Dove with Branch
January 11, 2010 Insights From the Dean of Peace
Notes from the Dean's Desk

This weekly newsletter is available free by subscription. All copies for the year are available on my website.

If you enjoy this newsletter and know someone who you think may enjoy it as well, please feel free to share it with them.

Ask the Dean?
Dean Van Leuven   Global Struggle

Dear Dean, When my daughter sees something she wants when we are shopping. She keeps asking until I get so tired that I give in to her. How can I make her stop asking? - Tanya in CA

Dear Tanya, She has learned that if she keeps asking you will say yes. She will keep doing this until you teach her that it will no longer work for her. Start by showing her that it won't work. Explain why it won't work, then teach her how to present her request to you in a way that you will fully consider it. When you say no, explain why you say no. And always, always do it in a loving way. You are the teacher. She learns her lessons from you. - the Dean

Dear Dean, I have a brother who is a problem for me. He is irresponsible. He cannot hold a job and gets in trouble for things like not paying his bills and traffic tickets. The problem for me is that every time he gets in serious trouble he comes to me to bail him out. I don't want to keep supporting his bad habits but I always feel guilty and give in. What do you suggest? - Glenn in IL

Dear Glenn, The answer is to give love and emotional support always, and think carefully about the other support you give. Ask yourself if you are being caring or enabling? Sometimes this is a very difficult question. If you are having difficulty with this issue talk to some outside the problem. If you need a place to seek help try Al-anon. You are facing many of the same problems as someone who has an alcoholic in their life. Above all, do not feel guilty for problems you have no responsibility for. -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

We refer to our legal system as an adversarial system. We call it an adversarial system because it is set up as a fight between two opposing parties. A trial is set up as a contest in which the best man wins. What we are seeking is the truth of the matter. A system where the most skilled combatant usually prevails is not the best path to the truth. Lawyers who always win do not win just because they choose clients who are always innocent.

In recent years we have introduced arbitration as a way of resolving legal disputes in business matters. When we use this method we are looking at the claims of both parties and trying to determine the solution that is most equitable for the particular situation. This encourages negotiation as this allows the parties to arrive at the same solution with less formalities, time, and cost.

Besides producing poorer results the adversarial system we now use produces more anger, and a waste of time and money for our society. It also makes the courts a tool that is used to resolve disputes just because of the power of money and advantage of delay. It is nice to provide work for lawyers, but society would be better served if we shifted from the adversarial system of justice to a method that puts more focus on the search for an appropriate resolution of the problems that must be resolved.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

If you find something funny you are not looking at it in a negative way. When we look for the humor in every situation and respond with humor whenever possible, we tend to blunt the tendency to feel negative about something. Instead we transform it into a positive emotion. When we do this we change the negative situation or the event, whatever it may be, into a positive event from our point of view.

Humor can also be thought of as a way of re-appraising a situation. Because you have thought of something in a humorous way, you have changed it into an emotionally positive event. You have intentionally placed yourself in your positive emotions when you chose humor as a response. Also, this allows you to send the information to the thinking center of your brain in order to develop an effective reply. Thinking about something instead of just reacting, tends to remove or reduce the emotional impact. < p align="justify">

When you respond with humor you are able to actually shift from a negative emotion to a positive one just by the way you perceive and react to the event. Thinking it is funny when someone cuts in front of you in traffic will change your emotional response. By using humor, you're telling yourself that you refuse to take things too seriously. Humor reduces the seriousness of your thought. It shows that you can laugh at your failures. Humor laughs at our failures, but in an accepting and tolerant way. It helps you see the other side of things.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Today I treat all animals kindly.

Tuesday: Today I give thanks for the children of the world.

Wednesday: Today I hold peaceful loving thoughts for the world's leaders.

Thursday: Today I take time to sit and be peaceful.

Friday: Today I give life the light touch.

Saturday: Today I take time to enjoy and appreciate my family.

Sunday: Today I re-label my "mistakes" as lessons.

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.

If you are a charitable or religious organization and would like to reprint any of my articles please contact me for permission, which will be cheerfully granted.

If you know someone who might be interested in using any, or all of my regular newspaper columns please pass this information on to them. Or send me their e-mail address, or telephone number, and I will be happy to send them the information.

Past issues of this newsletter are archived on my website.

I welcome your suggestion or comments. If you have a question that you would like addressed in the Ask the Dean? column feel free to send them to


Contact Information

phone: 800-359-6015 fax:541-935-9361

If you wish to no longer receive this newsletter please send a reply which includes "unsubscribe" and the existing subject line in the reply.

The subject line and the address to which it was sent must be included.