Dove with Branch
April 15, 2013 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, Thank you for another excellent newsletter. About your message "Do you want to be right - or do you want to be happy:" I find that I often get into silly arguments over things my partner is saying wrong simple because they are wrong. It really doesn't matter that they are wrong about many things so I have slowly learned not to argue about things that don't really whether they are right or not. You are right it doesn't matter whether we had baked potatoes on Wednesday or Thursday - Rachael in MN

Dear Rachael, Thanks for your comments. When we let go of the unimportant stuff we release a lot of anger production. - the Dean

Dear Dean, My spouse is a very poor cook. I tell her what I want for dinner and she never seems to get it right. What can I do to make her fix things the way they should be cooked? - Vern in MO

Dear Vern, Your wife is not here to be your servant, unless she agreed to fix the meals and just the way you like them before marriage. If you are not satisfied with the meals she prepares you always have the option of fixing them yourself. You most likely would find your meals prepared better if you compliment her, even when they are not. The more you compliment her for her successes the more she will be motivated to cook your meals the way you want them. Beside that, she will be more loving to you as well. When you complain about burnt toast something else is apt to not turn out the way you want. - 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

In order to become a peaceful society we must learn how to be peaceful. We learn this mostly through our education as we are growing up. We learn it from our parents, our teachers and others in our society. Before we can become peaceful we must learn peaceful ways of thinking. We need to give up such things as being upset because others have inconvenienced us or want to do things differently. This comes from our education. Our lives out-picture the beliefs taught to us by our society. We build, and use, war machines because we believe they are necessary..

We spend approximately ten times the money on national defense that we spend on education. Because we have not learned peace, we spend much of our resources protecting ourselves. One answer is to spend more money on machines of war to protect us. A better answer, I believe, is to develop and teach the concepts that will produce peace, and reduce our defense budget down to the size of our education budget.

Is this reasonable? I think so. The U.S. and its Allies spend about three times as much on defense as the rest of the world. Most of our military spending is caused because we disagree with what others are doing, not because they are attacking us. We have ample opportunity to find more peaceful solutions when we start desiring them.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Unfortunately, we often relate to each other as if we are to be constantly judged. We think it is important to decide who is wrong and who is right. We think we need to be right. And if we are wrong, then we think we should suffer and be punished somehow. If there is guilt, then we think there must be blame. We try to control someone else's behavior by placing blame upon them. Most of the time, we don't even realize that we are doing this. But if we are practicing guilt and blame, we see the other person as threatening us, so we attack them. Because of their insecurities many people can be controlled by the power you create by placing blame. You may gain control, but do not expect a positive relationship to result unless you can actually find someone who enjoys other people having the power.

Blaming always leaves us with resentment and other negative feelings. Only by not placing blame can we be in control of our own fate. Unfortunately our legal system has adopted the concept of negligence, which is simply placing blame for mistakes. We buy into this concept of blaming others for all of the bad things that happen to us. We have learned to believe we should be compensated any time a bad thing happens to us because that is our society's way of thinking. When we do this we inadvertently accept victim-hood and incorporate it into our belief system.

By learning not to judge others, we learn to accept ourselves. As long as we condemn others for their mistakes, we will not be able to fully accept our own. We will be angry with ourselves because we are not living up to our own judgment of how we should be.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Think about how you judge other people.

Tuesday: Think about how you blame other people for their mistakes.

Wednesday: Think about how you use blame to control other people's actions.

Thursday: Think about how you feel when others blame you.

Friday: Resolve to accept the different opinions of others as appropriate for them.

Saturday: Resolve not to blame others for honest mistakes.

Sunday: Resolve to accept other people as they are without judgment.

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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