Dove with Branch
February 02, 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, In order to maintain the lifestyle demanded by my family I have a job with much stress and a long commute. When I get home from my long day I am tired and need some quite time. My family seem unable to provide the quiet and peaceful atmosphere necessary for my sanity. The children are always arguing or playing loudly and my wife fails to keep them quiet. How can I get them to be quiet so I can maintain my sanity? - Jay in CA

Dear Jay, I know that you are feeling the effects of a stressful day. You may feel that since you have been out there supporting your family that they should cater to your needs. However this is not the case. The need for peace and quiet is your problem not theirs. If you can't join in the fun in good humor then you need to find a place where you can go and experience the quiet time you seek. The last thing you want to do is get upset and be angry with them. This will not only make your immediate problem worse but it may also have some very negative long term effects as well. Perhaps you could learn to look at your children's interaction as a pleasant experience. - the Dean

Dear Dean, I want to have a small tattoo on my arm like most of the other kids in my school do but my parents refuse to allow it no matter how hard I argue. I have explained that the other kids are doing it and I have been willing to pay for it from the money I earn babysitting, but they still refuse. If I am not allowed to be like my friends I am not accepted by the group. How do I get my parents to realize how unfair they are being? - Annetta in VA

Dear Annetta, You should state your case and your reasons clearly and completely to your parents. They will listen if you remain polite and not argumentative. You need to accept their decision if they say no. The fact that all of your friends are doing it may not be a sufficient reason for you to be allowed to do it. It is reasonable to be required to live by your parents' values unless they are illegal or unhealthy. When you are an adult you will be able to make your own choices. Until you become an adult it is your task to accept your parents' choices. Until you become an adult think of yourself as a person in training. You can work on which rules you want to keep as an adult and be ready to take control of your life at that point. - 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

I believe President Obama has the right idea when he suggests talking directly to foreign leaders with which we are having serious disagreement. We often refuse to talk with foreign governments who we consider enemies or disagree with their policies. We have refused to talk with Iran for years. We did not talk with China and those behind the Iron Curtain for years. I believe this is a great mistake. If we are going to get along in this world, we need to find a way to reconcile our differences. This doesn't happen easily when we refuse to talk to each other.

When we started talking and trading with the Eastern Bloc and with China we started finding ways to live together. When we developed common interests we began to find the need and the ways to reconcile our differences. Modern technology has brought us closer to everyone. We have a greater need to get along than ever before.

Not to talk only signals that we have not found a solution, and have given up trying or that we our using it as a tactic have our way. Even if it looks hopeless we never want to quit trying to solve our differences. When we try to solve our differences by being the prevailing bully we quit talking. When we look for solutions that solve the problem for the benefit of all, we keep talking.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

We can accept disagreement without being disagreeable in return. We don't have to require that we be treated well. We can accept the way other people treat us, in the sense that we don't get upset about it. We can assert our boundaries and refuse to accept the other person's position, without getting angry or upset. If we believe in our self and our own truths, then we can let the other person have their own truths, and just refuse to be affected by them.

Do we want to be happy, or do we want to be right? Whenever we are attached to being right, we are convinced the other person is wrong and we are right. As long as we cannot accept the idea that maybe they are also right, or at least realize that it just doesn't matter, we can't be free of our negative emotions or experience happiness and peace of mind. The more we accept the other person's reality as being authentic, the less upset we become.

As we become more accepting, we stop demanding that things go a certain way. It is part of our nature to want to give and receive love. When we demand things be a certain way, we are not giving love, and we seldom receive love in return when we don't give it. We get even less love when we give anger in return. Accept that there are many vantage points from which to look at the same thing. You can choose to change your way of looking at things to a way that is in line with happiness. The choice is yours.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Today I choose peace above all else.

Tuesday: Today I choose to be a peacekeeper.

Wednesday: Today I make peace my priority.

Thursday: Today I bless rather than condemn others.

Friday: Today I celebrate the positive things in my world.

Saturday: Today I cherish peace, giving it freely to others.

Sunday: Today my heart sings "peace begins with me."

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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