There always has been and always will be a need for individuals to care for the dead. These specialized, caring professionals are funeral directors. Over the years, we have attained numerous titles, including funeral functionary, mortician, and undertaker. And although our profession has changed over the years, one thing remains constant- our dedication and commitment to those we serve. Most people fear change- it can sometimes be difficult to deal with, especially the matter of cremation- but change is nothing new to funeral service.
Students presently enrolled in mortuary science programs throughout the country are being trained by some of the most experienced, knowledgeable and educated individuals, and this training is carried on during the internship/apprenticeship by licensees who also possess the experience, education, and knowledge to competently guide our future licensees.
According to the American Board of Funeral Service Education, in 2014, approximately 56 percent of funeral service graduates were women, and 39 percent of graduates were over age 30. Eighty-five percent of new enrollees had no prior familial relationship wth funeral service. The future of our profession rests with these individuals.
We don't want to see this discontent passed along to our future funeral directors. To most, the very word "cremation" has become intimidating. However, as cremation is nothing more than a means of disposition- when we die, we are either buried or cremated. The individual who calls the funeral home and state "Mom wanted to be cremated" did not say Mom did not want a visitation or a Mass or service in church. It's simply that after a traditional viewing and church funeral, as opposed to driving to the cemetery for disposition, the body is taken to a crematory. There's an enormous difference between a family requesting cremation and one requesting direct cremation.
Sure, we can market toward cremation and advise consumers of their options. But we can also look more positively at cremation. So let's embrace change, cremation and those who hold the future of funeral service.
Marsaglia. "Embrace Change." The Director April 2016: 38-39. Print