Dove with Branch
January 21, 2008 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 have retired and I am at home during the day. I find my wife never does the breakfast dishes until just before she starts dinner. The sink looks like a mess and makes it difficult to fix a snack. How can I get her to clean it up? - Fred in Spokane

Dear Fred, You can suggest doing something that she wants done in return for her doing the dishes. Better yet, do the dishes for her in trade for some other chore. Best of all, why don't you just do the dishes in a cheerful way and ask her if there are any more to do while you are at it? The dishes in the sink are a problem for you, but apparently not for her. Complaining and demanding others do things your way are not positive ways to solve problems. - the Dean

Dear Dean, I am getting married again and would like to use my old bridal gown. My intended is happy with that but my mother, and my best friend tell me that it would be improper because it represents my first marriage and because white is not appropriate for a second marriage. The question I have is would it be appropriate when others close to me feel it is not. - Mandy in Arizona

Dear Mandy, Is this wedding for the couple or for their friends, would be the question. Only you and your intended can answer that. If it is important to you that you wear it, then why not wear it; unless of course your friend's opinions are more important to you than your own. You have valued relationships with each of those people. You should make your own decisions based on your own beliefs. Consider their requests, but make a decision based on what is right for you and your fiancée. We do not need to honor old traditions. We should however be considerate to the concerns of our friends. If you decide not to take their advice tell them so in a loving way. - 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 often have a very definite opinion about what is right and what is wrong and exactly how others should act. We all develop our own special set of rules about what is right or wrong and we think they should be enforced against other people. When others don't do it the way we think is right, we get angry and think they should be punished.

Take the law shielding confidential information for reporters, for example. We can make a very good argument why their information should be protected; and we can also make a very good argument for why it should not. Society needs to consider those arguments carefully, and develop a rule that will best serve in this situation - one that considers both points of view and is in line with our underlying social principles.

Instead of just deciding what we think is right and then fighting to make that the law, we would be better served spending our energy looking for solutions that will be best for our society as a whole. When we have differences of opinion and want to live in peace with each other, we need to respect the others point of view and search for common ground. My way or the highway is not the best answer if we want to live at peace with each other. This is just another form of authoritarian rule that we fight against when someone else is doing it.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

In dealing with others, the best rule is to start from a place of trust, realizing and accepting that you could be wrong. People tend to respond to you in the same way you act. You will receive far more trust if you offer trust. If you offer distrust; that is what you will usually get back.

In dealing with problems that need positive responses, we are more effective (and feel better) being assertive instead of aggressive. When we respond from our thinking, we choose a thought out response rather than an emotional one. We can be assertive and accomplish what we feel we must, without being angry. It is much easier to be assertive rather than aggressive if we have not set up some expectations that upset us when they are not met.

We need to learn to not let our peace of mind become dependent on what another person does. Except for adhering to the laws set down by our society, we have no right to expect that anyone act in a certain way, just as they have no right to require that from us.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: I trust other people as being naturally truthful and caring.

Tuesday: I realize that if I trust other people I give them the opportunity to trust me.

Wednesday: I realize that good comes from trust.

Thursday: I realize that I can explain what I want others to do without being angry.

Friday: I choose to think before I respond.

Saturday: I realize that I do not have the right to control other people.

Sunday: Others have the right to reject my requests.

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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