Dove with Branch
June 16, 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, My mother still tells me how to run my daily life and I am thirty-two years old. I tell her I can appreciate her help on occasion and that I will let her know when I would like it, but this doesn't stop her. She even tells me what I should cook for dinner and what I should wear when I go out. I want to keep my mother in my life but how do I get her to stop giving me advice? - Verna in CN


Dear Verna, The first thing to do is to think carefully about whether you want her to stop giving advice. If you just let her speak her mind and continue to make your own choices you don't need to be upset by what she says to you. Your other options run all the way from explaining that you feel ready to make your own choices now, to breaking off regular contact with her. It may be difficult to get her to change. Think carefully about learning to tolerate her behavior before you make a choice that damages an otherwise good relationship. - the Dean


Dear Dean, We live in Ohio and each summer we try to spend a summer at our family homes in New York. We enjoy our three weeks there a lot but we have a problem with my husband's parents. They plan too many events even though we do enjoy them. The problem is it doesn't leave us enough time to do all the things we would really like to do. How can we find more time on our own without insulting them? - Iris in OH


Dear Iris, If you are going to make your decisions based on whether you insult them or not this may be difficult. I suggest you listen and accommodate them if you can make that work for you. Explain that you have other prior commitments or plans when it won't. You can respect other's wishes and accommodate their good intentions when it works without letting them take control of your decisions. If being nice and just explaining your need or passion to do what you choose and let them keep trying to be helpful doesn't work for you, then perhaps you, your wife, or both of you, need to have a "heart to heart" with them. - 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 many social problems that are causing us difficulty. We continue to have problems with crime, drug abuse, and access to medical care just to name a few. These problems seem to be ongoing. We have set up systems to take care of the problems once they occur. We punish for crime and drug offenses. We can get treatment for medical problems at hospital emergency rooms even if we don't have the means. Our traditional response has been to punish crimes and to only provide free medical treatment in emergency conditions.


All studies and experiments on using preventative measures such as access to care and education about social problems have shown at least a three to one cost benefit ratio. We still seem wed to the idea of punishment rather than treatment. If we have a negative event occur our primary concern should be that it will not happen again, rather than someone must pay for this wrong!


If instead we shift our way of thinking so that the emphasis is on creating good physical and mental health, then we will prevent most of the problems we are constantly struggling to resolve. We will become more effective in resolving these problems, and at far less cost. This will also result in a greater quality of life for all of us as we will feel much better and at the same time free up more of our resources to use for the enjoyment of life. For example, when we shift from using war as a way of conflict resolution we will have forty percent more of our production capacity available for things that will enhance our quality of life.


Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Have you ever asked yourself, "Why can't I forgive that person?" "Why can't I forgive myself?" or "Why can't I let go of the anger and forgive?" We can always come up with a reason why we should not forgive. The most common one is: "It was their fault. They deserve my anger." (Or, "I'm to blame - how can I ever forgive myself?") Our society teaches us that people should pay for their mistakes, whether they are intentional, or not. This comes from the ancient idea of "an eye for an eye." We have been taught that when we are wronged, we must punish the wrongdoer, and that; "Such behavior just cannot be tolerated - you must pay for it," and "The guilty must be caught and punished."


Raised with such societal beliefs about guilt and punishment, we think we must make others suffer as punishment for having offended us. We believe we must return the hurt to get even. But thinking in this way produces an emotional response rather than an effective reasoned response that allows us to maximize our life experience. We would be more effective if our primary focus was on preventing more of this kind of behavior instead of on making someone pay for his or her mistakes.


Someone may have killed a loved one of ours in an unfortunate automobile accident. Regardless of whether it was carelessness, or not even the other person's fault, we find it difficult to forgive them. If you cannot forgive, that person now has the power over you. He is controlling your life in a very negative way. As long as you hold the anger, you are continuing to be hurt. This is a bit like being sick and saying to the doctor, "I want to keep this pain, so please don't make me well." The lesson is that forgiveness is for your own benefit and has nothing to do with what the other person did and whether you are letting them off the hook or not.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Today I celebrate the things that unify us.


Tuesday: Today I pray for peace in my world.


Wednesday: Today I affirm that there will be peace in my world.


Thursday: Today I write a loving note to someone.


Friday: Today I offer peaceful words and actions.


Saturday: Today I practice nonviolence.


Sunday: Today I thank others for their peaceful words and actions.


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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