Dove with Branch
September 21, 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 mother still tells me how to run my daily life and I am twenty-seven years old. I tell her I can appreciate her help on occasion and that I will let her know when I would like it, but this doesn't stop her. She even tells me what I should cook for dinner and what I should wear when I go out. I want to keep my mother in my life but how do I get her to stop giving me advice? - Judy in CA

Dear Judy, The first thing to do is to think carefully about whether you want her to stop giving advice. If you just let her speak her mind and continue to make your own choices you don't need to be upset by what she says to you. Your other options run all the way from explaining that you feel ready to make your own choices now, to breaking off regular contact with her. It may be difficult to get her to change. Think carefully about learning to tolerate her behavior before you make a choice that damages an otherwise good relationship. - the Dean

Dear Dean, We live in Texas and each summer we try to spend a summer at our family homes in New Jersey. We enjoy our three weeks there a lot but we have a problem with my husband's parents. They plan too many events for us. It's not so much that we don't enjoy them, however it doesn't leave us enough time to do all the things we would really like to do. How can we find more time on our own without insulting them? - Laura in TX

Dear Laura, If you are going to make your decisions based on whether you insult them or not this may be difficult. I suggest you listen and accommodate them if you can make that work for you. Explain that you have other prior commitments or plans when it won't. You can respect other's wishes and accommodate their good intentions when it works without letting them take control of your decisions. If being nice and just explaining your need or passion to do what you choose and let them keep trying to be helpful doesn't work for you, then perhaps you, your wife, or both of you, need to have a "heart to heart" with them. - the Dean

I welcome questions and/or comments from our readers. Send your Ask the Dean questions or comments to: 90022 Sheffler Rd., Elmira, OR 97437, or visit to submit by e-mail.

Law, Politics & Society ... As I see them
  Globe Magnify Glass

It is a part of our nature to be violent. It is also a part of our nature to be angry, fearful, controlling, cheating, greedy, and all those things we associate with the unpleasant world that many of us see ourselves as living in. On the other hand it is also a part of our nature to be loving, caring, peaceful, sharing and joyful. We humans have the free will to be whichever of these things we choose to be at any given moment. In any given instance we always choose whichever of these things that our beliefs tell us we should choose. We choose what we do because we learn and believe that it is what we should do. We get angry simply because we should get angry in a certain situation. If we had learned to look at this same event or circumstances differently, we would have responded differently.

What if instead of judging each event by how we believe it should be, we change to judging it by the results it produces? If we look at things this way, then when things don't turn out the way we want we are not left with a feeling of being violated! Instead we would spend our energy looking for a new way to respond to the event that is in line with our greater goal of living peacefully and in harmony with others.

This is something that will not happen overnight, but can be and must be learned if we are to live in a peaceful world. The system of trying to make us all think and act the same has been tried and failed. This new way of thinking is the hope we have of making life joyful for all.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Satisfying and positive relationships result from our mutual caring about and assisting each other, not from obligation. While others have no obligation to meet our needs, they often find that they benefit from doing so. When we help others, we often get much more in return. Being of service to others will provide much happiness. It will also remove many of the potential negative emotion producing situations from our life.

Too often we end up manipulating others to do things our way, without even realizing it. This creates negative feelings because it is not what they want to do and they will therefore resist us. And this resistance will cause us both to be upset. This takes energy that could better be used in more constructive ways. Learn not to impose your own expectations on others. Learn not to expect from others. Learn to be your own person and learn to honor the rights of others to be their own person. If you think that the world or some other person owes you something, then you have set yourself up for negative feelings whenever the things you think should happen don't happen. When you learn not to expect from others both they and you will end up being happier and more fulfilled.

Furthermore, the expectations of others are going to be different than yours, and when you assume they are going to be, or think they should be, the same as yours you cause yourself problems. We create conflict for ourselves all the time by assuming that others expect what we expect.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: I recognize that others are not obligated to do things the way I would like them done.

Tuesday: I do not expect others to do things my way.

Wednesday: I appreciate it when others do things even if it isn't just the way I would like.

Thursday: I will refrain from manipulating others to do things my way.

Friday: I do not expect others to do things just the way I would like them done.

Saturday: It is okay for others to do things differently than I do.

Sunday: I honor the opinions of others just as I honor my own opinions.

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

The World Emotional Literacy League in conjunction with World Without Anger and Lumbini Buddhist University has taken on the task of introducing emotional literacy training in the educational system of Nepal nationwide. In support of that program I will be conducting workshops throughout the United States and Canada. These workshops will provide an introduction to the emotional skills training program as well as an introduction to establishing emotional skills training programs in your local area. The program and my workshops are based on my textbook "Emotional Intelligence - Taking Control of Your Life."

I have taken on the task of supporting the teaching of emotional skills training in the educational system with the trust and hope, that many in your community will be able to share in the vision of this great work, and join us in this amazing project. We are promoting a "Sponsor a School" program to raise awareness and support throughout the U.S. & Canada If you have any interest in the program and/or having a workshop in your area. Contact me for additional information.

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