Dove with Branch
October 13, 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, I have neighbors and close friends that have a teen son that I have been good friends with since he was a child. I enjoy spending time with him and will even take him to lunch or dinner occasionally. The problem I have is that when we go out and are enjoying each other's company, others take it wrong. They treat me like they think we are having an inappropriate relationship. It makes me uncomfortable. I really enjoy his company but I don't want others to think we are having an affair. How do you suggest I handle this? - Grace in WI


Dear Grace, What other people think about you is their business, and is actually none of your business. What they think is their business and you can not or should not try to control that, if you value your own happiness. What you are doing and how you feel about it is your business. If you know you are doing what is right, that should be the end of your concern. We no longer live in a society where our code of conduct and moral behavior is determined by the opinion of others. Happiness and joy come when we learn to act in our own enlightened self-interest instead of an authoritarian idea of what is right and wrong. - the Dean


Dear Dean, My wife complains about the clothes I wear. She is always telling me to wear something different from what I have chosen. I like to wear dark slacks and shirts with bright colors. She doesn't like bright colors and thinks I should wear lighter colored slacks. Should I dress the way he wants? - Drew in WA


Dear Drew, Only if you want to! She would like you to dress differently and it is okay for her to let you know that. You, however, are the one who gets to choose what you wear. What she thinks is a factor you should consider. Ask yourself if you are doing this because it is what you want for yourself taking all things into consideration. - 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 say we are a free society but what do we mean by that? When someone is curious about our age, for instance, do we give them the emotional freedom to ask; or are we upset by their question? I believe freedom should include giving people the right to be the way they want to be without emotionally attacking them or resisting them, just because you don't like what they are doing.


People who are raised in different cultures have different values. Since we are a multi-cultural society we have a lot of different and sometimes conflicting values in our common society. Instead of embracing and respecting those values that are different than our own, we often judge them. We sometimes go so far as to try to eliminate the way others do things just because we don't think they are appropriate.


If we are going to honor freedom then let's give up the idea of creating a "cookie cutter" society and embrace the differences. If you are uncomfortable with the values of others, consider honoring and accepting them instead of resisting and trying to change them. Freedom includes embracing the rights of others to be how they want to be. We have come a long way. Women have the right to vote. We all get to eat in the same restaurant. Let's give up the idea of trying to make others do something just because we think it is the way things should be done. We can only enjoy life when we allow all others the opportunity to enjoy life as well!


Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

We tend to perceive information that supports the beliefs that we have. First of all, we take note of the information presented to us that validates our beliefs, and often fail to notice things that do not. Next, we interpret the information we receive in a way that is consistent with our existing beliefs, and often fail to notice things that do not. For example, we always interpret a close call in a sporting event in the light most favorable to our team.


What if this wasn't necessarily the case? What if we considered information in light of other people's beliefs? And what if we always looked at things from other points of view before making a decision? In order to win at trial, lawyers are trained to carefully examine the other point of view. If they do not, they will not be prepared to respond with the best argument for their case.


Likewise you can learn to examine the information you receive from the point of view of all possibilities. This allows you to choose responses that are more effective and are more in tune with the way the world works. The more effective your responses are, the happier your life will be.


Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: I notice how I always agree with my own thinking.


Tuesday: I think about the possibility that other's beliefs are as valid as my own.


Wednesday: Any time I take notice of something I try to see if there are other possible ways of thinking about it.


Thursday: I ask myself how others think about the things that concern me.


Friday: I examine other points of view to understand why others reach a different conclusion.


Saturday: I accept the beliefs of others as valid for them.


Sunday: I create harmony between my beliefs and the beliefs of others.


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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