Dove with Branch
May 13, 2013 Insights From the Dean of Peace
Notes from the Dean's Desk
Dear Peacemaker,

This weekly newsletter is available free by subscription. All copies are available on my website.

If you enjoy this newsletter and know someone who you think may enjoy it as well, please feel free to share it with them.

Ask the Dean?
Dean Van Leuven   Global Struggle

Dear Dean, My younger brother and I had an extremely difficult relationship. I see him only at family gathering and we end up fighting and leaving angry with each other. He is an angry person and it is difficult to be around him. I do miss him and feel guilty can you offer some suggestions on how to resolve this difference? - Ralph in NE

Dear Ralph, Your brother is just the way he is. Your relationship with him depends on your ability to be reasonably comfortable with his anger; or to find a way so that you no longer experience it. You obviously care about your family and would like to get along, thus you have created a dilemma for yourself. You must make a choice. Possible choices include: 1. Learning how to not to be affected by his anger. 2. Getting him not to display him anger in your presence. 3. No longer being around him. 4. Being with him only when there is someone else present to deflect the anger. 5. No longer spending any talking with him at all. Only you know which answer is best for you. If you can accomplish the first suggestion it may provide other great benefits in your life as well. Consider taking responsibility for your reaction to his anger and seeking some understanding of how to change your reaction. My book "Life Without Anger" would be helpful in allowing you to be able to spend acceptable, and perhaps even pleasurable time with your brother; as well as derive other benefits in your life. - the Dean

Dear Dean, I appreciate the helpful tips and find if I really pay attention to them they make life work better for me. I have resolved several stressful issues after considering your suggestions. - Sherry in CA

Dear Sherry, Thanks for the kind words! - 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

The idea that we think it is okay to fight wars to further the interest of our country goes hand in hand with the idea that we should use the death penalty as punishment in our legal system. What we want to happen more than anything else when a crime is committed is that it never be committed again. We think that punishment will be effective and they deserve the death penalty, "an eye for an eye." How effective has that been for us? Not very!

I suggest we focus more on preventing the crime from first happening, and then recurring, and we will be more successful in preventing murder. If it is okay for the state to use death for punishment then we look at death as appropriate punishment and are far more apt to feel justified in administering the punishment of death personally. Because the state is not there at the moment we feel justified in administering the punishment personally. We do this for example, when we kill someone in defense of our property. We even extend this on occasion to when someone has done something to make us angry.

Since we have given the state the power to administer death as punishment, we are able to accept the concept that when the state does not have its way in the world that it has the right to administer death to its adversaries by waging war. If murder is wrong then the death penalty and war are wrong because they are just "murder by the state." If we want to live peacefully in the world with other nations, and other people we must give up the idea that we can kill them when they displease us.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Humor can be an effective way to prevent our negative emotions from occurring. It is not possible to experience true humor and negative emotions at the same time. If you find something funny you are not looking at it in a negative way. When we look for the humor in every situation and respond with humor whenever possible, we tend to blunt the tendency to feel negative about something. Instead we transform it into a positive emotion. When we do this we change the negative situation or the event, whatever it may be, into a positive event from our point of view.

Humor can also be thought of as a way of re-appraising a situation. Because you have thought of something in a humorous way, you have changed it into an emotionally positive event. You have intentionally placed yourself in your positive emotions when you chose humor as a response. Also, this allows you to send the information to the thinking center of your brain in order to develop an effective reply. Thinking about something instead of just reacting, tends to remove or reduce the emotional impact.

When you respond with humor you are able to actually shift from a negative emotion to a positive one just by the way you perceive and react to the event. Thinking it is funny when someone cuts in front of you in traffic will change your emotional response. By using humor, you're telling yourself that you refuse to take things too seriously. Humor reduces the seriousness of your thought. It shows that you can laugh at your failures. Humor laughs at our failures, but in an accepting and tolerant way. It helps you see the other side of things.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Think about how often you use humor.

Tuesday: Think about how it makes you feel when others use humor.

Wednesday: Think about how humor can transform a negative situation.

Thursday: Think about how others feel when you respond with humor.

Friday: Think about how good it feels to be able to laugh at whatever happens.

Saturday: Think about something that disturbs you and find a funny way of looking at it.

Sunday: Resolve to always see the funny side of 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."

If you are a charitable or religious organization and would like to reprint any of my articles please contact me for permission, which will be cheerfully granted.

If you know someone who might be interested in using any, or all of my regular newspaper columns please pass this information on to them. Or send me their e-mail address, or telephone number, and I will be happy to send them the information.

Past issues of this newsletter are archived on my website.

I welcome your suggestion or comments. If you have a question that you would like addressed in the Ask the Dean? column feel free to send them to


Contact Information

phone: 800-359-6015 fax:541-935-9361
Join our mailing list!

If you wish to no longer receive this newsletter please send a reply which includes "unsubscribe" and the existing subject line in the reply.

The subject line and the address to which it was sent must be included.