Dove with Branch
June 07, 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, We live in Seattle and we have many relatives will come and stay with us when they want to visit the city. We don't mind them staying but can't afford the extra cost in time, energy and money to care for them. We are happy to be a guide and show them the city. How do we get them to help pay for expenses? - Ruby in WA

Dear Ruby, Staying with you doesn't seem to be a problem except for the expense. Why can't you simply let them know your situation? Being with friends is still a good deal for both of you. Be honest and things will work out fine. They will be happy to cover expenses, or stay elsewhere. Be ashamed to speak your truth and everyone will be upset. - the Dean

Dear Dean, My fiancée's family doesn't approve of me. They think I am not good enough for her because I am not Italian. They think I act like a cold hearted American, and they are always finding fault with me and telling her she needs to find someone of her own ethnic background. The problem is that she will go there for holiday dinners without me. I want to be with her on the holidays but she says she can't neglect her family and that I should go and they will eventually accept me. - Ben in NJ

Dear Ben, The inability to understand ethnic differences frequently results in problems. This is something both you and your fiancée need to work out. Neither you nor she is obligated to handle it in a certain way, or do a certain thing. What you do need to do is find a solution that will work for both of you. I suggest going with her, even if the reception is cool. They may warm to you when they see that she truly cares for you. Issues that could break up the marriage need to be resolved before the marriage. How the two of you are at resolving differences is usually more important than the differences. - 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

It has been fashionable when politicians changes their mind about an issue, to accuse them of flip-flopping and to call them wishy- washy in their principals. I believe this is just a tactic used by someone who supports the original decision and is resisting the change. Many are willing to resort to calling names when they don't like what is happening.

First of all, I want politicians to be open to changing their minds if they see they have made a mistake. I don't want them to be like an ostrich and bury their heads in the sand when they see things going wrong. I call this driving square pegs in round holes. I suggest they get new pegs that fit instead of trying to use a bigger hammer to get them in with. I want them to be open to change when things don't turn out as expected. They are the ones who have studied the issues and the facts. I want their best judgment at all times, not just when the decision was made.

Secondly, we elected them to make our decisions for us. I do not want my representatives to make a decision simply because it might determine whether they are re- elected. Let us respect their choices until the will of the voters select someone else to replace them. If we want them to do the best job for us we need to give them the freedom to do what they think is the best job. We can learn to trust their judgment and then judge them by the results they produce.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

One way to reduce our susceptibility to anger is to be open to the possibility of other right answers for our self and for others. Just accepting the possibility that the answer may change if we have more information keeps us open to the idea that the judgment that we have made is only tentative and always subject to change. When we view a judgment in this manner, we don't have a strong emotional investment in it. And we find it easier to make changes when we receive new information that is not in agreement with our present thinking. It also makes it much easier to recognize when new information is not in agreement with our judgment.

In this society we have learned to view differences as an attack. We have learned to marshal arguments to support our view of the truth. It is like we are debaters who are assigned a side and then defend it as our own truth. We tend to buy into our own story and the first thing we know it becomes our truth. If we can learn to give up the need to always have a truth then this become much easier for us.

Sometimes you must make a choice because you must determine an action NOW. Choose a response based on your best thinking, but don't place any emotional value on your choice. Don't take your truths too seriously. Always be looking for a better answer than the one you are acting on. When you see the possibility of a better choice, be open to changing your thinking. Rather than defending your original choice, see what you might learn by considering someone else's.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: I think about the idea that I don't know everything about anything.

Tuesday: I think about the idea that I could possibly be wrong about anything and everything.

Wednesday: I learn to be open for and to exam new information.

Thursday: I fully examine new information that is not in agreement with my opinion.

Friday: I learn not to take disagreement by others as an attack on myself.

Saturday: I learn not to take disagreement by others as an attack on myself.

Sunday: I change my response whenever I see a better possibility.

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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