Dove with Branch
May 17, 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, I work for a manufacturing company. There is a co-worker that is always telling sexual jokes in my presence. I don't want to cause any problems for him, but I want him to stop the jokes. I have told him to please stop. He just thinks it's funny and continues. How can I get him to stop without getting him angry with me? - Hallie in NJ

Dear Hallie, Apparently he hasn't really heard your message. Improve the telling and find a way to improve his listening. Be friendly but assertive. Let him know that "dirty jokes" are not okay with you. Tell him you value his friendship. Let him know that they are really hurtful and that not telling them is an essential part of your friendship. Ask him to do it as a personal favor, make the problem yours and not his and perhaps he will be more caring. If he cares he will be more helpful. If this doesn't work consider taking a more assertive approach and have the two of you sit down with your supervisor to resolve the matter. - the Dean

Dear Dean, I don't allow anyone to wear shoes in the house. My children often forget about this rule. They play in the yard and get dirty and then track dirt into the house and they allow their friends to wear shoes even when they take their own off. I keep telling them but they never pay attention. What should I do? - Sheryl in WA

Dear Sheryl, It seems to me that you have a bigger problem than dirt. You need to find a way to get your children to pay attention to the rules. Explain the rule, the reason for the rule, and what the consequences are. Then when the rule is violated, lovingly enforce the consequences without fail. I suggest that you include cleaning up the mess as part of the consequences. Empty threats and displays of anger are generally not effective and tend to create negativity in your relationship with your child. - 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

Most of us want to live in a society where all relationships are voluntary and peaceful. Some don't because they believe that they have the power to control others. For them, life is good as long as they are able to maintain their control over others. This concept of society, which is a common one, dooms those who do not hold the power to a less fortunate life. We are seeking to make an ever better model of society that will provide the most desirable life for the most people. We call this democracy.

In a democracy we have the freedom to make changes in our Government. We are not doomed to follow the same rules; or the same leaders if they do not serve us well. One of the problems we have is that we tend to resist change. We put up with old ways of doing things because we think they are the right way simply because we have been taught to believe they are right. When the way things are done make you unhappy, take it as a signal to examine your beliefs. Determine whether changing your belief or changing the way we do things would be most appropriate.

One area to which we should pay special attention is imposing our beliefs on others. The more we impose our beliefs on others the less freedom we have. We have chosen to be a society open to all and as a result we have to be especially watchful of imposing our beliefs on others. Never let your test be this is the right thing to do because I, or my neighbors think it is, or this is the way we have always done it. Do not become upset when your neighbor wants to do it differently. Your effort should be to find a rule that will work for everyone.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

We tend to perceive information 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. 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.

We know our opinions stem from our thoughts, not from external truth. So, perhaps we shouldn't go to battle over our truths as we so often do. Although deeply held, your truths are not necessarily those of others. When you come to terms with this reality and place feeling good above the need to be right, you'll be taking a giant step toward eradicating the angry conflicts in your life.

The need to be right is also the need to prevail. We live in a competitive society, and we like to be winners. Part of being right is winning the conflict. Realize this, and know that your desire to be right is your ego trying to win another contest. Reframe your thinking to accept the idea that we are all in this together. Expect that others will think differently and that their perception of events will not be the same as yours. Accept their differences with joy. If we were all the same it would be like living in "Pleasantville," the movie about life in the suburbs where everything is the same - dull, and colorless.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: I think the things that everyone thinks about as absolutely true are absolutely true, for them.

Tuesday: I think about how those truths have changed over time.

Wednesday: I think about the things that I believe are absolutely true.

Thursday: I think about why others do not believe the things that I do.

Friday: I think about the beliefs of others that they think are absolutely true but I do not.

Saturday: I think about others being entitled to their honest beliefs just as I am.

Sunday: I resolve that others are as entitled to their own beliefs just as I am.

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.