Dove with Branch
August 22, 2011 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, The pain of losing her mother is still very fresh for Allie in MN (Ask the Dean 8/15). I don't think we ever get over a significant loss in our lives. But I do know that with time, the loss becomes easier to bear and to think about it. I would like to offer Allie a different perspective on her sister's behavior. It could be that her sister is avoiding dealing with her mother's death by keeping busy, pretending as if nothing has happened. If her sister is indeed avoiding dealing with the issue, she will eventually need Allie's love and support. Allie should be gentle with herself and with her sister. Time will make this process easier. They just need to remember to take things one day at a time. - Claire in NM

Dear Claire, Thanks Claire, your answer adds perspective. The concern I was trying to address is that so many people think the point is that they are supposed to suffer rather than supposed to recover. This tends to prolong recovery and increases suffering. - 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 her tuition. Instead she wants to go to trade school to become an electrician. We think she is capable of being much more than an electrician. How can we encourage her to go on to college so that she will make a good choice? - Nikki in CO

Dear Nikki, How can he be more than an electrician? One profession is not better than the other. Her choice may be different than yours. But that is part of the freedom that creates our society. Do you want your child to be her person or your person? Not that it matters but electricians 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

When we are growing up we are taught a belief system (way of thinking) by our parents, teachers, friends, government, etc. We then form opinions that differ slightly from our "lessons" because of our own individual personality. In other words, we believe and think the way we do because of the circumstances of our birth and environment.

The strange thing is that even when we know this is how our beliefs are formed we will still look at these beliefs we hold as the only right way of doing things. More importantly, we think that when other people do believe or do things differently that they are wrong. I believe the problem comes from the belief that many have that our beliefs are truth and should be defended regardless of the arguments against them, even if they are producing unpleasant results in our life.

If we would recognize that a peaceful and enjoyable life is a desirable goal we would have a standard that would allow us to reevaluate our own personal beliefs, and change those that are not producing the best results in our life. Much of the pain and suffering we have in this life comes from the idea that we must follow our beliefs, and that we have no other positive choice. Be willing to give up old beliefs that don't serve you well in order to increase your quality of life. Any time you feel upset it is good to reevaluate the belief that causes you to feel that way.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

When we respond with humor, we are able to actually change something that may feel negative into something that feels positive to us and to others as well. By using humor, we're telling ourselves that we refuse to take things too seriously. Humor reduces the seriousness of your thoughts. It shows that you can laugh at your failures.

Humor laughs at your failures, but in an accepting and tolerant way. It helps you see another side of things. It reveals to you that, whatever misfortune or catastrophe has landed on your doorstep is not the end of the world. Humor is a love based emotion. When you use it you avoid feeling negative emotions.

Speakers invariably use humor to get the attention of their audience. They do this because of its powerful positive effect. Because most people like to laugh, humor tends to get the other person to accept what you are saying or doing in a positive way. When you use humor, it creates a positive feeling for your ideas in the hearts and minds of others. When used effectively, it is a powerful and wonderful tool. Learn to use it effectively and more happiness and joy will creep into your life; and those around you as well.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Decide to think that life is fun, and funny.

Tuesday: Decide to no longer take things too seriously.

Wednesday: Today read the comics in your newspaper and find something to laugh at in each one of them.

Thursday: Create an original joke and tell it until someone laughs.

Friday: Resolve never to be offended by jokes made in good humor.

Saturday: Practice finding humor in everything that is said today.

Sunday: Learn to look for and respond with appropriate humor in any situation.

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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