Funeral Industry News

There is a Big Difference Between Being Smart and Being Wise

August 20, 2009

Ryan Thogmartin is the CEO of DISRUPT Media | Follower of Christ | Husband | Father | Entrepreneur | Host of #DISRUPTu! and #FUNERALnationtv | Lover of Skittles DISRUPT Media is a social media content agency that focuses on storytelling for funeral companies. We use real stories to build creative strategies that achieve actual business goals.


There is a Big Difference Between Being Smart and Being Wise

I am amazed by the insight of the young people who leave comments on this website. Connecting Directors provides a wonderful forum – allowing members to identify themselves as actual or aspiring funeral professionals. It allows everyone the opportunity to affirm the unique gifts he or she brings to the workplace while allowing non funeral director members an opportunity to look into the mirror of our experiences with death care. Across the world, the everyday traffic in and out of funeral homes provides the ultimate opportunity to gather wisdom.

You may say, ?He?s a real smart cookie?, but I am here to tell you that there is a big difference between ?being smart? and ?being wise?.

I remember well the day that I first walked through a morgue door. It was in northern Alberta and I was the accountant for a family owned funeral home. I was working for a firm of Chartered Accountants and was computerizing my client?s records, quite a feat back then and quite a statement about the vision of the forward-thinking man who owned the establishment. I must admit, the process was bit of a nightmare when it came to tracking his accounts receivable and at some point I began spending more time interpreting his printouts than I did on my other clients. It wasn?t long before he made an offer I couldn?t refuse and I became his ?in house? accountant and book keeper.

The day I walked through the morgue door on purpose (on occasion I had stumbled in accidentally) was the day that I began to grow as a person. Within the year I was assisting and ultimately wrote the exams for my license. It was all so overwhelming for me. First hand, I observed the drama of life and death. His firm also ran an Ambulance service so I had a ringside seat from where I watched the dance of the fates, the toss of the coin of hope and observed the power of the human spirit. The power of prayer was not lost on me and my metal was being moulded in the crucible of experience. I digested my knowledge and made decisions with the residue, all the while remaining in awe of powerful life lessons.

The days ran into years to the point of retirement and now I look back fondly. When I had the energy of youth I was so wound up in my personal needs that I was blind to the larger picture. I was so filled with ?busy-ness?, not to be confused with ?business?, that I rarely slowed down to smell the roses.

Thanks to the effort of a generous son, I was able to retire much earlier than most but I can?t imagine what the treadmill towards my death would have been like if I hadn?t stepped back to enjoy life. Now I still work, when called, but usually in a reduced capacity. Often I am actually the assistant on a service when someone requests that ?Mr. McCormick be in attendance?. That’s the way I want it as I have no need to posture. The staff often let me pretend to be in charge, but I know they are only being kind. They stop and listen intently, then carry on with my son?s or the general manager?s instructions. And so it should be.

Let me percolate this all down to a few words. Your accumulated WISDOM will keep you vital in retirement. I suggest you take the time to be aware of the ways that you deal with WISDOM in your earlier years. If you don?t, you will have no idea how to deal with WISDOM when it is the only gift that you bring to the table.

Throughout our working years we dedicate ourselves to our profession and our individuality is something precious that we offer. Experience ranks right up there too, but can often get in the way if solutions to future driven problems that need to be anticipated.

Don?t wait until you are old to harvest the fruits of wisdom that have come your way by the grace of being a funeral professional.

TOO SOON WE GROW OLD AND TOO LATE WE GROW WISE.