Dove with Branch
September 26, 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, My mother still tells me how to run my daily life and I am thirty-two years old. I tell her I can appreciate her help on occasion and that I will let her know when I would like it, but this doesn't stop her. She even tells me what I should cook for dinner and what I should wear when I go out. I want to keep my mother in my life but how do I get her to stop giving me advice? - Gloria in CO

Dear Gloria, The first thing to do is to think carefully about whether you want her to stop giving advice. If you just let her speak her mind and continue to make your own choices you don't need to be upset by what she says to you. Your other options run all the way from explaining that you feel ready to make your own choices now, to breaking off regular contact with her. It may be difficult to get her to change. Think carefully about learning to tolerate her behavior before you make a choice that damages an otherwise good relationship. - the Dean

Dear Dean, We live in Indiana and each summer we try to spend a summer at our family homes in New York. We enjoy our three weeks there a lot but we have a problem with my husband's parents. They plan too many events even though we do enjoy them. The problem is it doesn't leave us enough time to do all the things we would really like to do. How can we find more time on our own without insulting them? - Mandy in IN

Dear Mandy, If you are going to make your decisions based on whether you insult them or not this may be difficult. I suggest you listen and accommodate them if you can make that work for you. Explain that you have other prior commitments or plans when it won't. You can respect other's wishes and accommodate their good intentions when it works without letting them take control of your decisions. If being nice and just explaining your need or passion to do what you choose and let them keep trying to be helpful doesn't work for you, then perhaps you, your wife, or both of you, need to have a "heart to heart" with them. - 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 have learned that bullying people and making them do things the way we want them to be done has not been effective in the home, in the workplace and in our local community. Whenever we try to do that we create resistance. People refuse to cooperate with us because they feel put upon by the way we are treating them. We want to be accepted and liked by other people for who we are and they are treating us just the opposite.

True, we can learn to recognize this is what is happening and learn not to be upset by it. This is difficult for many of us to learn. And is still not giving us the love and approval we naturally seek. This bullying behavior leads to an even greater problem. It leads to us as a nation using that kind of behavior when dealing with the other nations of the world.

If it doesn't work well in the home and the community it is not going to work well in the world. The result is that it leads to a world society that is held together through fear rather than common respect and caring for each other as fellow human beings. The world is here for us to enjoy. Why should we waste our lives generation after generation living in disharmony? All we have to do is change our way of looking at things and we can produce the joy and peace we all seek in our lives. Furthermore, we don't have to wait for the rest of the world. We can learn to experience joy and peace in personal lives now.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Failure always gives us the opportunity to try something else. One of the greatest challenges is to learn to accept not achieving our goal. We can learn to look at such disappointments as a signal to re-evaluate our goals and the methods of getting there. We can even look at it as an opportunity to pursue different goals.

Our perceptions are not facts. They are mirrors of our thoughts in that we choose what to focus on, and our belief system determines how we interpret the information. We get different interpretations because we have different beliefs. To change our interpretations we must change our beliefs.

The important thing to remember is that how we perceive a conversation with a loved one, the behavior of others, or our own personal performance depends on our unique frame of reference. If your perception produces a warm feeling great! But if it is upsetting, it is time to stop and review your perceptions to try to determine why you are upset. If you want your perceptions to deliver different results, you must make some changes. Learn to accept feeling upset as a signal that you are in need of a "perception adjustment."

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: When someone speaks to you notice how you feel about it.

Tuesday: Notice how you feel when someone disagrees with you.

Wednesday: Notice how you feel when a goal or desire is not realized.

Thursday: Think about what belief you have that makes you feel upset.

Friday: When your response is upsetting think about a way to feel about the same event that is not upsetting.

Saturday: Create a new belief that will allow you to feel positive about the upsetting event.

Sunday: Resolve to always find ways to create positive feelings about all of the events in your life.

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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