A new year always brings new resolutions to improve, whether in personal or professional areas. There’s always something that we might do better and this can apply to new embalmers as well as veteran embalmers. As Rod Serling of The Twilight Zone might have said, “submitted for your approval” are ten resolutions for 2018:
Sure, even an escapist fiction book could help stimulate the mind or simply force some needed relaxation, but there are a lot of good choices that can help you in your professional endeavors. One suggestion is The Good Funeral: Death, Grief, and the Community of Care by Thomas G. Long and Thomas Lynch. Delving into topics such as the value and valuable aspects of a funeral, including how important it is for families to “go the distance” to the cemetery or crematory, this is a very enlightening read that is guaranteed to sharpen your perspective and ability to help families.
Open Up Minds
Educating families is vital and there’s nothing worse than hearing a family later regret that they did not know they could have done something if only they were told. Ensure that all your families are aware of all of their options. Educate them on the value of a visitation with a viewing -yes, even cremation families.
Participate In Professional Discussions
Are you a member of any Linked In groups? There are a number of groups specific to funeral service with daily posts and discussions that can provide you with ideas, tips or simply provoke thought. For example, in just one month’s time, topics addressed in the “Funeral Service Insider” group included:
Besides learning from others, post some thoughts of your own, pose a question to the group, start a discussion – you’ll gain the most if you participate.
Attend a national convention such as the 2018 NFDA, ICCFA or NFD&MA expos to attend seminars, see what’s new or even a refresher in products and services, mingle with your peers. If you can’t make a national show, attend your state association convention. Many organizations have special events and seminars in addition to their annual conferences. Or webinars. Freshen up your knowledge and skills.
Get Into The Prep Room
Say what?! Well, if you haven’t embalmed in the last six months, freshening up your skills in the prep room may be in order. After all, even athletes who are at the top of their game still go to practice day in and day out.
Host An Open House
Invite the community to visit your funeral home. Host an old-fashioned ice cream social. Provide funeral planning guides. Give away pens or other low-cost items so they remember who took the time to help them understand funerals, options, and the funeral planning process at a time when they are not experiencing grief that can cloud thinking.
Be A Teacher
Seek an opportunity to speak at “career day” at your local high schools or community colleges about the rewards of the funeral service profession. Think back on what motivated you to join the profession and what rewards you on a daily basis. Tell your story, talk about how your services touch and help families. We need good people to enter our profession!
Yes, I said it! Find a local 5k race or bike ride and participate. You will feel better about yourself and it will give you time to clear your head.
Try A New Fluid Or Embalming Technique
You never know … you might just like it.
Give Your Prep Room A Makeover
Invest in your prep room. Maybe some new lighting, ventilation, equipment such as a body lift or embalming machine. Even something as simple as a fresh coat of paint can improve the working environment.
I’m going to end with a bonus resolution: Pay it forward
Consider providing a small scholarship or donation to a mortuary science student. That’s a financial and supportive bonus for the student. A fulfilling bonus for you. And a sustaining bonus for our great funeral service industry.
Happy holidays and make 2018 your best year ever!
Lance Ray has been the Executive Vice President and COO of Pierce Chemical since 2014. He is a licensed funeral director / embalmer and graduated from the Dallas Institute of Funeral Service, a Pierce College, in 1994. Prior to joining Pierce, Lance had spent twenty years in funeral service and working as part of the Wilbert Funeral Services organization.