Dove with Branch
September 13, 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, Before my mother passed away she put in her will that she be cremated and told me as I was her Personal Representative. She asked me not to tell anyone until after her death because she was afraid they would be upset and try to talk her out of it. When she passed away and I informed everyone; to no surprise they were upset. They were not only upset with her, but were upset with me for not informing them. One sister will no longer speak to me. Do you think respecting her wishes was proper in this circumstance? - Janell in NC

Dear Janell, Yes I think you did the right thing! Your mother has the right to choose in these things and it is appropriate for you to respect her wishes. The reason your relatives are upset is because of their own personal problems of not being able to accept your mother's wishes. Stay loving, do not let this upset you and go on with your life knowing you did exactly what your mother wanted and that is what mattered. - the Dean

Dear Dean, I work the day shift which starts at 7:00 AM. I found that I have become accustomed to late hours during my school years and now have trouble sleeping. I would like to work a later shift so that I would be more effective on the job but am afraid to ask. What do you suggest? - Brett in AZ

Dear Brett, I suggest you first consider your options and choose the one that you believe will be the most effective in the long run. Unless you can change your habit to get enough sleep then asking to work a later shift seems like an attractive option. Since that is available at your present workplace, it would seem that asking to change is an option that would most likely be attractive to both you and your employer. They would benefit from a more energetic worker on the job and would most likely accommodate you. Just be sure that you ask in a positive way so that they will see value both in you and your request. - 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 think of a court trial as a way of solving issues. In fact we have reached the point that not just a trial, but a complete exhaustion of the legal process is required. Our thinking is that we must do all we can to win, regardless of the cost in time and money. Those with the most money often use the process just so that they can win when the other party runs out of money and is unable to continue the fight.

If instead we viewed going to court as a failure, a failure to be able to resolve our issues, then we would approach the problem differently. We would make every effort to solve the problem ourselves; and then use mediation or arbitration for resolution when necessary. We would be much more willing to resolve our differences instead of battling to the end. Our effort to resolve problems would best begin just by sitting down over a couple cups of coffee and talking.

Unfortunately this same thing is going on in international politics. We look at war much the same way we do as going to court in the legal system. We use it as a tool of diplomacy. We look at war as a way to resolve our differences; instead of as a failure to resolve them. If we viewed war as representing a total failure to solve our differences instead of a failure to have our own way we would be less eager to go to war.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Don't become a mind reader. We need to learn to not make assumptions about what our partner is thinking or wants. Also, we should never assume that they fully understand what we are telling them. Finishing your partner's sentence for them when you think you know what they are about to say not only leads to their resentment and anger but also to your own lack of understanding about who they really are.

On the other hand, be clear when you are communicating something to your partner. Don't assume that the other person automatically knows what you mean when you say something. Their way of thinking is not identical to yours, and misunderstandings are likely if you are not explicit and clear. Such misunderstandings can often lead to one or the other becoming fearful or angry. We need to do the best we can to make sure the other person understands what we are thinking.

Arthur Conan Doyle in his Sherlock Homes series left us with an idea that it is really cool to be able to take a few facts and find the answer. We need to overcome the idea that it is clever to be able to understand what someone is really thinking or saying just by listening to a few words. When we are trying to understand something the idea is to withhold judgment until we can get as much information as possible. The more we jump to conclusions the more we will be creating misunderstandings - and unnecessary stress.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Pay attention to how often you assume you know what someone is telling you before they complete what they are saying.

Tuesday: When you are uncertain of what someone is saying ask what they mean instead of guessing what they mean.

Wednesday: When someone says something different than what you expect take the time to make sure they mean what you think they do.

Thursday: Be accurate and complete when explaining and making requests of others.

Friday: When someone tells you something find out how they feel as that is part of the message.

Saturday: Expect that many words will have a different meaning to the other person. .

Sunday: Resolve not to be the super sleuth who "knows" the answer from just a few clues.

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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