Dove with Branch
February 5, 2007 Insights From the Dean of Peace
Notes from the Dean's Desk
Hello! - Dean Van Leuven

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Ask the Dean?
Dean Van Leuven   Global Struggle

Dear Dean, I have been reading your informative newsletter for quite some time now. I would like to know how one can trust when those closest in their life are the very ones who have abused me? I am trying so hard to make peace with these people who have been so cruel...after all, they are my family. But it seems like I am just spinning my wheels...not getting anywhere. And I am so tired...tired of trying to keep the peace, and forgive them even though they will never acknowledge how much they killed me inside. So, trust is probably one issue where...I don't know if it is possible. – LC

Dear LC, Start by trusting in God. 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 cannot 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 expect them to be trustworthy in return. They can’t hurt you unless you expect something from them that they are unwilling to give. Don’t feel obligated to respond in a certain way, nor are they obligated to. There is always a positive solution to any problem or relationship if you allow yourself to be free to find it. When we fail to offer trust we have eliminated the possibility of finding a positive solution. We must forgive for our own well being. It is not for the benefit of the other person. You may find it difficult to do this alone. If so, I suggest counseling. – the Dean

Dear Dean, My sister has nicknamed her son “stinky.” I think this is a terrible thing to do, and I have told her so. She tells me that it is none of my business. I tell her that the child will feel inferior because this name imputes bad hygiene. Other kids will make fun of him. He doesn’t need that in his life. Kids have enough problems without their parents making it intentionally worse for them. My sister thinks it’s funny. What can I tell my sister to get her to realize that she is messing up her kid’s life. – Concerned Sister

Dear Concerned Sister, 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 should not 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, or your sister wouldn’t have simply told you to mind your own business without an explanation – then pass this answer on to her to consider. You are correct to think that she may be abusing the child. - the Dean

I welcome questions and/or comments from our readers. Send your Ask the Dean questions or comments to: P.O. Box 535, Elmira, OR 97437, or visit www.DeanOfPeace.com. to submit by e-mail.

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

We have many social problems that are causing us difficulty. We continue to have problems with crime, drug abuse, and access to medical care just to name a few. These problems seem to be ongoing. We have set up systems to take care of the problems once they occur. We punish for crime and drug offenses. We can get treatment for medical problems at hospital emergency rooms even if we don’t have the means. Our traditional response has been to punish crimes and to only provide free medical treatment in emergency conditions.

All studies and experiments on using preventative measures such as access to care and education about social problems have shown at least a three to one cost benefit ratio. We still seem wed to the idea of punishment rather than treatment. If we have a negative event occur our primary concern should be that it will not happen again, rather than someone must pay for this wrong!

If instead we shift our way of thinking so that the emphasis is on creating good physical and mental health, then we will prevent most of the problems we are constantly struggling to resolve. We will become more effective in resolving these problems, and at far less cost. This will also result in a greater quality of life for all of us as we will feel much better and at the same time free up more of our resources to use for the enjoyment of life. For example, when we shift from using war as a way of conflict resolution we will have forty percent more of our production capacity available for things that will enhance our quality of life.

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.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Today I appreciate the diversity in humankind.

Tuesday: Today I say only good things.

Wednesday: Today I say "I love you."

Thursday: Today I take time to breathe deeply.

Friday: Today I practice forgiveness.

Saturday: Today I am forgiveness in action.

Sunday: Today I take myself lightly.

Dean Van Leuven is a psychologist, conducts workshops and is the author of A Peaceful New World and many other books dealing with quality of life issues. Contact him on the web at: www.DeanOfPeace.com

Additional Notes
 

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