Dove with Branch
November 01, 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, I am a secretary and my boss often asks me to stay late as he needs to write a letter he couldn't get to sooner or to finish something he has given me to do at the last minute. I have children who come home from school that I must be there to care for so this is a real problem me. This creates a lot of tension and affects my attitude at work and home. What can I say to him when he asks me to stay late to help him? - Jennifer in CA

Dear Jennifer, I assume that you are not required to stay by your work agreement. If staying is voluntary on your part you can simply say no. I suggest that you explain why you are unable to stay, adding that you would like to help but can't in this way. Perhaps you can suggest possible ways to solve the problem such as notice and extra money for a child care. Try not to be stressed by his request as it will affect your work relationship. "Think," - he has a right to ask - I have a right to say no - and let it go. - the Dean

Dear Dean, My wife and I drive to and from work together as we work for the same company. When we get home at night she wants to unwind and spend some "quality time" with the kids before she prepares dinner. We get home at four and we never eat before eight. The problem is that by that time I am starving. How can I get her to fix dinner first and then play with the kids? - Gary in TX

Dear Gary, You don't mention that the kids are complaining. It looks like this arrangement is working well for everyone but you. Unless you had an agreement about this with her that she is not honoring it seems you have little to complain about. Have a family conference and find a solution that will work well for the family. Having a snack or preparing your own meal should not be out of the question. Maybe they would like having dinner on your schedule if you prepared it. - 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

Let's teach our children a better lesson! Let's teach them that they should consider other viewpoints when making a decision. Because of our exaggerated viewpoint about right and wrong - especially when it comes to political parties - we teach our children to keep telling other people how stupid they are. They learn their lessons from what they see us doing. Is this the example we want to set for them?

When we learn this behavior and talk to those who don't agree, we become entrenched in our positions, and are unable to understand the other person's point of view. No-one is influenced by the others' words and we end up in arguments that sometimes deteriorate into fights. The only way we can enjoy life is to be around others who think like we do - unless of course we truly enjoy being mean spirited and making the lives of others unhappy. We are like spoiled children who must always have our way.

Remember that if we had the same belief that another person had, we would think like they do. They are honest people acting in their own beliefs about what is right and wrong. Learn to respect the other person's point of view, and pass that lesson on to your children. Others will listen to us when they realize that we respect them for who they are. It is an important lesson to learn. Until the people of the world learn this lesson we will not live together in peace. If we work together, we can learn to come up with positive solutions that will work better for all of us. When we vilify those who disagree we will not find peace.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

When you communicate with someone who may be holding onto a lot of anger, the best way to deal with him or her is to show a genuine interest in them as a person and in the way that they view life. You'll likely find that when you communicate in this way, their defenses will drop and their hearts will open. Your authentic concern is a powerful diffuser of anger. You can learn how to show concern without validating their fear or anger.

Another very important aspect of communication that we often neglect is to understand the meaning that the other person has for the words they choose. I often find this a problem in doing workshops. I use a word one way and the listeners apply their own meaning to the word which is different from what I intended. This means that I haven't really communicated very well at all. When the response you get is not what you expect make sure that you and the other person really understand the same meaning for all of the words.

Always be vigilant that you both are using the same meaning for words. Realize that you often are not. Try to define or choose your words more precisely when ambiguity is possible. Always be receptive of the other person's definition of a word as appropriate; because it is for them. This is one issue that my wife and I have to pay very close attention to because we find we are often understanding something differently than what the other one is trying to say to us.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Today I think about how I can make friends just by being interested in other peoples concerns.

Tuesday: Let other people know you are interested in them by asking them to share theirs concerns with you.

Wednesday: If you are not sure of the meaning another person has to their words ask before you make an assumption.

Thursday: When the answer you get is not what you are expecting check to see what the other person thought you said and what they meant by the words they used.

Friday: Today I concentrate on avoiding ambiguity in my words.

Saturday: Today I learn to ask when I am not certain that I understand the meaning of what the other person is saying. ..

Sunday: I resolve that when I am disturbed by another person's words I will always seek clarity before responding.

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 Notess

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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