Dove with Branch
February 3, 2013 Insights From the Dean of Peace
Notes from the Dean's Desk
Dear Peacemaker,

This weekly newsletter is available free by subscription. All copies are available on my website.


If you enjoy this newsletter and know someone who you think may enjoy it as well, please feel free to share it with them.

Ask the Dean?
Dean Van Leuven   Global Struggle

Dear Dean, Dear Dean, I have a husband who wears clothes that are just not appropriate. He will go to nice parties without a tie on and shirts that are too colorful for instance. Society has certain standards. He needs to know that others will judge him by what he is wearing. When I tell him he gets upset and tells me that it is none of my business. His clothes are affecting his career. How can a get him to pay attention? - Barbara in PA


Dear Barbara, You have tried, and most likely succeeded. What you have not been able to do is have him change his behavior. He knows what you have told him. He just hasn't chosen to take your advice. We get to choose the things we want out of life. He has chosen to "pay the price" for wearing the clothes he does. To him the price of being depreciated in the opinions of others is not too high. Some will appreciate his choices. We all do things that others wouldn't because it is worth it to us. When someone no longer wants our opinion it is the time to stop giving it. - the Dean


Dear Dean, I have a friend who is always telling me what makeup to wear, and what not to wear. I like the natural look and prefer to wear little or no makeup. I keep telling her that it is none of her business and to please stop giving me advice on my makeup. This doesn't seem to stop her. She keeps telling me what she thinks of my make up on an almost daily basis. How do I get her to stop telling me about how I look? - Julie in TX


Dear Julie, You are right! It is none of her business what you wear. It is your face, your life, you get to choose. However it is her business and not yours whether she continues to talk about it or not. When she continues to talk about your makeup it then becomes your business to decide how you wish to respond to her continued talking. This is a free society. She is free to say what she thinks! Consider that when making a choice of whether to remain friends or not. The more we accept others for who they are the more friends/love we have in our life. Not being upset by the opinions of others is a great skill to acquire. - 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 are a compassionate people and when families were no longer able or willing to take care of their non-productive members we created a welfare system to provide for them. This cared for the needy, but it also created a problem in that people would become needy just because it was more attractive to rely on the help of the state than it was to provide for themselves.


About ten years ago we made a general shift in our policy on welfare. We said that welfare was temporary. That people needed to find work; and that we would help them, including training, if necessary. We found many with emotional and/or physical problems and many with lack of educational or job training skills.


Now many are saying the program is failing because so many are just not capable of work. The answer, I believe, is to deal with the underlying problems and prepare them for work. Educational shortcomings can be remedied. We are doing that, but we need to do more. Emotional and addiction problems can be repaired. When we just give up and provide for their subsistence we are just continuing to let them suffer needlessly. If we truly care about others we will put more effort into increasing their quality of life and not be content to just give them enough to be able to survive.


Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Don't become a mind reader. We need to learn to not make assumptions about what our partner is thinking or wants. Also, we should never assume that they fully understand what we are telling them. Finishing your partner's sentence for them when you think you know what they are about to say not only leads to their resentment and anger but also to your own lack of understanding about who they really are.


On the other hand, be clear when you are communicating something to your partner. Don't assume that the other person automatically knows what you mean when you say something. Their way of thinking is not identical to yours, and misunderstandings are likely if you are not explicit and clear. Such misunderstandings can often lead to one or the other becoming fearful or angry. We need to do the best we can to make sure the other person understands what we are thinking.


Arthur Conan Doyle in his Sherlock Homes series left us with an idea that it is really cool to be able to take a few facts and find the answer. We need to overcome the idea that it is clever to be able to understand what someone is really thinking or saying just by listening to a few words. When we are trying to understand something the idea is to withhold judgment until we can get as much information as possible. The more we jump to conclusions the more we will be creating misunderstandings - and unnecessary stress.


Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Pay attention to how often you assume you know what someone is telling you before they complete what they are saying.


Tuesday: When you are uncertain of what someone is saying ask what they mean instead of guessing what they mean.


Wednesday: When someone says something different than what you expect take the time to make sure they mean what you think they do.


Thursday: Be accurate and complete when explaining and making requests of others.


Friday: When someone tells you something find out how they feel as that is part of the message.


Saturday: Expect that many words will have a different meaning to the other person.


Sunday: Resolve not to be the super sleuth who "knows" the answer from just a few clues.


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."


If you are a charitable or religious organization and would like to reprint any of my articles please contact me for permission, which will be cheerfully granted.

If you know someone who might be interested in using any, or all of my regular newspaper columns please pass this information on to them. Or send me their e-mail address, or telephone number, and I will be happy to send them the information.


Past issues of this newsletter are archived on my website.


I welcome your suggestion or comments. If you have a question that you would like addressed in the Ask the Dean? column feel free to send them to


If you wish to no longer receive this newsletter please send a reply which includes "unsubscribe" and the existing subject line in the reply.

The subject line and the address to which it was sent must be included.



Contact Information

phone: 800-359-6015 fax:541-935-9361
Join our mailing list!