Dove with Branch
July 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, Our mother died recently. I am having a extremely difficult time getting over it. My brother doesn't seem to even be effected by the loss, or how I feel about it. after the funeral he hasn't even seemed to acknowledge my grieving. Should I speak to him about his behavior and how disrespectful he is to our father? - Anna in OK


Dear Anna, You might speak to your brother and find some helpful tips for getting over the loss of your father. We all grieve in our own way and our own time. The sooner we are able to Let go and get on with our life the better our life will be. When we have a loss the object is to get over it as soon as possible if we want to have a happy life. There is no required or expected way to grieve. You are entitled to grieve as long as you want but you should not be asking or expecting others to grieve in the same way you do. - the Dean


Dear Dean, My mother doesn't approve of my wife. She thinks she is not good enough for or to me. I knew this when we got married. I love my wife and love being with her and I like the way she is. She drinks but only socially. My mother refuses to even speak to her because she doesn't approve of drinking. She often invites only me and the children to visit. How can I get my mother to accept her? - Joshua in MO


Dear Joshua, That is a decision your mother must make for herself. It would be helpful if you could accept that. Let your mother know you are firm in your choice and that you love them both and ask her if she could try to do the same. That is about the best you can do. If you feel the need ask her if she would keep her opinions to herself in a respectful way. Prepare to love and support them both and not let yourself be disturbed by your mother's honest feelings. Don't allow it to become a contest between them for your affections. - 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

We often think about and debate the concept of biological evolution. A concept that seems even more evident and easier to accept is that of social evolution. There are those who feel that our society is condemned to repeat its mistakes and may even destroy itself. It is possible that we may have huge setbacks because of unfortunate mistakes. However the evidence is clear that we are making great progress in our ability to interact, communicate and live together.


Review the progress we have made in education and communication skills and you will marvel at the great progress we have made. The advances in our educational system have transformed our society in many more ways than just the advance of technology. Our increased understanding has allowed us to solve many of our social problems. Advances in the field of human rights have been amazing in recent history. Once we realized that our well-being was affected by the well-being of all others it became possible to create a social order that was more joyful and peaceful.


Perhaps the next great step will be to reduce war from a tool of diplomacy to one of last resort for our preservation. When we do that then war will result only when we lack the imagination to solve our problems. Eventually we will possess sufficient imagination in solving our social problems that war will disappear completely. We humans will always choose in our own self-interest. As soon as we realize that our self-interest includes positive relationships with other people we will learn to make more effective choices.


Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Our expectations can often get in the way of intimacy - especially when we are not forthcoming with our mate, or when expectations clash. We need to let our mate know what our expectations are, find out what their expectations are, and then come to some agreement about them. Preferably, we should do this before we enter into any permanent or long-term relationship.


Your mate's expectations will always be different than yours. To assume otherwise will only get you into trouble. Too often we expect that our relationship will or should resemble how things were in our own family, or how "most couples" relate to each other in this society. We then become partners with someone expecting that they will think and act that way. But we have no right to expect that our prospective partner live up to our expectations, unless they agree to. Just because they have agreed to enter into a relationship with you does not mean that they have agreed to do the cooking or the car repairs, or anything else that you may consider customary and expect from them.


Anything you consider important in your relationship should be discussed and agreed to ahead of time by both of you. When new things come up as your relationship progresses, they should be worked out mutually. You have no right to be upset just because your mate doesn't want to do things your way. Their ideas of what they expect and what they are willing to contribute are just as important as yours are. Expecting them to conform to your notion of how a partner should be, when they haven't agreed to those expectations, and becoming angry when they don't live up to them, is unfair and unreasonable.


Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Think about what your expectations are for you mate, or your prospective mate.


Tuesday: Determine what your mate's or prospective mate's expectations for you are.


Wednesday: Think about the expectations your mate has, or is likely to have, that are different than your own.


Thursday: Determine what possible resolutions of your disagreements that your mate finds most attractive.


Friday: Think about the possible ways you will be able to meet each other's expectations.


Saturday: Resolve that any time you and your mate disagree that you will work together to find a solution that is satisfactory for both of you.


Sunday: When you feel upset with your mate remember what first attracted you to about them.


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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