Dove with Branch
May 09, 2011 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 friend frequently tells me that she doesn't like the clothes I wear and some of my other friends. I don't think friends should criticize each other and I ask her not to do that, but she says "Friends should be able to say what is on their mind to each other." I don't think that friends should criticize each other. What do you think? - Marlie in CA

Dear Marlie, I think that you think friends shouldn't criticize each other - and that you look at her giving her opinion of how you look and what you do as criticism. If what someone thinks of you is of no value or hurtful to you then you will want to avoid them - or get over it. Many think it is really great to have someone they can trust to give them an honest opinion. If I had a friend who was doing this to be helpful I would appreciate it very much. If what they said upset me, then I would try to examine and change how I feel about it. Friends sometimes bring out our insecurities. If they are doing it in a loving way then we can be thankful. - the Dean

Dear Dean, My son-in-law does not like me. He will not invite me to his home and will not even take calls from me. I have two grandchildren that I have never even seen because he won't allow my daughter to bring them to my home. My daughter has chosen to abide by his wishes even though I know it hurts her very much. He won't allow her to even call or write. Neither of them will tell me why I have upset him so that I can try to make amends. What can I do to make her let me see my grandchildren? - Anna in WA

Dear Anna, If she refuses to talk to you and you are unable to talk to your daughter as well, then gracious acceptance of the situation is probably your best bet in the long run. Perhaps time will change things. Have great compassion for your daughter and do not make things more difficult for her. For whatever reason, she has chosen to abide by her husband's wishes. It was most likely not an easy choice for her. Try not to add to her suffering by showing your pain to her. Telling her that you understand her choice without saying more would be a great gift to her. - the Dean

I welcome questions and/or comments from our readers. Send your Ask the Dean questions or comments to: 90022 Sheffler Rd., Elmira, OR 97437, or visit www.DeanOfPeace.com. to submit by e-mail.

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

If we kill someone we are guilty of murder. If we kill ten people we are a serial killer. If we kill thirty-three people we are guilty of a horrendous crime. The leaders of the world all recognize this and still when it comes to the greatest crime of all - waging war on another country - they praise it as a necessary tool to achieve our objectives. They even do it just to create democracy in another country.

They do not seem to recognize it as wrong, for they promote it as in the best interests of our own country. When our rulers see a perceived wrong (according to our interests or viewpoint) they are willing to use war as a tool to achieve their objectives. Those who recognize a small crime as such but do not recognize the wickedness of the greatest crime of all - the waging of war on another country - and instead praise it - cannot recognize the difference between right and wrong.

Perhaps we still need to recognize the right of self-defense, but that does not include the right to use war to achieve our political aims. It is time we give up the need to have it our way and accept the role of the world court and world government as a means of settling our differences with other nations, just as the individual states in our nation look to the federal government. This system has worked well for us. It could work for the whole world.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

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. When the other person doesn't respond the way you expect take a moment to see that they have understood your message as you intended.

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: I explain the meaning of my thoughts carefully. I do not assume others will understand my meaning.

Tuesday: I pay attention to see that others have understood the meaning of what I say.

Wednesday: When I think others may have misunderstood what I have said I check with them.

Thursday: When I am uncertain if others understand my meaning I ask.

Friday: When others do not understand what I say I do not get upset.

Saturday: When I have spoken to another, I ask them if they have heard my words and have any questions.

Sunday: When anyone tells me something, I summarize back what I think they said to check for accuracy.

Dean Van Leuven is a psychologist, conducts workshops and is the author of Life Without Anger 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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I welcome your suggestion or comments. If you have a question that you would like addressed in the Ask the Dean? column feel free to send them to drdean@lifewithoutanger.com

 

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