Dove with Branch
December 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, I Work in a large office that is very stressful with a lot of noise. I also have much pressure on me during the day. When I get home I am tired and need some quite time but my family refuses to be quiet. They are arguing or playing loudly and my wife refuses to calm them down. How can I get them to be quiet so I can relax? - Gordon in TX

Dear Gordon, 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. Getting upset at your family will not only make your immediate problem worse but it may also have very negative long term effects as well. - the Dean

Dear Dean, I want to wear a small insignia tattoo on each shoulder like all the other kids in my group do. My parents refuse to allow it no matter how hard I argue. I have offered to pay for it out of my allowance, but they still refuse. Without the tattoos I am not fully accepted by the group. How do I get my parents to realize that they are messing up my life? - Syble in IL

Dear Syble, 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 is not 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. 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: 90022 Sheffler Rd., Elmira, OR 97437, or visit to submit by e-mail.

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

The idea that we think it is okay to fight wars to further the interest of our country goes hand in hand with the idea that we should use the death penalty as punishment in our legal system. What we want to happen more than anything else when a crime is committed is that it never be committed again. We think that punishment will be effective and they deserve the death penalty, "an eye for an eye." How effective has that been for us? Not very!

I suggest we focus more on preventing the crime from first happening, and then recurring, and we will be more successful in preventing murder. If it is okay for the state to use death for punishment then we look at death as appropriate punishment and are far more apt to feel justified in administering the punishment of death personally. Because the state is not there at the moment we feel justified in administering the punishment personally. We do this for example, when we kill someone in defense of our property. We even extend this on occasion to when someone has done something to make us angry.

Since we have given the state the power to administer death as punishment, we are able to accept the concept that when the state does not have its way in the world that it has the right to administer death to its adversaries by waging war. If murder is wrong then the death penalty and war are wrong because they are just "murder by the state." If we want to live peacefully in the world with other nations, and other people we must give up the idea that we can kill them when they displease us.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Perception and recognition is the way we have of evaluating the information than comes to us through our five senses and includes the specific way that we interpret that information. Each of us sees life from our own frame of reference. Our differing perceptions are often the source of conflict and anger. If we understand and choose to accept our differences however, our dissimilar perceptions can become a source of wisdom, joy, and humor in our lives.

We tend to perceive information in a way that supports the beliefs we have. First we take note of the information presented to us that validates our belief systems, and we often fail to notice things that do not. Next, we interpret the information that we receive in a way that is consistent with our existing belief system. < p align="justify">

What if this wasn't necessarily the case? What if we considered the information in the light of differing belief systems? And what if we always looked at things from a number of points of view before making a decision? In order to win a trial lawyers are trained to carefully examine the other possible points of view. If they do not, they will not be prepared to respond with the best argument for their case. Likewise, you can learn to examine the information you receive from the points of view of all possibilities.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Today I appreciate the diversity in humankind.

Tuesday: Today I say only good things.

Wednesday: Today I say "I love you."

Thursday: Today I take time to breathe deeply.

Friday: Today I practice forgiveness.

Saturday: Today I am forgiveness in action.

Sunday: Today I take myself lightly.

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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