Dove with Branch
October 20, 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, My nineteen year old daughter has just finished her first year of college. She lives at home with me while attending school. She wants to take a year off and travel around the country before she finishes college. I have forbidden her to do so and have told her I will not pay for her college or let her live at home if she does. Do you think that is a reasonable thing to do? - Denise in CA

Dear Denise, She has a right to make her own choices. You have no obligation to support her trip or to pay for her college afterward but traveling and being on her own can be a good learning experience. She should make and learn from her own choices even if they seem wrong to you. Punishing or trying to control her by withholding support for education that you are otherwise willing to support is not helpful for her growth. It may seem the best to you but probably will not be for your daughter. - the Dean

Dear Dean, Our son has just graduated from high school and we want him to go on to college and are willing to pay for his education. Instead he wants to go to trade school to become an electrician. We think he is capable of being much more than a tradesman. How can we encourage him to go on to college before he decides what he wants to do in life? - Edwin in PA

Dear Edwin, How can he be more than an electrician? One profession is not better than the other. His choice may be different than yours. But that is part of the freedom that exists in our society. Do you want your child to be his person or your person? Not that it matters but electricians make more than the average college graduate these days. - 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 focused on 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. When we start teaching these concepts as a part of the educational process our world will change for the better much more rapidly.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Train yourself to be a good listener by learning how to "listen deeply." To do this you must put your own thoughts and beliefs aside, and really focus on what the other person is saying.

Unfortunately, most conversations can be characterized as "my stuff/your stuff." They can be likened to a strange game of tennis - played with two separate balls. You serve your ball to me. I let it pass and serve my ball back to you. You let it pass and serve your ball back to me. The game continues this way - with neither player receiving the other person's ball. In such an instance, it obviously isn't a game at all. And in a conversation with the same characteristics, it's not really a conversation at all. You want to tell your story and I want to tell mine. We never hear the other person's story because we are too busy telling our own. How many conversations have you had lately that went that way?

We can diffuse another person's anger simply by putting an end to the "my stuff/your stuff" game and truly listening to that person. Interestingly, very often when you give the angry person the courtesy of politely listening to what they have to say, without interrupting them or retaliating in anger, their anger is reduced.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Pay attention to how you listen when others talk.

Tuesday: Learn to think only about what the other person is saying without thinking of how it relates to your life.

Wednesday: Learn to answer the other person fully before you relate any story of your own.

Thursday: Pay attention to what the other person is feeling when they talk.

Friday: Be patient and do not interrupt the other person while they are talking.

Saturday: Learn to ask questions that help you understand what the other person is saying and feeling.

Sunday: Address the other person's concerns before you raise any of your own.

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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