Dove with Branch
January 18, 2010 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-in-law pays more attention to my husband's sister's children than she does to ours. She talks about their great grades and how they are excelling in sports in front our children and even talks about how poorly our children are doing in school. She even asks why our children don't go out for sports. I am embarrassed for my children. How can I get her to stop doing this? - Brenda in CA

Dear Brenda, First of all don't be embarrassed for your children. Life is not a contest where we judge the successes of our children against others. Our children should grow up to be who they want to be. Life is not an inter-family popularity contest. Your mother-in-law is entitled to like, or not like anyone she chooses. It is difficult to change her behavior and much easier to change the way you feel about it. Help your children (and yourself) understand that their self-esteem doesn't depend on her approval. - the Dean

Dear Dean, In considering getting a tattoo, Vonda (11/23) may want to think about what it will look like in 50, 60 or even 70 years. I have an older friend who has tattoos on his arms. You can't tell what they are due to the aging process of his skin. It may be the "in" think now but people and circumstances do change. Most tattoos are considered permanent and that could be a turn off in the future or have a potential impact on a career choice. - Claire in NM

Dear Claire, That is a very good point! Because of the space limitations I try to respond to what I consider the most important issues to address. I appreciate when readers let me know about additional issues that they feel are important to address. Thank you Claire! -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 have learned that bullying people and making them do things the way we want them to be done has not been effective in the home, in the workplace and in our local community. Whenever we try to do that we create resistance. People refuse to cooperate with us because they feel put upon by the way we are treating them. We want to be accepted and liked by other people for who we are and they are treating us just the opposite.

True, we can learn to recognize this is what is happening and learn not to be upset by it. This is difficult for many of us to learn. And is still not giving us the love and approval we naturally seek. This bullying behavior leads to an even greater problem. It leads to us as a nation using that kind of behavior when dealing with the other nations of the world.

If it doesn't work well in the home and the community it is not going to work well in the world. The result is that it leads to a world society that is held together through fear rather than common respect and caring for each other as fellow human beings. The world is here for us to enjoy. Why should we waste our lives generation after generation living in disharmony? All we have to do is change our way of looking at things and we can produce the joy and peace we all seek in our lives. Furthermore, we don't have to wait for the rest of the world. We can learn to experience joy and peace in personal lives now.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

We can accept disagreement without being disagreeable in return. We don't have to require that we be treated well. We can accept the way other people treat us, in the sense that we don't get upset about it. We can assert our boundaries and refuse to accept the other person's position, without getting angry or upset. If we believe in our self and our own truths, then we can let the other person have their own truths, and just refuse to be affected by them.

Do we want to be happy, or do we want to be right? Whenever we are attached to being right, we are convinced the other person is wrong and we are right. As long as we cannot accept the idea that maybe they are also right, or at least realize that it just doesn't matter, we can't be free of our negative emotions or experience happiness and peace of mind. The more we accept the other person's reality as being authentic, the less upset we become.< p align="justify">

As we become more accepting, we stop demanding that things go a certain way. It is part of our nature to want to give and receive love. When we demand things be a certain way, we are not giving love, and we seldom receive love in return when we don't give it. We get even less love when we give anger in return.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Today I allow others to have their beliefs.

Tuesday: Today I take time to relax and enjoy.

Wednesday: Today I am grateful for peacemakers.

Thursday: Today I do the work that is mine to do with a glad heart.

Friday: Today I take time to do a kind deed.

Saturday: Today I tell a co-worker something about them that I appreciate.

Sunday: Today I focus on the positive.

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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