Dove with Branch
December 15, 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 been reading your newsletter for some time. I don't understand when you say we should trust someone when those close to you are always taking advantage of you. How can I be trusting of those who have hurt me? I try but they just take advantage of me. I am so tired of trying to forgive them even though they will never acknowledge how much they have hurt me. I just don't think trust is even possible. - Vern in IN


Dear Vern, Start by trusting in your Higher Power. Then trust in your own ability to deal with the problems that life presents you. Change the problem in your mind, from how people are treating you, to what is the best way to react in this situation. Realize that other people can't hurt you inside unless you let them. We want love and the only way we can get it is by giving it. So trust others and if they return the trust - wonderful! But don't require them to be trustworthy in return. They can't hurt you unless you expect something from them that they are unwilling to give. When we fail to offer trust we have eliminated the possibility of finding a positive solution. We must forgive for our own well being. - the Dean


Dear Dean, My brother has nicknamed his son "bone head." I think this is a terrible thing to do, and I have told him so. He tells me that it is none of my business. I tell him that Bill will feel inferior because this name will create a picture that he is a stupid kid. Kids have enough problems without their parents making it intentionally worse for them. My brother thinks it's funny. What can I tell my brother so he will realize that he is making things more difficult for his kid? - Karen in AR


Dear Karen, The nickname is not bad because you think it is bad. It is only bad if the child thinks it is bad. If he feels ashamed or depreciated by it then it shouldn't be used because he will believe it is true, or that others are mean to him. If he likes it, or really appreciates the humor, then it can be okay. Most children do not have sufficient self-esteem to see it as positive or funny. If your nephew is one of those lucky children then okay. But if he is not - and I expect he is not - then pass this answer on to him to consider. Your brother may well be abusing his child just for his own humor. - 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.


Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

When we respond with humor, we are able to actually change something that may feel negative into something that feels positive to us and to others as well. By using humor, we're telling ourselves that we refuse to take things too seriously. Humor reduces the seriousness of your thoughts. It shows that you can laugh at your failures.


Humor laughs at your failures, but in an accepting and tolerant way. It helps you see another side of things. It reveals to you that, whatever misfortune or catastrophe has landed on your doorstep is not the end of the world. Humor is a love based emotion. When you use it you avoid feeling negative emotions.


Speakers invariably use humor to get the attention of their audience. They do this because of its powerful positive effect. Because most people like to laugh, humor tends to get the other person to accept what you are saying or doing in a positive way. When you use humor, it creates a positive feeling for your ideas in the hearts and minds of others. When used effectively, it is a powerful and wonderful tool. Learn to use it effectively and more happiness and joy will creep into your life; and those around you as well.


Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Decide to think that life is fun, and funny.


Tuesday: Decide to no longer take things too seriously.


Wednesday: Today read the comics in your newspaper and find something to laugh at in each one of them.


Thursday: Create an original joke and tell it until someone laughs.


Friday: Resolve never to be offended by jokes made in good humor.



Saturday: Practice finding humor in everything that is said today.


Sunday: Learn to look for and respond with appropriate humor in any situation.


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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