Dove with Branch
December 16, 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 have become good friends with my neighbor's children over the years and enjoy taking them out to lunch on occasion. Sometimes I take them separately and sometimes together. The problem I have is that when we go only with the boy others look at me like they think I have a young lover. It makes me uncomfortable. I really enjoy his company but I don't want others to think I am having an affair with a young boy. What should I do? - Jolene in CA


Dear Jolene, You are dealing with a problem of your own making. What other people think about you is their business, and is actually none of your business. What they think is their business and you can not or should not try to control that, if you value your own happiness. What you are doing and how you feel about it is your business. If you know that what you are doing is right that should be the end of your concern. We no longer live in a society where our code of conduct and moral behavior is determined by the appearance to others. Happiness and joy come when we learn to act in our own enlightened self-interest instead of the fear of other's opinions. - the Dean


Dear Dean, My husband often disapproves of the clothes I wear. He is always telling me to wear something more appropriate. I like to wear jeans and bright colored blouses.. He doesn't approve of bright colors and thinks women shouldn't wear pants. Should I dress the way he wants? - Tracie in WA


Dear Tracie, Only if you want to! He would like you to dress differently and it is okay for him to let you know that. But you are the one who gets to choose what you wear. What he thinks is a factor you should consider. Ask yourself if you are doing this because it is what you want for yourself or simply your resistance to his telling you what to do. - 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 have freedom of speech in this country and that is a wonderful thing. What we don't have is an acceptance of free speech. We certainly have the right to not accept what the other person has said, and to let them know that we disagree with them. We seem to do this often and vigorously.


The problem we have is that emotionally we often don't tolerate well the right of others to exercise this right. When someone says something we don't like we often get insulted and tell them they are wrong for talking that way. We look at things as insulting and inappropriate when someone has an honest opinion that disagrees with our own. We think they shouldn't be saying that. This is pretty much the same as thinking "they are not free to exercise their rights in a way I, or others find objectionable."


We don't need to get into judgment and a battle of the wills simply because someone disagrees with us. We will be more effective in our own life, and for our society, if we simply look for the truth in what the other person is saying and respond only with our own truth in a positive way. Just because you disagree with someone is no reason to feel that they are an enemy in some way. We have given them the right to speak their mind. Our society will interrelate more effective if we truly honor that right.


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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