Dove with Branch
March 16, 2009 Insights From the Dean of Peace
Notes from the Dean's Desk

Dear Peacemaker,


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Ask the Dean?
Dean Van Leuven   Global Struggle

Dear Dean, I have become good friends with my neighbor's children over the years and enjoy taking them out to lunch on occasion. Sometimes I take them separately and sometimes together. The problem I have is that when we go only with the boy others look at me like they think I have a young lover. It makes me uncomfortable. I really enjoy his company but I don't want others to think I am having an affair with a young boy. What should I do? - Rhonda in TX

Dear Rhonda, You are dealing with a problem of your own making. What other people think about you is their business, and is actually none of your business. What they think is their business and you can not or should not try to control that, if you value your own happiness. What you are doing and how you feel about it is your business. If you know that what you are doing is right that should be the end of your concern. We no longer live in a society where our code of conduct and moral behavior is determined by the appearance to others. Happiness and joy come when we learn to act in our own enlightened self-interest instead of the fear of other's opinions. - the Dean

Dear Dean, My husband often disapproves of the clothes I wear. He is always telling me to wear something more appropriate. I like to wear jeans and bright colored blouses.. He doesn't approve of bright colors and thinks women shouldn't wear pants. Should I dress the way he wants? - Marcie in ID

Dear Marcie, Only if you want to! He would like you to dress differently and it is okay for him to let you know that. But you are the one who gets to choose what you wear. What he thinks is a factor you should consider. Ask yourself if you are doing this because it is what you want for yourself or simply your resistance to his telling you what to do. - 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

We worry about anthrax, a threat that kills almost no one, more than we do about influenza which kills about a quarter of a million people a year. Threats that are new, sudden, and more dramatic trouble us much more than those we have grown up with, and learned to accept. We are a little like the frog we can boil without it noticing if we turn up the heat very slowly.

How can we learn to evaluate the threat instead of the fear? I call this "keeping things in perspective." We need to stop when we are upset by something that is happening, or we fear will happen, and compare it with the other dangers and fears in our lives. Always ask yourself the question, "How important is this anyway?" Whenever you feel caught up in the drama of what is happening, or are upset with what is happening around you, stop and ask yourself that question.

When we learn to keep things in perspective it allows us to be more accepting of our world, and what is happening in it. If we ask what we can do about something, and the answer is nothing, then learn to let go of the worry associated with it. When you choose to worry when you can do nothing, the only thing you accomplish is making yourself upset.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

When entering into a marital or partnering relationship consider the idea of the partners thinking of the relationship as a separate party. When you do this, you are able to look at the relationship in a more detached and objective way. The relationship takes on a life of its own. The two of you are working together to create a separate entity which is the relationship itself.

You can look at what each of you want the relationship to be and what each of you is able to bring to the relationship. This allows you to be able to discuss the health of the relationship without taking it so personally. You have now created a model of what you want the relationship to be in some detail. And you have a method you can use once you enter into the relationship for examining the stresses without criticizing the other partner.

During the relationship you will be able to quickly identify when any of the initial goals or contributions by either party have changed; and what work needs to be done to make it well. Also, you are more able to focus on the issues without personal incrimination and to negotiate change where needed. It is easier to focus on creating what you want. When something goes wrong you can more easily focus on what is wrong and how to fix it because you have already agreed about how you want it to be.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Think about your vision of your relationship with your partner, or prospective partner.

Tuesday: Think about your partner's vision of the relationship.

Wednesday: Work with your partner to create a common vision of the relationship that is acceptable to both of you.

Thursday: Think about the things you need to do to realize that vision.

Friday: Think about the things you believe your partner should do to support the partnership.

Saturday: Discuss a plan for each of you to reach the goals of the partnership.

Sunday: Rejoice in the enjoyment of a common vision and a united experience.

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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