Dove with Branch
May 12, 2014 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, Our 18 year old son just graduated from high school. We will pay his tuition at the local college and he can live at home with us. He wants to take a year off and travel around the country before he goes to college. We have forbidden him to do so and have told him we will not pay for his college or let him live at home if he does. Do you think that is the right thing to do? - Pat in CO


Dear Pat, He has a right to make his own choices. You have no obligation to support his trip or to pay for his college afterward but traveling and being on his own can be a good learning experience. He should make and learn from his own choices even if they seem wrong to you. Punishing or trying to control him by withholding support for education that you are otherwise willing to support is not helpful for his growth. It may seem the best to you but probably will not be for your son. - the Dean


Dear Dean, Our daughter has just graduated from high school and we want her to go on to college and are willing to pay her tuition. Instead she wants to go to trade school to become an electrician. We think she is capable of being much more than an electrician. How can we encourage her to go on to college so that she will make a good choice? - Sandy in CA


Dear Sandy, How can he be more than an electrician? One profession is not better than the other. Her choice may be different than yours. But that is part of the freedom that creates our society. Do you want your child to be her person or your person? Not that it matters but electricians make more than the average college graduate these days. - 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

There are three kinds of relationships. The first is the "I and others" relationship where we look at others as different and separate from us. It is the "us against the world" relationship. Many of us spend most of our time in this kind of relationships. When we do life seems like a struggle. If we are not battling to get to the top of the heap, we are using all of our energy to survive. Unless we are one of the few winners, this kind of relationship is not very enjoyable to us. It often makes life seem empty, even for the winners.


The second kind of relationship is the "I - You" relationship. In this relationship we begin to care about others as well as ourselves. We become concerned for the wellbeing of others, especially those we have chosen as friends. These relationships are very enriching in our life, except when we enter into them with someone who is looking at it as an "I and others relationship". An example is the partner who refuses to go to counseling when differences cannot be resolved satisfactorily.


The third kind of relationship is the "We" relationship where the relationship becomes the entity and we become the participants in it. We are in this together. The goal we are working for is a successful relationship. Instead of the object being a way to make me happy, it becomes a way to make "We" happy. These are the most rewarding kind of relationships. When most of our relationships become this way we will find personal peace and create peace in our society.


Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Train yourself to be a good listener by learning how to "listen deeply." To do this you must put your own thoughts and beliefs aside, and really focus on what the other person is saying.


Unfortunately, most conversations can be characterized as "my stuff/your stuff." They can be likened to a strange game of tennis - played with two separate balls. You serve your ball to me. I let it pass and serve my ball back to you. You let it pass and serve your ball back to me. The game continues this way - with neither player receiving the other person's ball. In such an instance, it obviously isn't a game at all. And in a conversation with the same characteristics, it's not really a conversation at all. You want to tell your story and I want to tell mine. We never hear the other person's story because we are too busy telling our own. How many conversations have you had lately that went that way?


We can diffuse another person's anger simply by putting an end to the "my stuff/your stuff" game and truly listening to that person. Interestingly, very often when you give the angry person the courtesy of politely listening to what they have to say, without interrupting them or retaliating in anger, their anger is reduced.


Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Pay attention to how you listen when others talk.


Tuesday: Learn to think only about what the other person is saying without thinking of how it relates to your life.


Wednesday: Learn to answer the other person fully before you relate any story of your own.


Thursday: Pay attention to what the other person is feeling when they talk.


Friday: Be patient and do not interrupt the other person while they are talking.


Saturday: Learn to ask questions that help you understand what the other person is saying and feeling.


Sunday: Address the other person's concerns before you raise any of your own.


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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