Would Your Grandchildren Vote to Lose the Business?
As the Bible winds to a close, the apostle John writes to his personal friend Gaius. His purpose is to check on the believers gathered in that community. John writes, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3 John 1:4)
John’s sentiment is powerful and shared by any parent or mentor. We all desire that our children, our grandchildren and our disciples carry on with a similar set of values as we hold. On the other hand, there’s little doubt that there’s no greater grief than to see our children abandon the values we sought to instill in them.
Imagine the scene therefore: three generations gathered in the same room—patriarch, children and grandchildren—and all of them vested with a single but equal vote. And similarly imagine a values-based conversation—how would your children and grandchildren vote?
Such was the case with Hobby Lobby in 2012. That year, Hobby Lobby and its founders, David and Barbara Green, faced the question of whether they would sue the federal government and risk losing their company or provide certain abortion-inducing drugs mandated by the Affordable Care Act. As part of this decision, David and Barbara gathered their entire family, all three generations, and gave them an opportunity to voice their opinion. Essentially, three generations had to come to one mind on one question: whether to risk losing the company in order to defend life.
In Giving It All Away and Getting It All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously (Zondervan 2017), David Green describes the outcome of their family’s vote and the encouragement of shared values over three generations. His story challenges my own and raises the question: how would my children vote? how would my grandchildren vote? Put differently, if my values were put to a vote before my children and grandchildren, would they vote the same way that I would on their own?
It’s a powerful lesson and challenges me to think more about my own legacy.