Dove with Branch
October 25, 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 twenty year old son has just finished his first year of college. He lives at home with me while attending school. He wants to take a year off and travel about the country before he finishes college. I have forbidden him to do so and have told him I will not pay for his college or let him live at home if he does. Do you think that is a reasonable thing to do? - Gloria in AZ

Dear Gloria, He has a right to make his own choices. You have no obligation to support his travel or to pay for his college afterward, but traveling and being on his own can be a good learning experience. He should make and learn from his own choices even if they seem wrong to you. Punishing or trying to control him by withholding support for education that you are otherwise willing to provide is not helpful for his growth. It may seem the best to you but may not be for your son. - the Dean

Dear Dean, Our daughter has just graduated from high school and we want her to go on to college and are willing to pay for her education. Instead she wants to go to trade school to become a plumber. We think she is capable of being much more than a tradesman. How can we encourage her to go on to college before she decides what she wants to do in life? - Brande in TX

Dear Brande, How can she be more than a plumber? One profession is not better than the other. Her choice may be different than yours. But that is part of the freedom that exists in our society. Do you want your child to be their own person or your person? Not that it matters but plumbers make more than the average college graduate these days. - 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 grow up in our own Society and we are taught pretty clear rules about what is right and what is wrong. We know what we "should expect" from other people, and what they "should expect" from us. When we are growing up, we learn to comply with these rules because others get upset at us and punish us in some way - if only by the way they accept and respond to us. We learn to follow the rules because of the trouble it causes when we don't. We punish others by the way we respond to them when we don't think they are following the rules.

This works fairly well when we live in a homogeneous society where we have all learned the same rules. When we try to apply our rules to others who have different values, we run into problems. When I lived in other countries, I often found that many who visited would become upset because they weren't being treated according to their own rules. "They are wrong; we know the rules and we will correct them!" - was their thinking.

Unfortunately this thinking often carries over to our expectations of what is right or wrong in relationships between countries. We make judgments that they are wrong and must change their behavior. How would you feel if the positions were reversed? We do need some rules about what is right and wrong for all. However they should be created by common agreement, treaty, a world governing body, or some other way we can come to agreement. Dictating how others must act, when we "know" they are wrong only leads to trouble. To live in Peace we must build a path that all societies are willing to walk down.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

You will not be able to enjoy a happy, intimate relationship unless you fully accept and respect the other person, and let them know that you do. "Never criticize or complain" is an important rule to follow. It will help you to reap rewards in the richness of your relationship. Never think you have the right to decide what is right, or what they should do, for your partner. To do so means that you are attempting to assume a position of power over them. If you assume that power your relationship is no longer an equal one.

Also, the other person usually will not happily accept your control. They will likely become angry and unhappy with the relationship in some way. If you are content with a relationship of power and fear this may work for you. If you want a relationship of love and joy asserting power over the other will make this impossible. Knowing in your mind that you are more capable than they are to handle certain things is no excuse to assume control.

If you respect your partner, it will be easier to deepen your friendship and love. If you don't, focus on learning how, because it is essential to the relationship. You bring certain styles and skills to the relationship and they bring others. You chose them for who they were. Respect them for who they are. Focus your attention on the things that make your mate special and that attracted you to them initially. Always, always appreciate that. Often, and with enthusiasm, tell your mate how much you love and appreciate them.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Think about how often you criticize or complain about your mate.

Tuesday: Realize that your mate gets to choose how they want to be.

Wednesday: Resolve not to try to control your mate's choices.

Thursday: Resolve to accept your mate's choices as appropriate for them.

Friday: Resolve to respect your mate for the person that they are.

Saturday: Think about why you chose your mate. ..

Sunday: Resolve to love your mate just as they are.

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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