Dove with Branch
May 14, 2012 Insights From the Dean of Peace
Notes from the Dean's Desk
Dear Peacemaker,

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Ask the Dean?
Dean Van Leuven   Global Struggle

Dear Dean, We have two wonderful children. They are very active in school and community activities. My wife is busy taking them to practice and doing all the other things necessary to support them. She says she is so busy with the kids that she never has time to do the housekeeping. We entertain guests at home often because of my business and we need our home to look nice. How can I make her realize the importance of this so that she has the house looking nice when company arrives? - Gary in CO

Dear Gary, You are not the boss. You shouldn't be making your wife understand anything. You have a need for a clean house. There are four of you who can each clean all or part of it. You have many solutions besides requiring your wife to do it. I am sure she already understands your need for a clean house. I suggest you find a positive way for her to be able to accomplish this or find another way to get it done. Anyone can clean the house only your wife is available to be a loving mother. - the Dean

Dear Dean, I have retired and I am at home during the day. I find my wife never does the breakfast dishes until just before she starts dinner. The sink looks like a mess and makes it difficult to fix a snack. How can I get her to clean it up? - Warren in CA

Dear Warren, You can suggest doing something that she wants done in return for her doing the dishes. Better yet, do the dishes for her in trade for some other chore. You could just do the dishes in a cheerful way and ask her if there are any more to do while you are at it? You could even decide that leaving dirty dishes in the sink is acceptable. The dishes in the sink are a problem for you, but apparently not for her. Complaining and demanding that others do things your way are not positive problem solving skills. - 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 worry about things like swine flu, a threat that kills very few, more than we do about the common flue which kills about a quarter of a million people a year. Threats that are new, sudden, and more dramatic trouble us much more than those we have grown up with, and learned to accept. We are a little like the frog we can boil without it noticing if we turn up the heat very slowly.

How can we learn to evaluate the threat instead of the fear? I call this "keeping things in perspective." We need to stop when we are upset by something that is happening, or we fear will happen, and compare it with the other dangers and fears in our lives. Always ask yourself the question, "How important is this anyway?" Whenever you feel caught up in the drama of what is happening, or are upset with what is happening around you, stop and ask yourself that question.

When we learn to keep things in perspective it allows us to be more accepting of our world, and what is happening in it. If we ask what we can do about something, and the answer is nothing, then learn to let go of the worry associated with it. When you choose to worry when you can do nothing or choose to do nothing, the only thing you accomplish is making yourself upset.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Our expectations can often get in the way of intimacy - especially when we are not forthcoming with our mate, or when expectations clash. We need to let our mate know what our expectations are, find out what their expectations are, and then come to some agreement about them. Preferably, we should do this before we enter into any permanent or long-term relationship.

Your mate's expectations will always be different than yours. To assume otherwise will only get you into trouble. Too often we expect that our relationship will or should resemble how things were in our own family, or how "most couples" relate to each other in this society. We then become partners with someone expecting that they will think and act that way. But we have no right to expect that our prospective partner live up to our expectations, unless they agree to. Just because they have agreed to enter into a relationship with you does not mean that they have agreed to do the cooking or the car repairs, or anything else that you may consider customary and expect from them.

Anything you consider important in your relationship should be discussed and agreed to ahead of time by both of you. When new things come up as your relationship progresses, they should be worked out mutually. You have no right to be upset just because your mate doesn't want to do things your way. Their ideas of what they expect and what they are willing to contribute are just as important as yours are. Expecting them to conform to your notion of how a partner should be, when they haven't agreed to those expectations, and becoming angry when they don't live up to them, is unfair and unreasonable.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Think about what your expectations are for you mate, or your prospective mate.

Tuesday: Determine what your mate's or prospective mate's expectations for you are.

Wednesday: Think about the expectations your mate has, or is likely to have, that are different than your own.

Thursday: Determine what possible resolutions of your disagreements that your mate finds most attractive.

Friday: Think about the possible ways you will be able to meet each other's expectations.

Saturday: Resolve that any time you and your mate disagree that you will work together to find a solution that is satisfactory for both of you.

Sunday: When you feel upset with your mate remember what first attracted you to about 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 conduct workshops throughout the United States and Canada. These workshops 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."

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