Dove with Branch
January 27, 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 friend frequently tells me that she doesn't like the clothes I wear and some of my other friends. I don't think friends should criticize each other and I ask her not to do that, but she says "Friends should be able to say what is on their mind to each other." I don't think that friends should criticize each other. What do you think? - Celeste in NJ


Dear Celeste, I think that you think friends shouldn't criticize each other - and that you look at her giving her opinion of how you look and what you do as criticism. If what someone thinks of you is of no value or hurtful to you then you will want to avoid them - or get over it. Many think it is really great to have someone they can trust to give them an honest opinion. If I had a friend who was doing this to be helpful I would appreciate it very much. If what they said upset me, then I would try to examine and change how I feel about it. Friends sometimes bring out our insecurities. If they are doing it in a loving way then we can be thankful. - the Dean


Dear Dean, My son-in-law does not like me. He will not invite me to his home and will not even take calls from me. I have two grandchildren that I have never even seen because he won't allow my daughter to bring them to my home. My daughter has chosen to abide by his wishes even though I know it hurts her very much. He won't allow her to even call or write. Neither of them will tell me why I have upset him so that I can try to make amends. What can I do to make her let me see my grandchildren? - Kay in OR


Dear Kay, If she refuses to talk to you and you are unable to talk to your daughter as well, then gracious acceptance of the situation is probably your best bet in the long run. Perhaps time will change things. Have great compassion for your daughter and do not make things more difficult for her. For whatever reason, she has chosen to abide by her husband's wishes. It was most likely not an easy choice for her. Try not to add to her suffering by showing your pain to her. Telling her that you understand her choice without saying more would be a great gift to her. - 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

Some people look at history to find out how things were so that we will not repeat them again. Some even think that because events happened before that they are bound to happen again. They think of our society as flawed, and condemned to keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again.


When I look at history I see growth and change. We see so many things that have changed. For example, the right to vote, equal rights, and democratic government. There has been great movement around the world in those directions, even in our lifetime. We are at a new place that never existed in our history. I do not see us going back to the way it was. We now have universal education, which I view as the great springboard for change. We will not march back toward ignorance. We will not burn the books!


What I envision, is that we will be dealing with new inequalities and issues tomorrow that today we accept as reasonable. We will grow to be less accepting of war, individual power, and personal greed, among other things. We will learn to find better solutions to our problems; and more effective methods for resolving our differences. Let's work together to create change rather than just resisting it simply because it is not the old way we have learned to do things. We would like to be in a "better place" than we are now. Only change will make that possible.


Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Humor is a good way to divert you attention from a stressful situation so that you can more easily accept and deal with it. You experience what you are focusing on. With your focus on humor, you are focusing on positive emotions. The anxiety of anticipating something is greatly lessoned by focusing on the humor. When you anticipate the stress, you then feel the pain. The basic rule is that what you dwell on becomes yours. Joke with the dentist when he is pulling your tooth, and you will have less pain. The story of Doctor Patch Adams and how he uses humor in healing his medical patients is a great example of what humor can do for us. Other doctors have successfully used laughter as a cure. This works because we shift into our positive emotions when we laugh.


We use humor all of the time in our society as a way of deflecting the stress and other negative emotions in our lives. The reason why the best professional comedians are so popular and well respected is that they have a powerful positive effect on our emotions. Erma Bombeck, Robin Williams, George Burns, Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Bill Cosby, and many more have become immortal because they help us to see the world's problems - and our own - including the things that upset us - in a new light, a laughable light.


Take the opportunity whenever you can to look, read, or listen to humor - and take the time to appreciate it. Make it a practice to tell others about the things you see that are especially funny to you.


Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Today I decide to look at the funny side of life.


Tuesday: Every time I feel stressed about something I stop and look for a humorous way of looking at the event.


Wednesday: Whenever I do something that brings on stress I stop for a moment and find the humor in it.


Thursday: Today I read the comics and find something funny in each comic strip.


Friday: Today I watch a funny movie or a comic on TV.


Saturday: Today I laugh about whatever is troubling me.


Sunday: I resolve to find the humor in each and every event that occurs in my life.


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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