Dove with Branch
July 12, 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, Many of our relatives like to visit because while they are on vacation because we live close to great fishing. We don't mind them staying with us but we just don't have the extra money for food. How do we let people know we can't afford to have them stay with us? - Monte in ID

Dear Monte, 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 tell the truth and everyone will be upset. - the Dean

Dear Dean, My husband's family don't approve of me. They think I am not good enough for him because I am not of their culture. They are always finding fault with me and telling him he needs to find someone of their ethnic background. The problem is that he will go there for holidays without me. I want to be with him on the holidays but he says he can't neglect his family and that I should go and they will eventually accept me. - Anne in NJ

Dear Anne, The inability to understand ethnic differences frequently results in problems. This is something both you need to work out. Neither you nor he 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. Look hard at the possibility of going with him, even if the reception is cool. They may warm when they grow accustomed to you, and see that he truly cares for you. The important thing is to resolve this problem in some way that works for both of you. How effective 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

We have freedom of speech in this country and that is a wonderful thing. What we don't have is an acceptance of free speech. We certainly have the right to not accept what the other person has said, and to let them know that we disagree with them. We seem to do this often and vigorously.

The problem we have is that emotionally we often don't tolerate well the right of others to exercise this right. When someone says something we don't like we often get insulted and tell them they are wrong for talking that way. We look at things as insulting and inappropriate when someone has an honest opinion that disagrees with our own. We think they shouldn't be saying that. This is pretty much the same as thinking "they are not free to exercise their rights in a way I, or others find objectionable."

We don't need to get into judgment and a battle of the wills simply because someone disagrees with us. We will be more effective in our own life, and for our society, if we simply look for the truth in what the other person is saying and respond only with our own truth in a positive way. Just because you disagree with someone is no reason to feel that they are an enemy in some way. We have given them the right to speak their mind. Our society will interrelate more effective if we truly honor that right.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Accept yourself as you are right now and as someone who is able to make any change that you truly desire; once you have decided to make the change.

Whether you like the results or not, you are doing the best you can right now. Recognize that. Accept yourself fully for what you are now. You may want to change to something different, but for now this is where you are. Wanting to be different doesn't mean you are not okay for now - it's just where you are at the moment.

Challenge the "shoulds" and "must do's" in your life by believing that in the greater scheme of things, this event is not all that important and I can either decide that I am going to do it because I want to; or I am not going to do it at all. If you feel you must do something because you are obligated but don't really want to, take the time to examine your belief system for conflicting beliefs. Try to bring these beliefs into agreement or assign priorities to them so that you will be able to accept your own decisions. For example, you have a cousin who was in jail and you feel you should be nice to him because he is family, but you don't want to be with him because you don't approve of his behavior. This is an obvious conflict in your belief system that is causing some distress. Take the time to determine your priorities and resolve this conflict.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Think about how you are trying to be the best person you know how to be.

Tuesday: Accept yourself as a loving and caring person.

Wednesday: Think about the things you don't like to do but do because you think that you should.

Thursday: Think about the changes you would like to make to become the person you hope to be.

Friday: Recognize that you have the power to make any changes you desire in your life.

Saturday: Think about the beliefs you have that cause you to become upset and identify the reasons that cause you to be upset.

Sunday: Resolve that when you make choices that result in your being upset that you will examine them and choose a new response that is not upsetting to you.

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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