Dove with Branch
May 20, 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, My work situation is very stressful, and I have a difficult commute. My family wants my attention as soon as I get home, but I am in need of some quiet time. My job is essential if they are going to have all the things that they want. How can I get them to respect my need for quiet time when I get home in the evening? - Frank in CA

Dear Frank, You explain your need to them in such a way that they will be able to understand and respect it. They will wait; if they understand why and it produces a happy father. I suggest before you do that you look at other aspects of this. Realize that the stress from your job is self-induced. For your own sake you would do well to change that. When you are stressed you model stress and upset for your children. Maybe you will find releasing the stress more helpful, and time with the family more valuable, than living a stressful life. - the Dean

Dear Dean, My husband works in a dead end job that doesn't pay enough to meet our needs. I am driving a twelve year old car to take my kids to activities. They don't have enough clothes. They don't have the money to eat out with their friends. It is embarrassing! I urge him to get a promotion or find another job, but he is happy where he is. He says he wants to be able to enjoy the children as they grow up, and this job allows him to do that. How can I motivate him to find a better job? - Lora in NJ

Dear Lora, You could threaten to leave him, but that is guaranteed to produce poor results. Try considering yourself lucky to have a husband who loves his family. Try reassessing your values. You have enough to satisfy everything but your ego. If you can't find a way to be happy with what your husband is providing then find work of your own that will provide the extra self-esteem that you need. - 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

Two of the world's most irrational arguments: (1) We can't afford to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions because it would be too costly and reduce our quality of life. If we don't reduce our greenhouse emissions it will reduce our quality of life! This is a little bit like saying we can't afford to raise chickens because there is too big a demand for eggs. If we want to preserve our quality of life then the changes must be made.

(2) We can't afford to stop building weapons of war because we would have to close the factories and people would be out of work. This is like saying we can't stop killing each other because then we would have nothing else to do. The only justification I can see for this argument is that since we are killing each other if we get good at it then perhaps our group will prevail and many of us will survive. When we take this view the world is condemned to continued warfare and killing.

We recognize that war and global warming are threats to our existence. When we make choices that assure that they will continue we are being irrational. When we want something to change we must make choices that create the change instead of choices that prevent the change. These irrational arguments are being made at the highest level of our government. It is my hope that we as a society will recognize their irrationality and lead our government toward more rational choices.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

One way to reduce our susceptibility to anger is to be open to the possibility of other right answers for our self and for others. Just accepting the possibility that the answer may change if we have more information keeps us open to the idea that the judgment that we have made is only tentative and always subject to change. When we view a judgment in this manner, we don't have a strong emotional investment in it. And we find it easier to make changes when we receive new information that is not in agreement with our present thinking. It also makes it much easier to recognize when new information is not in agreement with our judgment.

In this society we have learned to view differences as an attack. We have learned to marshal arguments to support our view of the truth. It is like we are debaters who are assigned a side and then defend it as our own truth. We tend to buy into our own story and the first thing we know it becomes our truth. If we can learn to give up the need to always have a truth then this become much easier for us.

Sometimes you must make a choice because you must determine an action NOW. Choose a response based on your best thinking, but don't place any emotional value on your choice. Don't take your truths too seriously. Always be looking for a better answer than the one you are acting on. When you see the possibility of a better choice, be open to changing your thinking. Rather than defending your original choice, see what you might learn by considering someone else's.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: I think about the idea that I don't know everything about anything.

Tuesday: I think about the idea that I could possibly be wrong about anything and everything.

Wednesday: I learn to be open for and to exam new information.

Thursday: I fully examine new information that is not in agreement with my opinion.

Friday: I learn not to take disagreement by others as an attack on myself.

Saturday: I always choose the best response available to me based on the information I have.

Sunday: I change my response whenever I see a better possibility.

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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