Dove with Branch
March 04, 2013 Insights From the Dean of Peace
Notes from the Dean's Desk
Dear Dean,

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Ask the Dean?
Dean Van Leuven   Global Struggle

Dear Dean, We live in Hollywood and we have many relatives will come and stay with us when they want to visit the city. We don't mind them staying but can't afford the extra cost in time, energy and money to care for them. We are happy to be a guide and show them the city. How do we get them to help pay for expenses? - Maria in CA

Dear Maria, Staying with you doesn't seem to be a problem except for the expense. Why can't you simply let them know your situation? Being with friends is still a good deal for both of you. Be honest and things will work out fine. They will be happy to cover expenses, or stay elsewhere. Be ashamed to speak your truth and everyone will be upset. - the Dean

Dear Dean, My fiancée's family doesn't approve of me. They think I am not good enough for her because I am not Italian. They think I act like a cold hearted American, and they are always finding fault with me and telling her she needs to find someone of her own ethnic background. The problem is that she will go there for holiday dinners without me. I want to be with her on the holidays but she says she can't neglect her family and that I should go and they will eventually accept me. - Nelson in NJ

Dear Nelson, The inability to understand ethnic differences frequently results in problems. This is something both you and your fiancée need to work out. Neither you nor she is obligated to handle it in a certain way, or do a certain thing. What you do need to do is find a solution that will work for both of you. I suggest going with her, even if the reception is cool. They may warm to you when they see that she truly cares for you. Issues that could break up the marriage need to be resolved before the marriage. How the two of you are at resolving differences is usually more important than the differences. - 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

I have been reflecting on a difficult question this week. It is; when we are an activist seeking positive solutions for creating peace how do we work with and identify with those who are seeking peace by resisting all of the violence in the world? When I seek change only by searching for positive solutions and not simply by resisting what I think is wrong, how do I interact with those who are seeking change through resistance to what is?

The answer, I think; is contained in the fact that we are all in this life together. And that includes those who are using violence to achieve their objectives. Human society has a universal interest in maximizing our life experience. Since we are in this experience together, we should all be talking to each other all of the time, no matter what the circumstances.

We should state our truth and the reasons for it clearly, and listen openly and respectfully to the truth of others. We need to remember they have as much right to their truth as we have to ours. We should always respond in a loving way and be willing to accept the consensus decision of the group, even if we don't agree with it. We may continue to work for change by getting others to understand the value of the position we hold in a positive way. Let's all stand together whether we agree with each other or not! Since we will never all agree, the only way to have peace is to agree to disagree and accept the other person's point of view as valid him. Remember that what everyone wants most in the world is to be loved - to be accepted as a good and loving person!

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

When entering into a marital or partnering relationship consider the idea of the partners actually creating the relationship as a third party. When you do this, you are able to look at the relationship in a more detached and objective way. The relationship takes on a life of its own. The two of you are working together to create a separate entity which is the relationship itself.

You can look at what each of you want the relationship to be and what each of you is able to bring to the relationship. This allows you to be able to discuss the health of the relationship without taking it so personally. You have now created a model of what you want the relationship to be in some detail. And you have a method you can use once you enter into the relationship for examining the stresses without criticizing the other partner.

During the relationship you will be able to quickly identify when any of the initial goals or contributions by either party have changed; and what work needs to be done to make it well. Also, you are more able to focus on the issues without personal incrimination and to negotiate change where needed. It is easier to focus on creating what you want. When something goes wrong you can more easily focus on what is wrong and how to fix it because you have already agreed about how you want it to be.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Think about your vision of your relationship with your partner.

Tuesday: Think about your partners' vision of the relationship.

Wednesday: Work with your partner to create a common vision of the relationship that is acceptable to both of you.

Thursday: Think about the things you need to do to realize that vision.

Friday: Think about the things you believe your partner should do to support the partnership.

Saturday: Discuss a plan for each of you to reach the goals of the partnership.

Sunday: Rejoice in the enjoyment of a common vision and a united experience.

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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