Dove with Branch
March 05, 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, I like to wear sports shirts with a tie and jeans. My wife and co-workers and even my friends will make fun of me and say that I am not taken seriously when I dress this way. I believe I should wear what I like, but I am upset by the criticism. What should I do? - Jeffrey in CA

Dear Jeffrey, You have choices. You can wear what is expected, or you can learn not to be disturbed by their comments. The answer that may be the best in the long run, but may seem the most difficult at first is to not be upset by their comments. This is something you can learn to do that may pay great rewards in other areas of your life as well. We are happier when we are controlled by our own thinking, instead of the opinion of others. Trust yourself. Love yourself and allow others to express opinions different than your own without being disturbed by them. - the Dean

Dear Dean, No matter how I feel I always present a cheery face at work. However co-workers often don't respond in a similar manner and this upsets me very much. How do you suggest I handle this? - Ruth in IL

Dear Ruth, It is wonderful that you give your gift of cheer. But give it freely. Don't expect that others must accept it, or owe you anything in return. A gift is to be offered without strings. You offered it to make the world better. Don't demand in your own mind that your gift must be returned, or even accepted by the other person. Allow them to be the way they want to be. - 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

It has been fashionable when politicians change their mind about an issue, to accuse them of flip-flopping and to call them wishy-washy in their principals. I believe this is just a tactic used by someone who supports the original decision and is resisting the change. Many are willing to resort to calling names when they don't like what is happening.

First of all, I want politicians to be open to changing their minds if they see they have made a mistake. I don't want them to be like an ostrich and bury their heads in the sand when they see things going wrong. I call this driving square pegs in round holes. I suggest they get new pegs that fit instead of trying to use a bigger hammer to get them in with. I want them to be open to change when things don't turn out as expected. They are the ones who have studied the issues and the facts. I want their best judgment at all times, not just when the decision was made.

Secondly, we elected them to make our decisions for us. I do not want my representatives to make a decision simply because it might determine whether they are re-elected. Let us respect their choices until the will of the voters select someone else to replace them. If we want them to do the best job for us we need to give them the freedom to do what they think is the best job. We can learn to trust their judgment and then judge them by the results they produce.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Most of our anger is caused because the real world does not live up to our expectation or our dreams. We keep insisting that the real world be a certain way. When it isn't we get angry. For example, you are in a nice restaurant having dinner and small children who are part of the family at the next table are being loud and disruptive, and that upsets you. You have an ideal view of how these children should act. You keep demanding that children act that way even though you have no power to control them. And you get angry when they don't do it your way.

We get angry when others in our culture - or outside of it - don't follow the cultural rules. A major role of anger in our culture is its policing function. For example, you expect people to stay in line and take their turn when checking out at the supermarket. Our society demands this behavior because if people don't follow these rules the less aggressive of us will have to wait much longer to purchase our goods and go home. When someone doesn't follow the rules and crowds to the front of the line, others often react by getting angry and shouting at them to get to the back of the line.

Although every culture's rules are subjective, and different segments of our society may have conflicting rules, anger is often employed against those who go against the rules, in order to coerce them into conforming. And because many of us refuse to accept cultural differences as natural and desirable, national governments are even able to use the anger resulting from such differences to justify war.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Think about the times you get angry when other people don't do things the way you think they should.

Tuesday: Think about the reasons they do things the way they do.

Wednesday: Think about the idea that people should make choices that are appropriate for them.

Thursday: Think about how we should accept the choices of others as appropriate for them.

Friday: Think about how other people and other societies have different ideas about what is proper.

Saturday: Realize that it is normal and acceptable for other people to have different ways of doing things.

Sunday: Resolve to accept the customs of others as appropriate for them.

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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