Dove with Branch
September 29, 2014

Insights From

the Dean of Peace


Notes from the Dean's Desk

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Ask the Dean?
Dean Van Leuven   Global Struggle

Dear Dean, I am considering marriage to a woman who has two teenage children. I like her children and they like me, but her concept of discipline is very different than mine. She doesn't punish them when they violate the rules. Also she won't let me discipline them when they refuse to obey, even if she is not present. Should we still get married when this issue is unresolved? How do we go about resolving it? - Chet in MN 


Dear Chet, You shouldn't get married until this issue is resolved. The two of you need to have a discussion so that each of you will understand the other's views on parenting. You then need to devise a plan that will work for both of you. You both need to agree to support the plan and to fully support the other parent's efforts to carry it out. Any discussion or disagreement should not be in the presence of the children. You might start with the question of whether you are going to teach the children responsibility, or just to obey authority. - the Dean


Dear Dean, My husband's children are unruly and are always picking arguments with me and my children. My husband supports his children and thinks mine are snobs. How can we solve this problem? - Cora in CA


Dear Cora, You don't have a family. You have two families living together under the same roof. I suggest you solve this problem now, or you may need to find an additional roof. Your problem is very similar to Rebecca's. You and your husband need to get together and decide how you are going to parent, and then do it in a way that is supported by both of you. It is important that you think of your step-children in the same way you think of your own. Family is the issue, not blood. Who you live with is your family. It is up to you to have the kind of family you want to have. Happy families require love and respect from each to all. - 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

It seems that when we perceive that our government is doing something wrong we start a resistance movement to stop it. For example: the war in Afghanistan. We hold rallies frequently to create pressure to bring the troops home. We don't like what is going on and we want it to stop so we "fight" to end the war. Our solution when we don't like what is going on is just to put up resistance until change is made.


The problem with resistance is that it works to stop the harmful conduct without offering a positive solution to the problem. If we want to have peace and stop wars not only must we stop wars, we must also discover a way to live in peace. If we focus on creating peace, then not only can we find a way for the war to end, but we can also create conditions so that future wars are unnecessary. We must change the thinking that causes us to use war as a way to resolve conflict, before we will stop using war as a way to have our way in the world.


When Mother Teresa was asked to march against war she refused saying, "call me when you are marching for peace." We admire her thinking and her way of being. Let's recognize the value of her thinking. We will quit using war as a tool to settle disputes when we recognize that there are better ways to settle our differences. Why squander our lives and our resources when there are better solutions available to us? Let's no longer use war as a tool of diplomacy to solve our problems. We can instead use some form of mediation to solve our problems and end up friends. Also we will still have our relationships and resources still in tact. We can and should make war only a tool of last resort for self-protection.


Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

A constant source of problems is the conflict between the real world as it actually is and our concept of what we think the real world should be that we carry around in our head. I call this my real world file to remind me that it only represents my idea of what the world should be.


Regardless of how we want the world to be, and how we see it to be, the world is what the world is. The world works the way that it does regardless of our opinion of it. We may see it working in a certain way or desire that it works in a certain way, but this only changes our perception. Our perceptions and desires do nothing to actually change the world.


We may be able to make some changes in the world through our actions, or by changing the thinking of others, but that is the only way we can actually affect how the world is. Our thinking itself does nothing to change the world.


Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: I think about how I would like things in the world to be.


Tuesday: I think about how things in the world actually are.


Wednesday: I accept that it is okay for the world to be the way that it is.


Thursday: I decide what thing in the world that I may help change in some way.


Friday: I decide what new idea would be better for the world.


Saturday: I develop my concept of how I can get the world to pay attention to my idea.


Sunday: I dedicate myself to making a positive change in the world.


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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