Little House on the Prairie

If you’re following me on twitter, you know I’ve been taking a trip down memory lane with my daughter by watching Little House on the Prairie…beginning with season one.

I’m trying to explain to her how much has changed since I watched the original show in 1974. It appeared on Wednesday nights and if I missed an episode there was no going back to watch it.

There was no recording device, video store, Netflix, Roku or DVR to watch it at any time other than when it originally aired. And commercials? This was the time I raced to beat my sisters to the bathroom or get a snack – there was no pause button. The way the Ingalls family lived seemed archaic to me and my daughter is just as amazed at the changes in technology over the last 40 years as I was back then at the lack of electricity and indoor plumbing 100 years earlier!

I love technology. It provides entertainment, the tools I need to earn a living, helps me organize and care for my family as well as stay connected to the people I love. I’m a die-hard geek. If I buy a new gadget I can get lost in it for days so I’m also aware of how disconnected I can become by being so connected. Innovation has it’s pros and cons.

Technology hasn’t really changed the funeral industry – in fact it’s probably one of the last industries to embrace it. What has changed is the funeral experience and our attitudes about death. What used to be very personal is now handled by professionals. Dead bodies were cared for by family members in the 1800’s. They were laid out in their homes and loved ones stayed with the bodies until they were buried in wooden boxes built by the people who loved them. Now we pick up the phone, have someone else handle the details for us and visit the bodies from 2-4 and 7-9. Some people even choose direct burial or cremation with no visitation. We rarely plan for this life event and are so superstitious we think if we mention our final days, somehow they will make their way to us sooner.

I wonder what you think about the evolution of the funeral – is this good or bad? Don’t we still need the comfort and support of others? If the industry embraced technology, could it be improved upon? I would love to hear your thoughts.