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What I’ve Learned From Working in the Preschool Ministry

What I’ve Learned From Working in the Preschool Ministry

What I've Learned From Working in the Preschool Ministry

    My son was born on July 31, 2008.  To prepare for the trials and travails of fatherhood, I spent my Sunday mornings working in our church’s preschool ministry.  It was really, really fun, and I look forward to getting back to it over the next couple of weeks (I’ve taken a hiatus because of travel and fatherhood).  In the process, I learned a lot about productivity, management, and life.  Here are a few lessons from working with kids:

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    1. It happens.  You know what I mean.  It happens, it’s messy, and it stinks.  It can always be cleaned up, though, and it is important to remember that “this too shall pass.”  And it passes pretty quickly: after a few icky minutes, everyone affected will be happy again soon.  It’s upsetting, but fretting about it won’t fix it.  The damage has been done, the diaper needs to be changed, and the kid is crying.  This isn’t the time to step back and think about strategy, meaning, or values.  This is the time to get the kid on the changing table, get the wipes, get a new diaper, and take care of business.

    2. Kids cry and kids bleed, but kids bounce back.  No matter what you do and no matter the adult-child ratio, accidents will happen and someone will end up crying, bleeding, or both.  This isn’t the time to lament circumstances or think about the meaning of life or your goals for the next five years.  It’s time to get the band-aids and peroxide and fix the problem.  This requires a steely resolve, too: peroxide on a scrape hurts, and a two-year old doesn’t understand that a little pain now is necessary to prevent more pain later. 

      There’s a leadership and management lesson here, too.  In the short run, it would be easy to pacify the child and let the wound go without proper treatment.  Dealing with a screaming kid who is irate about the fact that you’ve put peroxide on a scraped knee or elbow can be heart-wrenching.  In the long run, though, this creates problems in the form of potential infections and also signals that you aren’t doing your job.  You end up passing the buck to someone else and showing that you’re irresponsible.  In a child-care setting, I wouldn’t trust someone who is afraid to clean up scrapes and bruises.  In a management setting, the ability to grit your teeth and do what you know needs doing even over the protests of your subordinates will pay off in the long run.

    3. Keep your eyes open and be able to see the field when appropriate.  It’s you, a few other adults, and a swarm of screaming toddlers on a playground.  You can’t focus on just one kid or one group of kids for too long, nor can you let them monopolize your attention.  Other people under your supervision need your attention and your guidance, too.  For managers and leaders who are in a position where they have to develop others, it is important not to develop tunnel vision.

    4. Get into the action and have fun.  Aloofness is a vice among managers and knowledge workers.  Never be afraid to get your hands dirty.  If you’re working with toddlers, pretending to be the giant monster storming the Fisher-Price castle isn’t beneath your dignity.  It can also be a lot of fun.  Similarly, when the context is appropriate, don’t be afraid to interact in a meaningful way with your subordinates on projects they find important.

    5. Tell the truth, share, and don’t take things that don’t belong to you.  If you mess up, admit, be honest about it, and do what you need to do to fix it.  Share and share alike, but always remember not to take anything that doesn’t belong to you.  These are great lessons for the kids, and they’re great lessons for adults, too.

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    Art Carden

    Art Carden is an Assistant Professor of Economics and Business at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee.

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    Last Updated on January 11, 2021

    11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

    11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

    Affordable, relaxing, and healthy, oil diffusers are gaining popularity with people everywhere due to their extensive benefits. Oil diffusers work through the simple process of oil diffusion, which uses heat to turn oil into a vapor that is then spread around a living space. Diffused oil can have several relaxation and health-related benefits, including safe scent-dispersion, mosquito and mold defense, stress relief, and more!

    Read on for 11 hidden benefits of using oil diffusers.

    1. Safe Scents That Make Sense

    Unlike candles or air fresheners, oil diffusers release cleansing molecules into your air that work to purify it, not overload it with unhealthy chemicals. Electronic diffusers also do not pose the fire risk that candles do. Plus, they contain the added feature of interchangeability, which means you change oil types for different scents and health benefits.

