Dove with Branch
February 16, 2015

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 fiancée's family doesn't approve of me. They think I am not good enough for her because I am not Italian. They think I act like a cold hearted American, and they are always finding fault with me and telling her she needs to find someone of her own ethnic background. The problem is that she will go there for holiday dinners without me. I want to be with her on the holidays but she says she can't neglect her family and that I should go and they will eventually accept me. - Charles in CN


Dear Charles, The inability to understand ethnic differences frequently results in problems. This is something both you and your fiancée need to work out. Neither you nor she is obligated to handle it in a certain way, or do a certain thing. What you do need to do is find a solution that will work for both of you. I suggest going with her, even if the reception is cool. They may warm to you when they see that she truly cares for you. Issues that could break up the marriage need to be resolved before the marriage. How the two of you are at resolving differences is usually more important than the differences. - the Dean


Dear Dean, We live in San Diego and we have many relatives will come and stay with us when they want to visit the city. We don't mind them staying but can't afford the extra cost in time, energy and money to care for them. We are happy to be a guide and show them the city. How do we get them to help pay for expenses? We live in San Diego and we have many relatives will come and stay with us when they want to visit the city. We don't mind them staying but can't afford the extra cost in time, energy and money to care for them. We are happy to be a guide and show them the city. How do we get them to help pay for expenses? - Shelly in CA


Dear Shelly, Staying with you doesn't seem to be a problem except for the expense. Why can't you simply let them know your situation? Being with friends is still a good deal for both of you. Be honest and things will work out fine. They will be happy to cover expenses, or stay elsewhere. Be ashamed to speak your truth and everyone will be upset. - the Dean


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Law, Politics & Society ... As I see them
  Globe Magnify Glass

One by one the dictatorships and monarchies of the world are slowly fading away. As the people become more educated and are able to make better decisions for themselves they are more able to provide for their own governance and less tolerant of others controlling the wealth and quality of life in their country. People are becoming more aware of how others live and are demanding that they be free to have those things in their life.


A recent example of this process is the Country of Nepal. They were able to adopt a new constitution and remove the monarchy and replace it with a representative form of government. What is so remarkable is that they accomplished this with a revolutionary movement that didn't result in armed conflict.


We are learning that we can create positive change more effectively through nonviolence than through war. Once this lesson sinks in to the people of the world we will find a way to replace the despots of the world with freely elected governments to carry out the will of the people. When we realize that we create a better life by living in peace than we do by wasting our resources on telling other people how they must live their lives, we will find a way to work together to create a meaningful and lasting peace in the world. We the people are evolving! With our evolution comes the understanding that we are all in this together. We now know that war does not bring peace. That war only brings more war is a lesson we have learned from history.


Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Perception and recognition is the way we have of evaluating the information than comes to us through our five senses and includes the specific way that we interpret that information. Each of us sees life from our own frame of reference. Our differing perceptions are often the source of conflict and anger. If we understand and choose to accept our differences however, our dissimilar perceptions can become a source of wisdom, joy, and humor in our lives.


We tend to perceive information that supports the beliefs we have. First we take note of the information presented to us that validates our belief systems, and we often fail to notice things that do not. Next, we interpret the information that we receive in a way that is consistent with our existing belief system.


What if this wasn't necessarily the case? What if we considered the information in the light of differing belief systems? And what if we always looked at things from a number of points of view before making a decision? In order to win a trial lawyers are trained to carefully examine the other possible points 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 points of view of all possibilities. Which brings us to the key question: Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?


Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Today I think of the Love I receive from others.


Tuesday: Today I will listen with an open heart.


Wednesday: Today I will take time to be with my family.


Thursday: Today I take time to appreciate nature.


Friday: Today I act in kind and loving ways.


Saturday: Today I smile, have fun, and laugh.


Sunday: Today I help someone in need.


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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