Dove with Branch
June 17, 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, I provide for my children very well. They have all of the things their friends have. We always support them and attend their activities. Yet they lack appreciation for what we do. When they want something, they refuse to take no for an answer. They speak angrily and refuse to follow the rules. Why does this happen and how can we fix it? - Brenda in CA


Dear Brenda, You are your child's teacher. They have learned how they can and should act from the lessons that you have taught them. They act the way they do because that kind of behavior works for them. If you want them to be different you must teach them new lessons. It will be more difficult now because they must unlearn the old lessons. It is important for your children to learn to make choices that are in their own long term interest, rather than whatever works at the moment. They need to learn better strategies for dealing with life. And they need to learn them from you. - the Dean


Dear Dean, I am a third grade teacher. I have problems with children who refuse to keep quiet in class. I send them to the office for some discipline. When they return to class, they often continue to be disruptive. What do you suggest? - Vera in NJ


Dear Vera, You are the teacher. It is your job to get the students to realize that it is more beneficial to not be disruptive. This is best accomplished with positive lessons such as being considerate to friends, and the value of the lessons they are missing. Punishment is not the most effective way to achieve positive results. Look for consequences that are not viewed as punishment such as positive class activities as rewards. - the Dean


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Law, Politics & Society ... As I see them
  Globe Magnify Glass

We are the society. Society should be organized so that it works well for us all. If we have some way of doing things that has become customary for our society and it is not working well for us then we should be willing to develop a new way of doing things that will be more effective for us.


When we reach this conclusion and try to develop a better way of doing things we find ourselves intimidated by the special interest groups that benefit from the way things are done presently. They operate through the media and in their lobbying before government bodies. Let's learn to recognize them for what they are - special interest groups who have a stake in the outcome and want the legislation to benefit their special interests.


Somehow we have gotten the idea that they are too powerful and that we can't create legislation that goes against their special interests. In our system of government it is the votes that count, not the money. If the money is buying the votes then we can elect new representatives who have not been and will not be bought by the money. It would help if we would change the way we elect our politicians so they don't need the money to get elected. The present system just makes the problem of the votes following the money more difficult to solve. Let's devise a way of electing politicians without them having to spend money to get elected and we will solve a lot of our inequities in the present system.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Perhaps you're saying to yourself, "He is the one who makes me angry. I need him to change." This attitude is guaranteed to produce anger. If you can't accept your mate, or your colleague, or your child the way he or she is your relationship is not going to be a happy one. This is something that we must do in order to have a rewarding relationship. Choose to let go of every goal where your peace of mind depends on other people changing. Learn to think, "I love you just the way you are."


It is especially hard with our children because we didn't choose them but it is our job to train them. When they turn out to be different from the way we are training them we often have so such emotion invested in the value of our work that we are upset when the results are not as we intended for them to be.


If another person gives us a lot of negative stuff, we always have the option of no longer having that person in our life. Learn to think, "You are entitled to your own goals and way of living." Your choice is whether you want that person in your life or not. Unless they want to be different and ask you for help changing, realize the problem is yours and not theirs.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Realize it is not what other people do, but your opinion about what they do that makes you angry.


Tuesday: Realize that other people act appropriately according to their own beliefs.


Wednesday: Realize that the beliefs you hold are based on your own special upbringing and training.


Thursday: Realize that other people are trying to get along in the world the best way they know how, just as you are.


Friday: Think about the problems your anger causes you.


Saturday: Realize that any time you got angry it was because you chose to.


Sunday: Resolve that when you get angry you will determine the belief that caused your anger and change it.


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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