Dove with Branch
August 29, 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, Occasionally my boss asks me to stay after work to finish up a rush job. This is not good for me because I have children who come home after school and I need to be there for them. I am upset because this is not a good situation for me. . What can I say to my boss when he asks me to stay and help him? - Janice in CA

Dear Janice, I assume that you are not required to stay by your work agreement. Since 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. Try not to be stressed by his request as that 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 both work the same hours. 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 five 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? - Fred in GA

Dear Fred, 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 dinner for yourself, or even the whole family, 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

The idea that we think it is okay to fight wars to further the interest of our country goes hand in hand with the idea that we should use the death penalty as punishment in our legal system. What we want to happen more than anything else when a crime is committed is that it never be committed again. We think that punishment will be effective and they deserve the death penalty, "an eye for an eye." How effective has that been for us? Not very!

I suggest we focus more on preventing the crime from first happening, and then recurring, and we will be more successful in preventing murder. If it is okay for the state to use death for punishment then we look at death as appropriate punishment and are far more apt to feel justified in administering the punishment of death personally. Because the state is not there at the moment we feel justified in administering the punishment personally. We do this for example, when we kill someone in defense of our property. We even extend this on occasion to when someone has done something to make us angry.

Since we have given the state the power to administer death as punishment, we are able to accept the concept that when the state does not have its way in the world that it has the right to administer death to its adversaries by waging war. If murder is wrong then the death penalty and war are wrong because they are just "murder by the state." If we want to live peacefully in the world with other nations, and other people we must give up the idea that we can kill them when they displease us.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Train yourself to be a good listener by learning how to "listen deeply." To do this you must put your own thoughts and beliefs aside, and really focus on what the other person is saying.

Unfortunately, most conversations can be characterized as "my stuff/your stuff." They can be likened to a strange game of tennis - played with two separate balls. You serve your ball to me. I let it pass and serve my ball back to you. You let it pass and serve your ball back to me. The game continues this way - with neither player receiving the other person's ball. In such an instance, it obviously isn't a game at all. And in a conversation with the same characteristics, it's not really a conversation at all. You want to tell your story and I want to tell mine. We never hear the other person's story because we are too busy telling our own. How many conversations have you had lately that went that way?

We can diffuse another person's anger simply by putting an end to the "my stuff/your stuff" game and truly listening to that person. Interestingly, very often when you give the angry person the courtesy of politely listening to what they have to say, without interrupting them or retaliating in anger, their anger is reduced.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Pay attention to how you listen when others talk.

Tuesday: Learn to think only about what the other person is saying without thinking of how it relates to your life.

Wednesday: Learn to answer the other person fully before you relate any story of your own.

Thursday: Pay attention to what the other person is feeling when they talk. someone laughs.

Friday: Be patient and do not interrupt the other person while they are talking.

Saturday: Learn to ask questions that help you understand what the other person is saying and feeling.

Sunday: Address the other person's concerns before you raise any of your own.

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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