Dove with Branch
November 07, 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 life - how I am doing things wrong and if I don't do it her way I am going to have a lot of problems. I want to do things my own way but I want to keep a good relationship with my mother. I just listen to her patiently, consider what she says and thank her for her advice. I then make my own choice. Because I listen I am able to keep a good relationship with her, and occasionally I get some really good advice. It costs me nothing just to listen politely. - Barbara in AZ

Dear Barbara, Thank you for sharing this wisdom with us! We all too often create our own problems just by resisting what others are trying to say to or do for us. It never hurts to listen unless we decide it does. We create a lot of problems for ourselves when we spend our time resisting instead of listening. - the Dean

Dear Dean, My mother was always giving me advice. I felt like she was trying to control my life and I resented it so much that I left home and married a guy that she told me was trouble because I wanted to challenge her. Now I have three kids, I am a recovering addict. I am back living with my mother and learning bookkeeping so I can provide for myself and the children. It wasn't that what she was telling me was wrong; it was just because I didn't like her controlling style. I let my anger mess up my life. By letting go of my resentment I now have a better relationship with my mom and I am repairing my life. - Sheryl in WA

Dear Sheryl, So often we make mistakes just because of our resistance to what is happening. It is good that you have learned this lesson and that you are making better choices. We create a good life when we make good choices. - 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 often think about and debate the concept of biological evolution. A concept that seems even more evident and easier to accept is that of social evolution. There are those who feel that our society is condemned to repeat its mistakes and may even destroy itself. It is possible that we may have huge setbacks because of unfortunate mistakes. However the evidence is clear that we are making great progress in our ability to interact, communicate and live together.

Review the progress we have made in education and communication skills and you will marvel at the great progress we have made. The advances in our educational system have transformed our society in many more ways than just the advance of technology. Our increased understanding has allowed us to solve many of our social problems. Advances in the field of human rights have been amazing in recent history. Once we realized that our well-being was affected by the well-being of all others it became possible to create a social order that was more joyful and peaceful.

Perhaps the next great step will be to reduce war from a tool of diplomacy to one of last resort for our preservation. When we do that then war will result only when we lack the imagination to solve our problems. Eventually we will possess sufficient imagination in solving our social problems that war will disappear completely. We humans will always choose in our own self-interest. As soon as we realize that our self-interest includes positive relationships with other people we will learn to make more effective choices.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Perception and recognition is the way we have of evaluating the information than comes to us through our five senses and includes the specific way that we interpret that information. Each of us sees life from our own frame of reference. Our differing perceptions are often the source of conflict and anger. If we understand and choose to accept our differences however, our dissimilar perceptions can become a source of wisdom, joy, and humor in our lives.

We tend to perceive information that supports the beliefs we have. First we take note of the information presented to us that validates our belief systems, and we often fail to notice things that do not. Next, we interpret the information that we receive in a way that is consistent with our existing belief system.

What if this wasn't necessarily the case? What if we considered the information in the light of differing belief systems? And what if we always looked at things from a number of points of view before making a decision? In order to win a trial lawyers are trained to carefully examine the other possible points of view. If they do not, they will not be prepared to respond with the best argument for their case. Likewise, you can learn to examine the information you receive from the points of view of all possibilities. Which brings us to the key question: Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Today I appreciate the diversity in humankind.

Tuesday: Today I say only good things.

Wednesday: Today I say "I love you."

Thursday: Today I take time to breathe deeply.

Friday: Today I practice forgiveness.

Saturday: Today I am forgiveness in action.

Sunday: Today I help someone in need.

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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