Dove with Branch
December 01, 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, I come from a large family, just as Drew (11/17) does. The real joy in the life of large families is that we love and care for each other. If it looks like you against the rest of the family, I suggest you take a hard look at why this is happening. If the rest are getting along your differences may be from something in the way that you are relating to them. You may need to change a little to fit in. Think about it! You may find it worth changing a little. - Gerry in VA

Dear Gerry, You are right to suggest changing to fit in with the rest of the family because the rewards are great. Consider also that it may be a matter of respect. We can learn to stand in our own truth and still get other people's respect. For most people being respected is more important than your being just like them. - the Dean

Dear Dean, We had a great family reunion this summer and my sister Sheryl who lives just two hours away was "to busy" to make it to the party. She could have taken the time if she really wanted to come. I think the family is as important as a concert. This is the last time she will be invited to a party at our place. - Carol in CA

Dear Carol, I don't know about your sister's problem and why she chose not to attend, but it is evident that you have an anger problem. Being angry when others don't do what you like is just a learned behavior that is not very effective in creating loving relationships. Your sister has reasons which you may be totally unaware of for not attending. Allow her to make her decisions for her own reasons instead of your desires; and respect her for them. Tell her everyone really missed her and let her know everyone hopes that she can make it next time. - 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

Over the centuries we have fought many wars in the name of freedom. People become convinced that someone is controlling, or trying to control their freedom and they are willing to go to war to gain, or protect it. We think of freedom as a circumstance of our life rather than a quality of life. We often forget that freedom is more about how we feel than our actual limitations.

When we see ourselves as free then we are free, regardless of the circumstances of our condition. When we think we are free, then we refuse to be subjugated by anyone or anything. We can even be free when we are in jail if we are there because we have chosen the acts that put us there. Freedom is a state of mind not a circumstance of life.

Freedom is a quality of life that others cannot give or take away. It is the nature of who we are. We choose to be free or not, and are only subjugated when we accept not being free. Just because others in the past have accepted not being free does not mean that we must. We lose our freedom whenever we try to take it away from others, because that is based on the belief that people can be subjugated which is a belief that creates our own fear of subjugation. When we as individual humans truly embrace freedom, then war will no longer exist.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

We use anger in disciplining our children because we become upset at what they do, and we then become angry. We then tend to mix our anger in with the lessons we are trying to teach the child. But when we mix the "lesson" with the anger, we end up teaching the child it is okay to respond with anger. As parents we often don't even realize that we are using anger. So the first step in dealing with your anger as a parent is to become aware of how you feel when you relate to your children.

When we respond out of love, the child learns love. If we are free of anger, we teach children love, not anger. We give them a life of positive feelings. Just knowing that we can raise our child without anger should be reason enough for us to put forth the effort to get rid of our own anger.

Learn to talk about feelings with your children. Find out what upsets them and why. Find out why they feel the way they do. Work with them to solve the problems and to release their anger. Even though their friends display anger, they can learn from you that they don't need to use it themselves. Teach them that they can be far more effective, and accomplish more as a person, if they are not controlled by anger.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: I will pay attention to when I experience anger in relating to my children.

Tuesday: I understand that I am my children's teacher.

Wednesday: I understand that my children have learned their lessons in life from me.

Thursday: If my children make a mistake it is because they have not yet learned how to deal with a particular issue.

Friday: When my children make a poor choice I lovingly teach them how to make a better one.

Saturday: I accept my children's failures and appreciate their successes.

Sunday: The life my children experience will reflect my success as a teacher and a parent.

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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