Dove with Branch
January 13, 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, We have retired on a fixed income and have family members spread all over the country. They like to visit the Gulf Coast and always seem to want to stay with us. We actually enjoy them staying with us but we just don't have the extra money for food and gasoline to show them the area. How do we let people know that we need them to help with expenses if they are going to stay with us? - Grant in AL


Dear Grant, Staying with you doesn't seem to be a problem except for the expense. Since you are glad for the visit why can't you simply let them know your situation? Being with friends is still a good deal for both of you. Be honest and things will work out fine. They will be happy to cover expenses, or stay elsewhere. Be ashamed to tell the truth and everyone will end up upset. - the Dean


Dear Dean, My fiancée's family does not approve of me. They think I am not good enough for her because I am of a different culture. They are Norwegian. They think I act like an American, and they are always finding fault with me and telling their daughter that she needs to find someone of their own ethnic background. The problem is that she will go there for holidays without me. I want to be with her on the holidays but she says he can't neglect her family and that if I keep coming with her that they will eventually accept me. - Hal in CA


Dear Hal, The inability to understand ethnic differences frequently results in problems. This is something both you and your fiancée need to work out. Neither you nor she is obligated to handle it in a certain way, or do a certain thing. What you do need to do is find a solution that will work for both of you. Look hard at the possibility of going with her, even if the reception is cool. They may warm when they grow accustomed to you, and see that she truly cares for you and that you are nice to be around. The important thing is to resolve this problem in some way before you marry. Issues that could break up the marriage need to be resolved before the marriage. How the two of you are at resolving differences is usually more important than the differences. - 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 tend to look with great favor and warmness on philanthropists who give to help causes that provide for the poor and the public good. But let us take a second look at this. We are expecting those who have more to take care of the needs of those who have less. Shouldn't we as a society all be in this together to take care of our common needs? There seems to be something degrading and demeaning about a concept that is based on the inequality of the rich tending to the poor.


We should not depend on the rich to provide for our needs out of the goodness of their hearts. When we do, we become beholden to them. The needs of society should be met out of the common funds of all. We may need to increase taxes in order to meet the needs of the people, but the needs should be met.


We are supposedly a society based on equality. We would be better served by creating equality in income as much as possible. Then taxing according to our ability to pay in order to provide for our needs, rather than meeting them through charity. When the need is appropriate we all should support it. Personal charity should be given only when someone has a personal desire to do more than what we as society feel the need for. In the meantime, I am thankful that those who have more are willing to provide more for the special needs of society.


Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

All of the stuff that happens around us is just the game of life. Accept it as such. You are always free to start playing the game differently at any time. Choose to play the game in a way that feels good to you - and learn to quit paying so much attention to things that upset you. Our most natural state of mind is contentment and joy. Believe that every experience will be a positive experience in your life. It is at the very least a lesson that is helpful to learn. If we look at things in this positive way, we can benefit from everything that happens to us. Be grateful for each life lesson, and for every opportunity to learn.


Realize that the lesson is happening for a reason and that if it keeps happening to you that you probably haven't learned the point of the lesson yet.


Cut some of the drama out of your thinking, "I can't stand it." But you can and you do. It is just an exaggeration. When we dramatize, we just increase the stress in an otherwise already stressful situation. We benefit by just accepting things, without adding to the problem by making things worse in our mind. We can add a lot of negative emotion when we dramatize. Things we don't want to happen are going to happen. You will feel much better if you accept them as they are. Once you are fully able to convince yourself that you can stand whatever comes along, you will eliminate the horrors in your life. You will be left only with inconveniences, big and small.


Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Think about a person that you dislike and think of all the positive things you can about that person. List at least three.


Tuesday: Acknowledge the person from your past for their good qualities and make a decision to no longer dislike them.


Wednesday: Forgive and release all the negative memories you hold about the person you have chosen.


Thursday: Carry out this process for all people that you still hold negative memories about.


Friday: Carry out this process for all entities and ideologies that you hold negative emotions about.


Saturday: Resolve to always release any negative emotions that you find in your memory.


Sunday: Resolve to intensify and enjoy your positive emotional memories.


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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