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    2. Stress Relief

    Several lab studies have confirmed that diffusing essential oils like lavender have been shown to reduce stress and help relieve anxiety in medical patients. Preliminary studies have also shown that oil diffusers can help alleviate symptoms of depression.

    3. Improved Sleep

    Diffused oil has relaxing properties that can help people of all ages fall asleep quicker and sleep more soundly. Electronic diffusers not only have the option to mix and match different oil blends (Try a lavender, Bulgarian rose, and Roman chamomile blend to help with insomnia), they also run at a gentle hum that helps relax an agitated mind. Many also come with an auto shut-off feature to help conserve oils once you have fallen asleep.

    4. Appetite Control

    Much like gum, oil diffusers can help stimulate the senses in a way that works to curb appetite. New research has shown that diffused peppermint oil can help curb appetite by inducing a satiety response within the body. Diffused peppermint oil has also been shown to increase energy.

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    5. Bacteria and Mold Killing

    When essential oils are diffused in the air, they break down free radicals that contribute to the growth of harmful bacteria. Eucalyptus, thyme, and tea tree oils are especially good for this purpose. Diffused oil is also highly effective when it comes to combating fungal yeast threats, as the oil help makes the air inhospitable for yeasts such as mold. Pine and red thyme essential oils are best for combating mold.

    6. Decongestion and Mucus Control

    Ever tried Vick’s Vapo-Rub? Its decongesting powers come from active ingredients made from the eucalyptus tree. In principle, oil diffusers work the same way as Vapo-Rub, except they diffuse their decongesting vapor all around the room, not just on your chest or neck. Oil diffusers have been known to cure pneumonia in lab mice.

    7. Mosquito Repellant

    Nobody likes mosquitoes — but when the trade-off means using repellants full of DEET, a toxic chemical that can be especially harmful to children, mosquito control can often seem like a lose-lose. However, scientists have shown that oil diffusers can be used as a safe and highly effective mosquito repellant. Studies have shown that a diffused oil mixture containing clove essential oil and lemongrass essential oil repelled one type of Zika-carrying mosquito, the Aedes aegypti mosquito, at a rate of 100%.

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    8. Pain Relief

    While applying oils directly to areas of your body may be the most effective way to alleviate pain, diffusing essential oils can also be an effective means of pain relief. When we inhale healthy essential oils, they enter our blood stream and can help internally relieve persistent pain from headaches, overworked muscles, and sore joints.

    9. The New Anti-Viral

    Research into the anti-viral effects of oil diffusion is now just gaining steam. A recent study showed that star anise essential oil was proven in medical experiments to destroy the herpes simplex virus in contained areas at a rate of 99%. Another study showed the popular DoTerra oil blend OnGuard to have highly-effective influenza-combating powers.

    10. Improved Cognitive Function

    Diffusing essential oils has also been shown to improve cognitive function. Many essential oils have adaptogenic qualities, which can work twofold in soothing us when we’re stressed, and giving our bodies a pick-me-up when we’re feeling down or sluggish. By working to level out an imbalanced mood, diffused oils also help us to focus. There are also several essential oils which have been shown to help balance the body’s hormones. With prolonged use, these oils can work to repair the underlying causes responsible for hindering cognitive function.

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    11. Money Saving

    With ten clear benefits of oil diffusers already outlined, there is one more that should now be obvious: using an oil diffuser will help you to save money. As an anti-viral, bug repelling, and stress-relief solution rolled into one safe product, an oil diffuser used with the proper oils will save you money on products you might otherwise be buying to help cure those pesky headaches or get your kids to fall asleep on time. If you’re wondering just how affordable oil diffusers can be, check the buyer’s guide to the best oil diffusers — you’ll be sure to find one that fits your budget!

    Featured photo credit: Jopeel Quimpo via unsplash.com

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