ALAN D. WOLFELT, PH.D.
If you’re a reader of this publication, you know that I believe it’s essential for funeral directors to educate today’s families about why we have funerals and the ways in which each funeral element contributes to the tapestry of a meaningful funeral. I regularly implore you to step into your role as gatekeeper of the funeral ritual and help families make choices that are good for them.
“But,” I hear some of you replying, “more and more people want cremation with no ceremony.
“And,” you continue, “families are strong-minded, and they don’t like it when they think I’m trying to sell them anything extra.
“Besides,” you conclude, “I’m here to help families make decisions and do what they want to do.”
Yes, it’s true that more and more people are choosing cremation, many with no services. In 2016, the national cremation rate broke 50% and is projected to reach nearly 80% by 2035.
Yes, families often have preconceptions and strong opinions, and they don’t like feeling “upsold.”
And yes, at-need families need to make many funeral decisions fairly quickly, and you are there to help them.
Still, none of these facts trumps the larger truth that full, personalized funerals
help put families on a good path to healing in a way that nothing else can and that you are uniquely positioned to ensure that this happens as often as possible.
You are an educator, not an order-taker. If you think of yourself in this way, you immediately put yourself…[click here to continue reading]