Dove with Branch
April 13, 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, My husband left me for an associate in his office. I have filed for divorce and am trying to put my life back together. Since that time my husband has told me that he has come to his senses and made a great mistake in leaving me and the children. I don't hate him and the children want him back, but I don't want to go through the pain of this ever again. Should I consider taking him back so that our children have a father in the home again? - Jennifer in NY

Dear Jennifer, You can consider it, but it's not a step I would take easily. If you simply take him back without getting to the root of the problem there is a good chance that the behavior might be repeated. Make it clear to him that the problem that resulted in this behavior must be corrected. Start by having him go to counseling for at least three months. After that the two of you go to couples counseling until you and the counselor agree that you are ready to experience a loving, trusting relationship. Don't take the risk of getting together until you come to this point. Learn to communicate honestly and trust each other before you resume the relationship. If you resume the relationship make regular status checks and resolve problems as they arise. - the Dean

Dear Dean, Regarding your answer to Marcie (3/16) it is important what kind of clothing we wear when we are working in an office and representing our family and if the clothing she is wearing does not properly represent the family then she should wear something appropriate. Her husband wants her to wear certain clothes for a reason. She should pay attention to what he wants her to wear. - Robert in MI

Dear Robert, That is all true, but she is the decider of what she wears, not her husband. He may want to maintain a certain appearance or social status. If she agrees with that, or has agreed to that fine, but if she wants to do otherwise she is free to do so. Different choices create different results. We should be aware and make the best choice for ourselves. What our mate wishes should be a part of our consideration, but not necessarily the deciding factor. - 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 think of a court trial as a way of solving issues. In fact we have reached the point that not just a trial, but a complete exhaustion of the legal process is required. Our thinking is that we must do all we can to win, regardless of the cost in time and money. Those with the most money often use the process just so that they can win when the other party runs out of money and is unable to continue the fight.

If instead we viewed going to court as a failure, a failure to be able to resolve our issues, then we would approach the problem differently. We would make every effort to solve the problem ourselves; and then use mediation or arbitration for resolution when necessary. We would be much more willing to resolve our differences instead of battling to the end. Our effort to resolve problems would best begin just by sitting down over a couple cups of coffee and talking.

Unfortunately this same thing is going on in international politics. We look at war much the same way we do as going to court in the legal system. We use it as a tool of diplomacy. We look at war as a way to resolve our differences; instead of as a failure to resolve them. If we viewed war as representing a total failure to solve our differences we would be less eager to go to war.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

When parenting without anger you still need to discipline your children. You can, however, discipline them with love instead of anger. Children need to learn boundaries. They must learn the rules of our society. Teach them these things with love. Permissiveness is not love. And assertiveness is not anger. Model love for them, and they will see the value in not being fearful or angry. Remember, your child needs values, your time, and love; not things. Worthwhile values are imparted when you parent with love. The reward for this style of parenting is a happy and independent child with whom you will have a loving relationship for the rest of your life. Always, always, remember to treat your children with love.

Never accept anger from your child as appropriate behavior. Children learn to use anger when it is effective for them. They will keep using it as long as it works. Part of our job, as a parent is to not allow anger to be effective for our children. It is our job to show them a more effective way to deal with their problems. Whenever your child is angry, lovingly demonstrate to him or her that it is not appropriate behavior. Teach your child to find a more effective way of dealing with problems. As soon as your child is old enough to communicate verbally, teach them about expressing and dealing with their feelings.

Our children learn fear when we teach them that the world is a dangerous place, and that they must be fearful of dangerous things in order to protect themselves. Learn to teach them that this is a wonderful world in which good things happen when we are trusting and alert. Teach them to pay attention to provide for their well being, knowing that doing the best they can, will be enough.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Think about how much you love your children.

Tuesday: Ask yourself if you are the best parent you can be.

Wednesday: Think about the times you get angry with your children. Ask yourself why you do that.

Thursday: Think about how you are the teacher for your child and how they learn their lessons from you.

Friday: Think about what your child can become if you teach him love and responsibility instead of fear and anger.

Saturday: Think about how you should respond when your child makes a mistake or becomes angry.

Sunday: Resolve to always teach and model love and responsibility to your child.

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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