On the 4th of July we celebrate independence, freedom and liberation.
This holiday is often accompanied by ribs and beers, fireworks and family gatherings.
It’s not very often we think about what it took for us to gain independence as a nation.
And now we have this beautiful opportunity to create a new chapter for a profession that has been in the shadows for centuries.
Which profession, you ask?
The funeral profession of course!
So before you fire up your grill, let’s talk about some ways we can liberate our beloved funeral profession from any limitations or shackles it has held for too long.
Before we dive into how to liberate the funeral profession, let’s get on the same page of what liberation truly means. According to the dictionary, liberation can be defined as “the act of setting someone free from imprisonment, slavery, or oppression; release.” Another definition offered is “freedom from limits on thought or behavior”.
Now that we’ve gotten on the same page, let’s explore some ways we can stop limiting ourselves and each other through oppression and limited thinking.
First of all, let’s talk about tradition.
If you really want to liberate yourself and this entire profession, we must first liberate ourselves from the traditions which no longer serve us. It’s not up to us, the writers of this piece, to decide which traditions no longer serve you personally. However, I do tend to think that anything that keeps us rigid, inflexible, unadaptable and stuck, needs to go. If we stay rigid, how can we evolve?
Evolution requires adaptation. And without evolution, we become stale and stagnant. So ask yourself: what traditions are keeping me from evolving with the changes the world is seeing? How can I release myself from them?
Second, let’s do away with top-down company structures
As we enter into a world that’s innovating itself from the bottom up, we must assume it’s also our job to do the same. Innovation certainly doesn’t always begin at the top of your company. Innovation only truly happens in a collaborative environment.
If your funeral home employees don’t have a say in the future of your funeral business, we have a problem. Because let’s face it, you’re only as good as your employees. You can’t innovate without them. So make them a part of your innovation plans and let their true innate gifts shine.
Third, let’s invite in the matriarchal approach to death
As we enter into a new way of the funeral profession, we can’t help but notice the amount of women entering into this profession. And as women infiltrate the funeral profession, we must ask ourselves one thing.
The thing is: how can women enter the funeral profession without trying to be men? Many times, the way of the woman is much different than the way of the man. And both roles are important, and needed. However, we must remember that women are not men. There is a different pace, structure and way of a woman than a man.
And instead of making the same mistakes that many other industries have made, I invite us to embrace the matriarchal way of death. In other industries, such as politics, women enter the industry trying to be like men. And it doesn’t work! We truly need a feminine way in the funeral profession, too. It’s important and meaningful. Both are important. But right now, to truly liberate ourselves, we must celebrate and invite in the matriarchal approach to death.
Fourth, let’s welcome LGBTQ & BIPOC communities
The funeral profession has historically been ruled by the white, heterosexual man. I know, this may trigger some of you. But it’s true. Plain and simple. And as our society welcomes in and accepts other ways of being, we must also do the same. The funeral profession needs to be able to serve LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) and BIPOC (black, indigenous and people of color) people in a way that’s meaningful to them.
Before I say anything else, let’s lean on the research. A Gallup study predicts the proportion of adults who identify as LGBTQ will exceed 10 percent in the near future. And according to the US Census, BIPOC folks make up nearly half of our population. Meaning, more than half of the people that walk through your doors will want to feel catered to and included in your offerings.
So ask yourself: how are you adapting your approach to funeral service to include LGBTQ & BIPOC folks? How are you adapting your personal beliefs to be more accepting and inclusive? We can only truly find liberation altogether. It’s an all or nothing kind of deal.
Happy 4th of July to the funeral pros out there
May we all liberate ourselves from all the ways we limit ourselves and our capabilities, as well as others.
May we all stay open in our hearts and our minds and welcome change.
May we all remain compassionate towards ourselves and one another as we transition into new ways of doing things.
May we all be happy, and free.
How do you think it would look to liberate the funeral profession? Tell us in the comments below!