Dove with Branch
December 09, 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 mother-in-law pays more attention to my sister-in-law's children than she pays to ours. She is always talking about how wonderful they are but never talks nicely about our children and is even advising us and then on which activities and sports they should get involved in. My children are very popular and she refuses to acknowledge it I am embarrassed for my children. How can I get her to stop doing this? - Jan in OH


Dear Jan, First of all don't be embarrassed for your children. Life is not some contest where we judge the successes of our children against others. Our children should grow up to be who they want to be. Life is not an inter-family popularity contest. Your mother-in-law is entitled to like, or not like anyone she chooses. You may point out her biases to her but It is difficult to change her behavior and much easier to change the way you feel about it. Help your children understand that their self-esteem doesn't depend on her approval. - the Dean


Dear Dean, I frequently shop at a grocery mart in our neighborhood. There are several families who also shop there with their children who are very noisy. This disturbs me, and makes my shopping very unpleasant. I have asked the owner to speak to the parents, but he refuses. What can I do to make my shopping more pleasurable? Should I speak directly to the parents? - Sharon in MD


Dear Sharon, You can speak to the parents. You need to remember however, that the children have as much right to be noisy as you have to be quiet. If the owner accepts that atmosphere as appropriate, then you must decide for yourself whether you wish to continue shopping there. The thing that you have complete control over is where you shop, and whether or not you allow yourself to become upset by noisy children. You can tell the parents that you are upset by the noise, and ask them if they would help to make it more pleasant for you and others. Remember you have no right to quiet and are only asking for a courtesy. Explore the idea of enjoying their energy before you choose to shop elsewhere. Children add a lot of fun to the world for many people. - 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

Until after World War II our nation's policy was not to enter into war except to protect our own territory or to help another nation protect its borders. Since then we have entered into several wars because what we thought was happening within a country was not in our own personal interest. Now if we do not like what is happening within a country we feel we should step in and make things right, according to our interest.


We have reached the point where we will start a war if we don't like the way things are being done. This idea that we know what is right and we are justified to be policemen for the world because we are the only ones powerful and pure enough to do so should be reconsidered. We too often find ourselves being the world bully. If others don't comply with our "orders" we are willing to resort to violence to enforce our way.


It is true those disputes need to be resolved and someone needs to do it. I believe that this can only be possible when done through the United Nations. We must all work together. One country can't do it; even if it is with the best of intentions. Some say we need to do it because the United Nations can't. I believe the solution is to change the United Nations so it can. It may not be easy but it seems to be the only workable solution.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Anger exposes our weaknesses. It causes us to lose control and to act in dogmatic ways. We make foolish decisions, we waste time and energy, and we may become obsessed with our self and the people we are angry with. We antagonize the people we love, and we lose friends. We do crazy, destructive, sometimes illegal things. We have stress, high blood pressure, intestinal problems, heart problems, and other physical discomforts.


We have all heard of the placebo effect. It is sometimes referred to as wellness thinking. Because we believe something is going to cure us it does. It is such a strong effect that all research on medicines is done without letting the patient know whether he is taking the real medicine or just a sugar pill. The opposite also applies. When we think we are going to get sick we most generally do. If we want to be happy and well it is extremely important to believe that we are. A recent study of the immune system shows that constant negative emotions cause certain cells in the immune system not to reproduce thus weakening the immune system and shortening an angry person's life by an average of eleven years.


Take a few moments and think about what fear and anger are costing you. Think of the friends and opportunities you have lost because of them. Think of some of the things you wanted to do that they have held you back from doing. Think of some of the things that you have not gotten because of your negative emotions - or those of others. Is the price of anger too high for you?


Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Think about how you get upset when others act in ways that you believe they should not.


Tuesday: Think about things that upset you but do not upset other people.


Wednesday: Think about things that upset other people but do not upset you.


Thursday: Think about how you use anger to control the actions of other people.


Friday: Think about ways to control the actions of other people without being angry.


Saturday: Think about allowing other people to act as they choose when it does not affect you personally.


Sunday: Resolve to accept the rules of other cultures as appropriate for 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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