Dove with Branch
January 16, 2012 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, When my daughter sees something she wants when we are shopping she keeps asking until I get so tired that I give in to her. How can I make her stop asking? - Laura in MI

Dear Laura, She has learned that if she keeps asking you will say yes. She will keep doing this until you teach her that it will no longer work for her. Start by showing her that it won't work. Explain why it won't work, then teach her how to present her request to you in a way that you will fully consider it. When you say no, explain why you say no. And always, always do it in a loving way. You are the teacher. She learns her lessons from you. - the Dean

Dear Dean, I have a brother who is a problem for me. He is irresponsible. He cannot hold a job and gets in trouble for things like not paying his bills and traffic tickets. The problem for me is that every time he gets in serious trouble he comes to me to bail him out. I don't want to keep supporting his bad habits but I always feel guilty and give in. What do you suggest? - Victor in CA

Dear Victor, The answer is to give love and emotional support always, and think carefully about the other support you give. Ask yourself if you are being caring or enabling? Sometimes this is a very difficult question. If you are having difficulty with this issue talk to some outside the problem. If you need a place to seek help try Al-anon. You are facing many of the same problems as someone who has an alcoholic in their life. Above all, do not feel guilty for problems you have no responsibility for. - 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

Our government's purpose is to provide for the greater good of our society as a whole. We often notice but tend to tolerate what we call "pork" spending whereby some of our more influential legislatures obtain funding for special projects in their district that seems out of proportion cost wise to the needs of the whole country. This is a concern we should pay more attention to and find a way to reduce the abuses.

A related problem that we fail to notice is that we tend to look at the benefits we will receive from a project and fail to notice the cost. When we put in a new "road to nowhere" we fail to notice how much benefit we get from it considering the cost to build it. We start projects with federal funding because the money is available rather than based on the merit of the project. If we wouldn't spend our own money to do it, why should we do it just because the federal government is going to pay?

If we have an attitude that we should get as much of the federal funds as possible then we become like the child who runs up debt on the family credit card without worrying because mom and dad will pay the bill. When we learn to care about our neighbors we will become more concerned about their having to pay for our extravagances. Society works better when we share than it does when we try just to "get what we can."

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

We feel upset when we don't deal with unfinished business from the past. As we continue to hold onto our anger, our unforgiving thoughts become the cause of our suffering, and we continue to hurt. The only remedy for this pain and resentment is forgiveness. We can be free of suffering by letting go of the past. Becoming a happy person is really not possible until you free yourself from your anger and forgive.

If you find yourself fearful that what has happened in the past will happen in the future, try taking the opposite attitude - that things will be better now that you have learned the lesson inspired by the negative experience. Which attitude is the most productive- holding onto anger and being miserable, or practicing forgiveness and learning from the experience? Why not consider the person who "wronged you" as a teacher? If you look upon them as a teacher of one of life's lessons it will be much easier to forgive them. Be thankful for the lesson. View the situation from the perspective of how you dealt with it rather than what was done to you.

To decide not to forgive is to decide to suffer. By shifting your perspective and refusing to blame others, or to carry any resentment, you open yourself to a happier existence. Forgiveness is letting go of all hope that we can somehow fix the past. We have all been hurt by the actions of others. It is always easy to justify your anger, but even with the strongest of justifications, you will never be happy if you hold onto the anger. The anger will have won out, and you will have lost, no matter how strong your "case."

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Think about the people that you have not forgiven for something they have done.

Tuesday: Find a new way of thinking about them that forgives the past behavior.

Wednesday: Think about all of the things that have happened in the world that you are angry about.

Thursday: Find a new way of thinking about them that releases your anger.

Friday: Think about the things you have done that you have not forgiven yourself for.

Saturday: Resolve to look at your past mistakes as lessons and release them, being thankful for the lessons.

Sunday: Choose to always forgive others, and yourself, for any poor choices that they or you make.

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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