Dove with Branch
November 11, 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, Harold and I are planning to be married in January. We want to have a small wedding with only family and a few close friends attending. My mother is okay with this but Harold's mother isn't. She insists on a big wedding and reception including almost everyone we know. She insists that the family's social status is important and she will pay for everything. Neither Fred nor I are concerned about social status. What should we do about this? - Sandra in CA

Dear Sandra, It is good to consider the feelings of others in your family, but you are entitled to make the decisions. Turning it over to your mother-in-law could be a great gift if you were comfortable with her plans. Be sure you have considered the benefits. If you do not find them attractive, then you and Harold should politely and firmly decline her offer or perhaps consider a compromise. The two of you need to reach agreement on your course of action and follow it. You are free to choose a social life different from your parents. - the Dean

Dear Dean, I give my grown children and my grandchildren gifts for their birthday and Christmas and never receive any kind of thank you from them. I am upset by their rudeness. How can I get them to acknowledge the gifts that I give them? - Granny in NJ

Dear Granny, You can't and you shouldn't. When we give someone a gift that means that it is given without condition. If we expect something in return, even if it is only a thank you, we have not given a gift since we are expecting some form of payment in return. It is customary in our society to acknowledge and give thanks for gifts and if you want to give them something on that condition you may certainly do so. Consider that they are not thanking you for the gifts simply because they have not learned the concept of doing so. If you want them to learn this concept a pleasant word pointing out the value of doing so would be appropriate. Not feeling loving toward your children and grandchildren because they haven't learned the concept seems a very high price to pay. - 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

When we have a conversation with someone let's start by assuming they are speaking the truth. Let's also assume that they believe fully in the rightness of their belief. Let's assume that they have valid reasons for thinking the way that they do. And finally, let's assume that we could be wrong. After all we do not possess all of the knowledge in the universe. Stop for a moment and think about how the beliefs of our society have changed as we have grown.

Since we want to be peaceful, let's decide that we would like to have a peaceful relationship with other people. Knowing how much we like to stand in our own truth let's look for a way to allow others to stand in their truth. Even if they are a racist we can allow them to exclude whomever they want from their own homes. What we cannot allow is for them to require us to do the same, or to exclude others from rights shared by all.

The best interest of each of us is tied up in the best interest of all others. Since we have an innate desire to be joyful and live in peace we will eventually learn that lesson, as will others. All we have to do is to prevent those who have not learned that lesson from taking control of our lives and messing it up for us. We need to be sure our government is ultimately controlled by us instead of those who happen to be running it. We will then eventually be able to resolve differences in a way that we can live together in peace.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

It is within the power of each of us to have a life in which we always choose to respond from our positive emotions and no longer experience the negative ones. Not having anger is such a freeing feeling. You never have to go to bed at night trying to figure out how to get even. You no longer have to judge how other people are acting. You just accept the world as it is presented to you. You spend your time thinking about the best way to make it work for you. You are able to focus on making decisions that allow you to fully enjoy life. And you do fully enjoy life.

Just knowing that a life free of fear and anger is available to you once you make the choice to enjoy it; will make you feel better immediately. Choose to take control of your own life. Don't leave it in the hands of anyone who happens to annoy you. Although opportunities to be angry will be offered to you at every turn, you always have the option of refusing to accept them. When you realize that it is your own thinking that has to change, and not other people's behavior, you become capable of making the choice to take control of your anger and your life.

The management of our emotions is subject to the laws of learning, as is everything else we do. Once we learn that a more desirable way to deal with our emotions is available, and we see the value in developing more effective thinking, we are motivated to make the change. Once we learn how to make the change, it is just a matter of doing the work.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: I realize that it is my own thinking that upsets me.

Tuesday: I realize that if I change my thinking it is no longer necessary to be upset.

Wednesday: I recognize the value of not becoming upset when things happen.

Thursday: I recognize that I am capable of changing the way I think about things.

Friday: I see the value of no longer becoming upset by things.

Saturday: I see the value of no longer becoming upset by things. .

Sunday: I resolve that when I become upset I will learn new positive thoughts to replace the upsetting ones.

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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