Dove with Branch
May 28, 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, My 18 year old daughter went through a very rough time over 3 years ago. She had a boyfriend that made her miserable, suicidal, untrustworthy, angry all the time and she was with him. They broke up when he cheated on her and slowly she pulled herself back together and had been happy, stable and trustworthy. Lately she is getting angry about small things and has begun going down hill in her school work. She overdosed on medication recently. Recently I found her camera with many of pictures of her ex-boyfriend. She is back with him and behaving the same way she did then. How can I get her to see that this relationship she has with this boy is not healthy? He is a drug user and manipulates my daughter and ruins her self esteem. I just want her to have a happy healthy future. - Shanna in CA

Dear Shanna, You are at a place where you should seek professional help and consider a support group for yourself. Be supportive of your daughter. Don't criticize her for her behavior. She already knows she has a problem. Work with her to solve the problem. - the Dean

Dear Dean, My son is starting to fail in his school work and is hanging out with kids who are troublemakers and into drugs. What do you suggest? - Gilbert in OR

Dear Gilbert, Again, don't criticize. Take the time to get him to open up and tell you what the problems are. Ask lots of questions and give few suggestions. Let him know you are there to help. Guide him to find why what he is doing is not the best course to follow. - 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 are a compassionate people and when families were no longer able or willing to take care of their non-productive members we created a welfare system to provide for them. This cared for the needy, but it also created a problem in that people would become needy just because it was more attractive to rely on the help of the state than it was to provide for themselves.

About ten years ago we made a general shift in our policy on welfare. We said that welfare was temporary. That people needed to find work; and that we would help them, including training, if necessary. We found many with emotional and/or physical problems and many with lack of educational or job training skills.

Now many are saying the program is failing because so many are just not capable of work. The answer, I believe, is to deal with the underlying problems and prepare them for work. Educational shortcomings can be remedied. We are doing that, but we need to do more. Emotional and addiction problems can be repaired. When we just give up and provide for their subsistence we are just continuing to let them suffer needlessly. If we truly care about others we will put more effort into increasing their quality of life and not be content to just give them enough to be able to survive.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Once we are aware of how to change the way we process incoming information, change our beliefs, change our biases (ways of looking at things), we are still left with one major problem. That is our memories. Our memories are all of the things that happened to us in our life. Every memory comes with a judgment attached to it. The problem we have is that the judgment attached to a memory affects how we look at new events when they occur. For example, we may have a relative or friend who was killed in an avalanche. We may then transfer that to a fear of snow, or a distrust of weather forecasters.

We can actually revisit those old memories that are upsetting to us, and change the way we feel and think about them today. Some people tend to do this naturally. People who tend to be always positive or always negative have applied their particular bias when looking at old memories, in a way that agrees with the way they want to look at things. If you like someone you tend to forget that they teased you and upset you when you were young. If you don't like them because they teased you, you may forget that they always brought you gifts when they visited.

We can pay attention to old memories and change the ones that still have negative feelings attached so that they no longer do. In dealing with existing positive and negative charges on our memories our goal is to remove or diminish negative emotional charges and develop and intensify as many positive charges as possible. If this makes you feel like a Pollyanna, remember she was the happy one, she only seems unrealistic to unhappy people.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Think about a person that you dislike and think of all the positive things you can about that person. List at least three.

Tuesday: Acknowledge the person from your past for their good qualities and make a decision to no longer dislike them.

Wednesday: Forgive and release all the negative memories you hold about the person you have chosen.

Thursday: Carry out this process for all people that you still hold negative memories about.

Friday: Carry out this process for all entities and ideologies that you hold negative emotions about.

Saturday: Resolve to always release any negative emotions that you find in your memory.

Sunday: Resolve to intensify and enjoy your positive emotional memories.

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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