Dove with Branch
October 19, 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 and I are educators who have allowed our children to make their own career choices. Two of our children have followed us into education and seem quite happy with it. One was a doctor and her life was quite stressful. She is now a nurse and is happy with her work. One is a bus driver and the other is a barber. They do not have quite as many material things, but they and their families seem happy. All of our children thank us for allowing them to make their own career choices except for the doctor. I think the lesson is that we need to let them make their own choices even if they seem wrong to us. - Margaret in CA

Dear Margaret, Thanks for sharing this experience with us. Our children will not always be happy with their choices, but we should support them. Also it is best to accept change regardless of how we feel about it. - the Dean

Dear Dean, I have found a job that is perfect for me in every way except that it involves a long commute which I do not enjoy what do you suggest? - Gerald in CA

Dear Gerald, If you can't move work closer to you in some way, or find a better way to get to work, then I suggest you choose to enjoy the commute. Perhaps you can use the time to listen to music or self-improvement CDs, or find a way to solve some of the worlds, or your own, problems. The point is if we choose to commute then it is important to find a way to enjoy it. - 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 helpful to think of schools as having three basic functions: 1. To educate the students in the basic skills needed for life (the three R's). 2. To train the students so that they will be able to be productive members of society and to be able to provide for their own support. 3. To learn how to think and be creative so that they and the society can prosper. This third function has been very controversial because the agenda of change and growth is perceived as not in the best self interest of many in our society. However if we are to create a Peaceful New World, this is the area of our education that we must emphasize.

The basic objective of education has been to advance the knowledge of the people. However, this goal is often distorted because self-interest groups within the society are concerned that their particular agenda be advanced. They insist that what is taught in the schools is compatible with their individual group philosophy.

To create change we must learn the skills of creating. If we are taught that the law and our government and society are always right, then what we have today is what we will always have. What change we do experience will be created out of the best interest for a few controlling individuals. When we learn to recognize the positive possibilities of change, then we will be open to, and working for positive change. The student learns from the teacher. We can all be teachers whether we are in the educational system or not. What are we going to teach our children?

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

When you communicate with someone who may be holding onto a lot of anger, the best way to deal with him or her is to show a genuine interest in them as a person and in the way that they view life. You'll likely find that when you communicate in this way, their defenses will drop and their hearts will open. Your authentic concern is a powerful diffuser of anger. You can learn how to show concern without validating their fear or anger.

Another very important aspect of communication that we often neglect is to understand the meaning that the other person has for the words they choose. I often find this a problem in doing workshops. I use a word one way and the listeners apply their own meaning to the word which is different from what I intended. This means that I haven't really communicated very well at all. When the response you get is not what you expect make sure that you and the other person really understand the same meaning for all of the words.

Always be vigilant that you both are using the same meaning for words. Realize that you often are not. Try to define or choose your words more precisely when ambiguity is possible. Always be receptive of the other person's definition of a word as appropriate; because it is for them. This is one issue that my wife and I have to pay very close attention to because we find we are often understanding something differently than what the other one is trying to say to us.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Today I think about how I can make friends just by being interested in another person's concerns.

Tuesday: Let other people know you are interested in them by asking them to share their concerns with you.

Wednesday: If you are not sure of the meaning another person has to their words ask before you make an assumption.

Thursday: When the answer you get is not what you are expecting check to see what the other person thought you said, and what they meant by the words they used.

Friday: Today I concentrate on avoiding ambiguity in my words.

Saturday: Today I learn to ask when I am not certain that I understand the meaning of what the other person is saying.

Sunday: I resolve that when I am disturbed by another person's words I will always seek clarity before responding.

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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