Dove with Branch
June 04, 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 husband has informed he has been having an affair and is in love with another woman. I have decided to divorce him and get a new life for myself. Now my husband tells me that he has come to his senses and is pleading for me and the children to take him back. The children want him back and I don't hate him, but I don't want to go through the pain again. For the children's, sake should I consider taking him back? - Harriet in CA

Dear Harriet, You can consider it, but it's not a step I would take easily. If you simply take him back without getting to the root of the problem there is a good chance that the behavior might be repeated. Make it clear to him that the problem that resulted in this behavior must be corrected. Start by having him go to counseling for at least three months. After that the two of you go to couples counseling until you and the counselor agree that you are ready to experience a loving, trusting relationship. Learn to communicate honestly and trust each other before you resume the relationship. If you resume the relationship make regular status checks and resolve problems as they arise. This is much more work to do than simply forgiving, but he must learn a new way of thinking and good intentions are not enough. - the Dean

Dear Dean, My husband thinks it's important what kind of clothing we wear when we are working in an office and representing our family. He says he knows what is best for me and that I must follow his advice. Should I follow his advice for the sake of the marriage? - Susan in MD

Dear Susan, You get to be the decider of what you wear. Your husband may want to maintain a certain appearance or social status but apparently you have a different vision. You should consider his concerns for the sake of the relationship but you are not required to follow his advice unless you find value in that. We should be aware and make the best choice for ourselves. What our mate wishes should be a part of our consideration, but not necessarily the deciding factor. - 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 say we would like to have peace, but it never happens. It is always the "other persons fault." There seems to be an unlimited supply of "other persons" in the world, and perhaps we are sometimes one of them ourselves. Why do we always get angry and blame the other guy when things don't go our way? It is because we think they are wrong and we are right. Isn't it possible we are both right; and both wrong when we get angry?

If we are to have peace we must learn to stop getting angry at other people. When we get angry at others we quit treating them with respect. We are no longer caring, or even open to why they think the way that they do. When we are angry we have the idea that they must do it our way, or we will make them do it. We think they are bad and should be punished. We judge them by our customs when they have been living by theirs.

We are willing to impose our power, even to the death if need be, to make them do it our way. We may be able to do this without resorting to war because they are weak or willing to give in to avoid a fight. We may be happy for the moment because we have things our way. But instead of solving the problem it only sets us up for more conflict in the future. We have made an enemy that we didn't need to make! When we listen to others, understand their differences, and seek resolution we can create a peace that will be lasting.

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 how you would like your life to be.

Tuesday: Think about what you would have to do to make your life the way you would like it to be.

Wednesday: Choose to find the good in everything that happens in your life.

Thursday: Resolve not to dramatize or exaggerate your experiences.

Friday: Resolve to learn from every experience in your life.

Saturday: Resolve that you can accept any experience in your life.

Sunday: Resolve that you can handle any experience in your life.

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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