Dove with Branch
January 05, 2009 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 am a freshman in high school. I want to pierce my ears but my parents won't let me. My friends all pierce their ears and many of them do even more. Piercing tongues and belly buttons is common. How can I get my parents to agree, or should I have them pierced anyway as they will most likely not even notice, as I can just put them in after I leave the house? What can they do about it anyway? - Justine in NE

Dear Justine, What they can do about it anyway is not the point. Your parent's job is to create a belief system for your life, and unless it is illegal it is your responsibility to learn it. It is reasonable to be required to live by your parents' values unless they are illegal or unhealthy. When you leave home you are free to reject them, but not yet. Think carefully about why you want to get your ears pierced state your case and accept their decision. Until you become an adult think of yourself as a person in training. You can work on which rules you want to keep as an adult and be ready to take control of your life at that point. - the Dean

Dear Dean, We live in an old house. My husband is a capable carpenter and can fix things when they break. The problem is he works long hours to make enough money and says he needs his time on the weekend to rest. We don't have enough money to hire someone but the work needs to be done and he won't do it what do you suggest? - Mary in MN

Dear Mary, I suggest you find a way to get your husband interested in doing the work. Maybe an offer to fix his favorite dessert will help. If he is not up to it and you want it done then find a way to get someone to do it, find a way to save the money, learn how to make the repairs, or wait until your husband is ready to do it. It may be temping to browbeat and/or punish him in some way but those tactics create more problems than they solve, even if they do get the house fixed. - 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

All too often when we have a problem in our society we think we can solve it simply by spending more money. We think we can get better government or solutions to our social issues, just by hiring more people or paying higher salaries which will attract better people. More of the same is not always the best answer.

If the methods we are using or the people we are hiring cannot solve the problem we would be better served by first identifying the problem. We often spend much time searching for better results without really understanding why things are happening the way they are. The first step is to take a deeper look at what is behind the problem and what do we really want the outcome to be before we start looking for answers.

For example, our educational system is not producing the results we desire for our children. Instead of just hiring more teachers, let's take a serious look at what we are doing now and look for ways to be more effective. Our society is complex and requires skills beyond the three R's. Are we teaching our children the skills they need to produce the quality of life that we desire for them? Just what are the qualities we want our children to learn for their lives? How can we provide a good education when we don't even know the answers to these questions?

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 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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