Dove with Branch
January 26, 2009 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 have a good friend who will come over to visit and while we are talking promise to help me on some project I talk about. We make a date for him to come over and help but he almost never shows up. Just last weekend he promised he would come over and help me repair a fence and he never came or called. The next time I saw him he never even mentioned it, let alone say he was sorry. What can I do to get him to keep his promises? - Josh in CA

Dear Josh, You might ask him if he would like a reminder call. Perhaps that morning, or when you are about ready to start. He has developed this behavior pattern that he has apparently chosen to do nothing about. If you reject him perhaps he will care enough to change, but don't count on it. If you want to keep the relationship the thing you must learn is to expect that kind of behavior as normal for him, and not be upset by unrealized expectations based on his promises. - the Dean

Dear Dean, My wife has told me that I must quit shouting at her when I get upset or she is going to leave me. She makes a lot of mistakes and doesn't seem to care about correcting them. I was taught that when someone makes a mistake they must do what they can to correct it. I don't shout at her because she makes mistakes, I shout at her because she doesn't fix them the way she should. What do you suggest? - Ken in ID

Dear Ken, Your expectations of your wife don't match her way of looking at the world. She has a habit of not doing things the way you want them done and you have a habit of being upset when she doesn't. You have a habit that causes you to believe she should do it your way. The way you respond is just a belief and a habit you have. Your belief is not serving you well. If you want to keep the relationship, you need to learn to respond differently. If you can't do it on your own I suggest a counselor, or my book "Relationships Without Anger." - 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

Until after World War II our nation did not enter into war except to protect our own territory or to help another nation protect its borders. Since then we have entered into several wars because what we thought was happening within a country was not in our own personal interest. Now if we do not like what is happening within a country we feel we should step in and make things right, according to our interest.

We have reached the point where we will start a war if we don't like the way things are being done. This idea that we know what is right and we are justified to be policemen for the world because we are the only ones powerful and pure enough to do so should be reconsidered. We too often find ourselves being the world bully. If others don't comply with our "orders" we are willing to resort to violence to enforce our way.

It is true those disputes need to be resolved and someone needs to do it. I believe that this can only be possible when done through the United Nations. We must all work together. One country can't do it; even if it is with the best of intentions. Some say we need to do it because the United Nations can't. I believe the solution is to change the United Nations so it can. It may not be easy but it is the only workable solution.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Most of us want to be true to our own belief systems. We want to respond the way we believe we should, rather than how we feel at the moment. Learn to follow your positive impulses in responding to situations. If you try to respond in the way you think others want you to respond, you will find it more difficult to feel good about yourself.

You probably grew up learning how to respond the way your parents and teachers told you that you should respond. You have learned those lessons from others, but you are an adult now. Now is the time to look at the way you are responding to the requests of others and make sure that you are responding the way you want to respond, not just the way you were taught. If you often don't like how you feel about what you are doing or saying, pay attention and try to determine why that is happening. Determine what changes you can make in your responses so that you will no longer be feeling negative about the actions you take.

You can learn to be in control and choose the behavior you desire. If you whine about something, remember that you have chosen that behavior. Work at seeing how self- defeating it is to whine about things. Keep looking for the times you complain about things. Refuse to accept that behavior from yourself. Change your complaining attitude to one of observing and evaluating what is going on. The thing you change by complaining is how you feel, and how others feel about you. When you complain you make yourself feel bad. You also make everyone else feel bad. Also, you will generally get a less positive response from others when you complain.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Today I listen to peaceful music.

Tuesday: Today I sit in a peaceful environment..

Wednesday: Today I reclaim my inner peace.

Thursday: Today I share my commitment to peace..

Friday: Today I delight in being me.

Saturday: Today I visualize world peace.

Sunday: Today I commit to resolve differences peacefully.

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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