Dove with Branch
July 30, 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 smokes in the house. This makes the house very unpleasant. It is unhealthy and is not a good example for our children. How can I get him to stop smoking? - Joyce in WA

Dear Joyce, Unless he made an agreement with you not to smoke before you married, the question should be, "How do we get him to stop smoking in the house?" He has a right to smoke. He doesn't have a right to expose you to it. You could leave the house; or even the marriage. Hopefully you can find a better solution. If he is unwilling to go outside, or into a certain room alone, you are left with a difficult choice. Look for alternatives until you find the one that works for you. - the Dean

Dear Dean, Regarding your ask the Dean about dealing with a difficult day at work: Another choice is to take a few minutes somewhere between work and home, even if you have to pull off to the side of the road, and just take the time to relax and get centered before you go home. - Benny in AZ

Dear Benny, Good suggestion! The main point is to learn to avoid negativity, but the most important thing you can do when you experience it is to take action to remove it. So many just continue on and allow the negativity to poison their future conduct. When we find we have a problem the best course is to deal with it immediately. If we are unable to deal with it successfully then we should take the time to examine it more closely and to learn new ways to deal with the problem. - 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

Let's teach our children a better lesson! Let's teach them that they should consider other viewpoints when making a decision. Because of our exaggerated viewpoint about right and wrong - especially when it comes to political parties - we teach our children to keep telling other people how stupid they are. They learn their lessons from what they see us doing. Is this the example we want to set for them?

When we learn this behavior and talk to those who don't agree, we become entrenched in our positions, and are unable to understand the other person's point of view. No-one is influenced by the others' words and we end up in arguments that sometimes deteriorate into fights. The only way we can enjoy life is to be around others who think like we do - unless of course we truly enjoy being mean spirited and making the lives of others unhappy. We are like spoiled children who must always have our way.

Remember that if we had the same belief that another person had, we would think like they do. They are honest people acting in their own beliefs about what is right and wrong. Learn to respect the other person's point of view, and pass that lesson on to your children. Others will listen to us when they realize that we respect them for who they are. It is an important lesson to learn. Until the people of the world learn this lesson we will not live together in peace. If we work together, we can learn to come up with positive solutions that will work better for all of us. When we vilify those who disagree we will not find peace.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

In dealing with others, the best rule is to start from a place of trust, realizing and accepting that you could be wrong. People tend to respond to you in the same way that you act. You will receive more trust if you offer trust. If you offer distrust, then that is what you usually get back.

If you want to be free of negative emotions, you will need to choose trust. It is well worth the risk of a few disappointments because the only way you are going to find many rewarding relationship is to give them a chance. In order to find rewarding relationships you have to offer trust and see how it works out. If you don't get trust back, well it was going to happen sooner or later, and you have done your best. This is just one of those things in life that we need to takes risks on if we are going to have a rewarding life.

But remember it is a calculated risk that, while you have some failures, is the only way to get the big rewards. One of my personal rules is that I would much rather trust someone and end up being wrong than to not trust them and be wrong. When we trust we create the possibility of something really good happening. When we don't trust we are shut down and even though we may prevent a possible grief - we have not created a possibility for something good to happen.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Think about how the people you trust treat you.

Tuesday: Think about how the people you don't trust treat you.

Wednesday: Ask yourself if those you distrust might respond differently if you trusted them.

Thursday: Think about the opportunities you miss in life simply because you don't trust.

Friday: Realize that nothing good can happen unless you trust others.

Saturday: Be willing to accept a few failures in order to achieve more and better relationships.

Sunday: Resolve to offer trust so that you can receive trust.

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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