able to support an expensive election(advertising) campaign we end up the losers in our present way of choosing representatives. This means that most of us end up losers while the system continues to work to the benefit of the rich and the powerful. When we have opportunities to reduce that power by such things as reducing lobbying influence or campaign spending we often fail to take advantage of the opportunity. Unfortunately we have learned to focus on "What's in it for me?"

The concern of the government and of those who govern should be primarily for our society as a whole. If it is not, then it becomes divisive and wasteful. We will not have a peaceful and productive society until we focus on what is best for all of us, instead of what is best for ourselves personally.

A good example of this is the desire to keep making weapons of war simply because someone will lose a job if we quit making them. Another example is the concept many hold that if "Federal Money" is available then we should get it and spend it. We make our judgments based on the availability of the money rather than whether this is the most effective way to spend it. When we do this those who get the money win, and the rest of us lose. This is not a good way to run a society. Let's start electing representatives who are good at deciding for the best interest of all and who at least hold the interests of all that they represent above the dictates of their party.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

When we respond with humor, we are able to actually change something that may feel negative into something that feels positive to us and to others as well. By using humor, we're telling ourselves that we refuse to take things too seriously. Humor reduces the seriousness of your thoughts. It shows that you can laugh at your failures.

Humor laughs at your failures, but in an accepting and tolerant way. It helps you see another side of things. It reveals to you that, whatever misfortune or catastrophe has landed on your doorstep is not the end of the world. Humor is a love based emotion. When you use it you avoid feeling negative emotions.

Speakers invariably use humor to get the attention of their audience. They do this because of its powerful positive effect. Because most people like to laugh, humor tends to get the other person to accept what you are saying or doing in a positive way. When you use humor, it creates a positive feeling for your ideas in the hearts and minds of others. When used effectively, it is a powerful and wonderful tool. Learn to use it effectively and more happiness and joy will creep into your life; and those around you as well.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Decide to think that life is fun, and funny.

Tuesday: Decide to no longer take things too seriously.

Wednesday: Today read the comics in your newspaper and find something to laugh at in each one of them.

Thursday: Create an original joke and tell it until someone laughs.

Friday: Resolve never to be offended by jokes made in good humor.

Saturday: Practice finding humor in everything that is said today.

Sunday: Learn to look for and respond with appropriate humor in any situation.

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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