Dove with Branch
August 31, 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, Carla and I plan to be married in December and we want a simple wedding at the courthouse with just our families. My mother is okay with this, but Carla's mother is not. She thinks we must have a large wedding and elaborate reception. She says that the family's social status is important and not to worry because she will pay for everything. Neither Carla nor I want to do this. What do you suggest? - George in OH

Dear George, It is good to consider the feelings of others in your family, but you are entitled to make the decisions. Turning it over to your mother-in-law could be a great gift if you were happy with her plans. Be sure you have considered the benefits of letting her do it. If you do not find them attractive, then you and Carla should politely and firmly decline her offer. The two of you need to reach agreement on your course of action and follow it. You are free to choose a social life different from your parents. - the Dean

Dear Dean, I give my grandchildren gifts for their birthday and Christmas and never receive any kind of thank you. I am disgusted with their behavior. How can I son and daughter-in-law to teach their children to at least say thank you? - Grandma Carol in NE

Dear Grandma Carol, You can't and you shouldn't. When we give someone a gift that means that it is given without condition. If we expect something in return, even if it is only a thank you, we have not given a gift since we are expecting some form of payment in return. It is customary in our society to acknowledge and give thanks for gifts and if you want to give them something on that condition you may certainly do so. Consider that they are not thanking you for the gifts simply because they have not learned the concept of doing so. If you want them to learn this concept a pleasant word pointing out the value of acknowledging gifts would be appropriate. Not feeling loving toward your children because they have not learned the concept seems a very high price to pay. - the Dean

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

The time of the Vietnam War was a time of many protest movements against the war. The cold war was a time of ban the bomb movements. The thing most of these movements had in common was that they were resistance movements against what was going on. The people who were involved were called activists. An activist thus became someone who didn't like what was happening and was fighting for change in the status quo.

I see a different thing appearing more often in the peace movement today. Many of those who are working for peace are working only for positive change. While they are often called activists they are not resisting what is happening. They are just teaching about changing the consciousness of our society so that we choose a nonviolent resolution to our conflicts. Resolution of the conflict becomes more important to them than retribution for the "wrong."

I look at this as a truly positive change in our social outlook. Peaceful resolution to problems is possible. And it produces a happier, less stressed society with more of its energy and resources dedicated to the enjoyment of life, than to the protection of life. War is wasteful and no longer necessary, once we are willing to give up being the "boss of who does what."

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

Don't become a mind reader. We need to learn to not make assumptions about what our partner is thinking or wants. Also, we should never assume that they fully understand what we are telling them. Finishing your partner's sentence for them when you think you know what they are about to say not only leads to their resentment and anger but also to your own lack of understanding about who they really are.

On the other hand, be clear when you are communicating something to your partner. Don't assume that the other person automatically knows what you mean when you say something. Their way of thinking is not identical to yours, and misunderstandings are likely if you are not explicit and clear. Such misunderstandings can often lead to one or the other becoming fearful or angry. We need to do the best we can to make sure the other person understands what we are thinking.

Arthur Conan Doyle in his Sherlock Homes series left us with an idea that it is really wonderful to be able to take a few facts and find the answer. We need to overcome the idea that it is clever to be able to understand what someone is really thinking or saying just by listening to a few words. When we are trying to understand something the idea is to withhold judgment until we can get as much information as possible. The more we jump to conclusions the more we will be creating misunderstandings - and unnecessary stress.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Pay attention to how often you assume you know what someone is telling you before they complete what they are saying.

Tuesday: When you are uncertain of what someone is saying ask what they mean instead of guessing what they mean.

Wednesday: When someone says something different than what you expect take the time to make sure they mean what you think they do.

Thursday: Be accurate and complete when explaining and making requests of others.

Friday: When someone tells you something find out how they feel as that is part of the message.

Saturday: Expect that many words will have a different meaning to the other person.

Sunday: Resolve not to be the super sleuth who "knows" the answer from just a few clues.

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
 

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 will be conducting workshops throughout the United States and Canada. These workshops will 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."

I have taken on the task of supporting the teaching of emotional skills training in the educational system with the trust and hope, that many in your community will be able to share in the vision of this great work, and join us in this amazing project. We are promoting a "Sponsor a School" program to raise awareness and support throughout the U.S. & Canada If you have any interest in the program and/or having a workshop in your area. Contact me for additional information.

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