Dove with Branch
September 1, 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 friend is always having problems in his life and I always try to help him. He thinks life never treats him fair. He frequently asks for help and I do even though I am getting tired of it. The problem is that no matter how hard I try he doesn't appreciate it. He asks for my advice, never follows it, and then he blames me when it doesn't work out. This upsets me. How can I get him to appreciate what I do for him? - Ron in IL


Dear Ron, You probably can't. You can however learn not to expect or require his appreciation. You can learn to look at your advice as given with love and without "strings of appreciation" attached. If this doesn't work for you, and you want to retain him as a friend, try telling him that you have no more advice to give, or that it is given only when appreciated. If you still feel a need to help, and to be appreciated, it might pay to find a different friend. Friendship should be based on love, and without stress. - the Dean


Dear Dean, I have a friend who always must be right. If she makes a statement she will defend it as true no matter what, even when it is easy for everyone else to see that she is wrong. She refuses to change her mind even when it is obvious to everyone else that she is wrong. How can I get her to stop being that way? - Sandy in NC


Dear Sandy, Ask yourself do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy? As a friend you can let her know that she is doing this, and how other people react to it. But as a friend you can also just accept this and allow her to be wrong without argument when you know she won't listen. Just accepting her quirky little ways could make life more fun for you. - 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

I attended a discussion group recently that was discussing methods of nonviolence. It was disappointing to me as the subject content was more aligned with civil disobedience. Those present were more interested in how they could have their way than they were with the concern for what most people wanted. The comment that caught my attention the most was when someone referred to voting as the opiate of the people.


If we are to live together as a peaceful society, then we must have some method of determining and be willing to carry out the will of the people. Otherwise we have the tyranny of the powerful. If we are willing to fight for our own way; even when it is not the way of the majority, then the use of nonviolence just becomes a strategy we are using to have our own way. Revolution against the rule of the majority is much different than revolution against the rule of a powerful and abusing minority.


Most of us want to live in peace rather than just have our way. When our system is not functioning in a peaceful way our job should be to restore and use the system, not to overthrow it by the use of force, even if that force is nonviolent. We abandoned the idea of lynch mobs as a bad idea many years ago. We have the means in our society to create change that reflects the will of the people. When we see mistakes are being made our job is to bring it to the attention of others; seek better solutions; work to get them implemented; and finally to accept and abide by the decision chosen by the majority until that decision is changed. It would be better to live in a separate group whose ways we honor than it would be to war against the ways of those we live with.


Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Like a fan at a basketball game we tend to judge life from the point of view of the team we are rooting for. Even when we can't see clearly what happened we tend to think any close decision in favor of the other team was incorrectly made. If it goes our way however we have no doubt that it was the right call. We tend to use this kind of biased thinking in our own lives as well.


When we become the observer of our own thoughts and actions we want to be like the referee. Our job is to be as objective as we can and call things the way they really are. Be open to being wrong, but you should believe you made the best call and go with it. If your opinion proves to be wrong be quick to recognize it and change the call. Be willing to make a different call the next time you are faced with the same situation.


Remember, how you feel about what is happening depends on which side you are rooting for. Try to be objective, no labels and no judgments. Don't let yourself be tricked by your own prejudices and biases. Be willing to stop and think if there could be another way of viewing it.


Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Think about how your beliefs are created out of your teaching and experiences.


Tuesday: Think about how you would feel if your beliefs did not cause you to be upset.


Wednesday: Think about the beliefs you have about your family that you would like to change.


Thursday: Think about the beliefs you have about your work that you would like to change.


Friday: Think about the beliefs you have about your community and your country that you would like to change.


Saturday: Think about the beliefs you have about yourself that you would like to change.


Sunday: Resolve that when your beliefs are upsetting, you will find a new belief to replace them.


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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