Children Get Only One Childhood

October 1, 2009
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imageChildhood is defined as the period from birth to eighteen years. Having children and launching a career often go hand in hand and eighteen years is close to the dedicated time frame required to launch a successful career. When the two events coincide, something usually has to give. To achieve success, many professions demand a high degree of dedication and time commitment. Doctors and ministers come to mind but there is one profession wedged neatly between those two. Yes, you are right … the funeral profession.

Ours is a profession … dare I say ?calling?… that defies all the rules of the road when it comes to personal time management. Months in advance, we have a wonderful weekend planned with our kids when suddenly the mayor?s wife dies in a car accident. It?s ?all hands on deck? for the next forty-eight hours and all personal plans get put on hold. At home, disappointment and anger await the funeral director who has to break such news to her family. Children feel anger. Our children look to their mommies and daddies for the tools that eventually help with their own child-rearing skills. The way we approach our own family time often casts the mold that creates little workaholics.

The future of our profession lies in our ability to adapt. The ?way it was? isn?t necessarily the best way. Providing real opportunities for both fathers and mothers to spend time with their children requires a change in the availability of ?flexible working hours? at all levels. I believe funeral homes will not be able to keep valuable employees if they won?t enable them to spend the time they need to build strong relationships and live more healthy lifestyles.

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The impact of work on the economic wellbeing of a household is well understood. The most common household work model today has one parent working full time, and the other part time. The impact for children is that there is an increasing need for non-parental childcare. The lack of, and the high cost of flexible and part time childcare means many parents rely on complex patchworks of informal childcare arrangements which may not be always in the best interests of the child.

A ?good childhood? depends on many social factors, but a ?good childhood? begins around the dinner table. If your funeral home work place allows you to plan your employment functions around your family demands at least fifty percent of the time, you are very lucky. It was not always so.

I encourage employers and managers to listen carefully to lunch room conversations relating to ?at home? issues. I encourage them to try everything in their power to introduce flexible hours to the agenda. That plan will be a plus for your funeral home when you are hiring your next employee. Hopefully you won?t be hiring because the last director burned out and quit because the time expectations were just too high.

It?s a different world out there today, friends. Yes, dedication to the funeral profession falls right in line with the level of commitment needed by doctors and ministers, but that doesn?t have to translate as ?a sacrificing? of your family life. Talk to your employer about flex hours. If you are the owner, take a bold step forward and consider the very people who make YOU successful.

Consider THEIR family needs.

Children get only one childhood.

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