Dove with Branch
October 21, 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 had the problem of my two children fighting with each other. What worked for me was to explain the problem to them, and ask them to find a solution or suffer reasonable consequences. It was up to them to find a solution. I was only available as a consultant, and to offer support. They only paid the consequences a couple of times before they got serious about finding a solution. They learned to discuss their common problem and find a solution, and they ended up loving each other. - Myra in IL


Dear Myra, Wonderful!! This is a great application of the principle of teaching responsibility with love. When we teach our children to find positive solutions to their problems we create a harmonious family environment. At the same time, we are teaching them the tools they need to create a successful and happy life for themselves and those around them. - the Dean


Dear Dean, In a prior column you wrote about a nephew staying in his aunt's home while going to college, but not helping as agreed. I have the same problem with my own daughter. What do you suggest? - Karen in NC


Dear Karen, Your daughter's behavior has become a problem for you because you allowed it to happen. Taking corrective action is always much more difficult than preventing the problem. To change her behavior your daughter must experience defined consequences when she fails to comply. Decide what the consequences would be. Explain them to her. Then enforce them evenly and with love. Be open to consider each circumstance on its merits but don't modify consequences without valid and understood reasons. - 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

Most of us want to live in a society where all relationships are voluntary and peaceful. Some don't because they believe that they have the power to control others. For them, life is good as long as they are able to maintain their control over others. This concept of society, which is a common one, dooms those who do not hold the power to a less fortunate life. We are seeking to make an ever better model of society that will provide the most desirable life for the most people. We call this democracy.


In a democracy we have the freedom to make changes in our Government. We are not doomed to follow the same rules; or the same leaders if they do not serve us well. One of the problems we have is that we tend to resist change. We put up with old ways of doing things because we think they are the right way simply because we have been taught to believe they are right. When the way things are done make you unhappy, take it as a signal to examine your beliefs. Determine whether changing your belief or changing the way we do things would be most appropriate.


One area to which we should pay special attention is imposing our beliefs on others. The more we impose our beliefs on others the less freedom we have. We have chosen to be a society open to all and as a result we have to be especially watchful of imposing our beliefs on others. Never let your test be this is the right thing to do because I, or my neighbors think it is, or this is the way we have always done it. Do not become upset when your neighbor wants to do it differently. Your effort should be to find a rule that will work for everyone.


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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