Dove with Branch
May 24, 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 18 year old daughter went through a very rough time over 3 years ago. She had a boyfriend that made her miserable, suicidal, untrustworthy, angry all the time and she was with him. They broke up when he cheated on her and slowly she pulled herself back together and had been happy, stable and trustworthy. Lately she is getting angry about small things and has begun going down hill in her school work. She overdosed on medication recently. Recently I found her camera with many of pictures of her ex- boyfriend. She is back with him and behaving the same way she did then. How can I get her to see that this relationship she has with this boy is not healthy? He is a drug user and manipulates my daughter and ruins her self esteem. I just want her to have a happy healthy future. - Connie in TX

Dear Connie, You are at a place where you should seek professional help and consider a support group for yourself. Be supportive of your daughter. Don't criticize her for her behavior. She already knows she has a problem. Work with her to solve the problem. - the Dean

Dear Dean, My son is starting to fail in his school work and is hanging out with kids who are troublemakers and into drugs. What do you suggest? - Paul in WA

Dear Paul, Again, don't criticize. Take the time to get him to open up and tell you what the problems are. Ask lots of questions and give few suggestions. Let him know you are there to help. Guide him to find why what he is doing is not the best course to follow. - the Dean


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

We have developed a habit of pursuing politics of self-interest. We fight to elect politicians and create laws that are favorable to ourselves, and the groups we belong to, regardless of the cost to others. If a politician from the party we support violates the law we overlook it. If a politician we oppose violates the law, we want to throw the book at him. When we do this we are no longer able to maintain a fair and just society.

This kind of situational ethics is not a positive way to run a democracy. The basic concept of a democracy requires that we work together for the common good. We are substituting the basic idea of having a government that supports everyone, for a government that promotes our own personal interest. We think the end justifies the means. Our personal self-interest as we see it becomes the good.

In the long run we are not well served by promoting only our self-interest. This will result in a society that is stressful and in constant turmoil. We can't be peaceful unless we are fully considerate of the needs of others. Power and greed may lead to wealth but they don't lead to peace.


Creating a Peaceful New World
    World Peace

Most of our anger is caused because the real world does not live up to our expectation or our dreams. We keep insisting that the real world be a certain way. When it isn't we get angry. For example, you are in a nice restaurant having dinner and small children who are part of the family at the next table are being loud and disruptive, and that upsets you. You have an ideal view of how these children should act. You keep demanding that children act that way even though you have no power to control them. And you get angry when they don't do it your way.

We get angry when others in our culture - or outside of it - don't follow the cultural rules. A major role of anger in our culture is its policing function. For example, you expect people to stay in line and take their turn when checking out at the supermarket. Our society demands this behavior because if people don't follow these rules the less aggressive of us will have to wait much longer to purchase our goods and go home. When someone doesn't follow the rules and crowds to the front of the line, others often react by getting angry and shouting at them to get to the back of the line.

Although every culture's rules are subjective, and different segments of our society may have conflicting rules, anger is often employed against those who go against the rules, in order to coerce them into conforming. And because many of us refuse to accept cultural differences as natural and desirable, national governments are even able to use the anger resulting from such differences to justify war.


Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
    Left Arrow

Monday: Think about the times you get angry when other people don't do things the way you think they should.

Tuesday: Think about the reasons they do things the way they do.  

Wednesday: Think about the idea that people should make choices that are appropriate for them.

Thursday: Think about how we should accept the choices of others as appropriate for them.

Friday: Think about how other people and other societies have different ideas about what is proper.

Saturday: Realize that it is normal and acceptable for other people to have different ways of doing things.

Sunday: Resolve to accept the customs of others as appropriate for them.

Dean Van Leuven is a psychologist, conducts workshops and is the author of Life Without Anger 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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