Putting the You into Universal
You - the most important person in your life.
Shannah Kennedy made this abundantly clear in her 'In Conversation with' webinar this last quarter about The Importance of Caring for Self in an Industry All About Caring for Others. (Make sure to grab your copy of the recording if you missed it.)
As caregivers and community supporters, and managers… we cannot give from an empty vessel. Shannah called it looking after the 'asset'.
When was the last time that you sat to reflect upon the role you play and how you choose to play it – and the costs of those choices?
- What technology do you rely upon – does it give you the output and efficiencies you need every day?
- What people do you engage – are they skilled in the right areas and of the same values as the organisation?
- What effort do you expend every day – does it wisely vary to match your wellbeing and energy?
- What habits do you have for self-care – are you clear on what you need in fuel, rest and exercise to keep you charged for the role you play?
- What is your measure of success – for you – as per your personal values?
We heard from Annette Richard (Recreation Aotearoa, NZ) about the role cemeteries play in community health and wellbeing in our 'In Conversation with' webinar How Parks and Open Spaces Play a Role in Health and Well-being and How Cemeteries Can Be Linked to This.
We were reminded of the need to renew future planning of urban spaces to include community wellbeing and how we now understand more than ever before that green spaces are essential to our communities. Cemeteries are already playing a vital role in this regard.
Annette shared the United Nations statistic that by 2050, 66% of the world's population will live in a city – and not all cities have green spaces, but most have a cemetery. She shared her experience of a Crematory/Cemetery in Nepal and how it is used as a hub of vibrant connection for the people of the region.
It's clear that cemeteries play a vital role in the community. They are a symbol of closure, a place to reflect, a space of peace, a walking path, a café date, a family meeting, a destination of beauty and tranquillity, or a guided tour under the stars. The 'place' is as important to the community as the 'people' who guide them through their experience of it.
As our generations of young adults in the community evolve, priorities change (or become more pronounced). It is said that Generation Z cares most about improving the world. They are passionate about the environment and gender equality, and wellbeing. Topics like 'regenerative planning' are now mainstream – did you see this article in WLD (World Landscape Architecture)? It is now commonplace to see sculptures and restorative landscaping in Cemetery grounds.
The common denominator that binds all of these pressing needs and priorities together is you - YOU are the U in Universal death care. As death care sector professionals, regardless of the role, the location, the hours or the space… you provide an important brick in the wall of community and social engagement. Your people, services and facilities deliver both tangible and intangible value to others. You take the ideas and needs of your community back to the Trusts, Boards and Councils, who in turn look to the future plans and projects.
The decisions you make, actions you take, conversations you host… bring forward the development and growth that future generations will enjoy the fruits of.