Our Father's Business - Revisited

I was talking with a successful and ambitious businessman the other day, and the trend of our conversation suggested he might be receptive to hearing about the Christmas model of business. We were going somewhere in his car, so I had a captive audience, and I read him the article, "Our Father's Business - A Christmas Gift." When I got through, he said, "That's a good idea, but you've got to leave the religion out of it. The religion part will turn some people off."

After that, we talked for awhile about the idea of Christmas and how it could be related to principles of successful business. We talked about how exchanging value to meet needs builds a network of extended family. We discussed how these exchanges weave a fabric that links people in relationships. We talked about focusing on customer enriching business activities. We spoke about how you don't give the same gift to everyone in your family. Gifts are chosen to meet individuals' needs and wishes, illustrating the ultimate in individualized customer service. It is clear that the Christmas model of business can be extended along many avenues of thought. Then I mentioned that one thing I was still thinking about is that at Christmas, the children get all the presents.

At that point, I was remembering a little boy I had watched opening his Christmas presents a few weeks before. This little boy got a train set and a circle of tracks. He got a fire truck, and then a big box with twenty little cars and trucks of every variety. Then he got two different musical instruments, one that ran on batteries and made great loud sounds and the other like a ukulele. This went on and on. This little boy was virtually showered, swamped, deluged with presents. As nice as my Christmas gifts were, it was clear that the child's experience contained added dimensions. I just didn't quite understand why this was true or how it applied to the idea of our Father's business.

I was still thinking about our discussion later that day as I was out jogging, and I kept going back to my friend's comment about "taking the religion out." It wasn't sitting well with me, and I kept trying to figure out why. What was the "religion" part anyway. Was it simply the idea that, like they say in the 12 Step programs, we look to a higher power? I thought about the difference between thinking the power is in us and reaching out to reflect it from its source, whether it might be a sense of the divine, or even an idea, principle, or word. It seemed important to me that there was a relationship involved. It is like a relationship between parent and child. Maybe the religion part is just the willingness to be a child. Then it struck me. "The children get all the presents!"

It is not when we simply run our businesses well that we get the deluge, it is when we realize that we are the children, and it is our Father's business. The childlike receptivity, willingness to follow intuitions, simple faith in our vision, playful creativity, freedom from fears, these and other such attributes naturally grow out of our acceptance that it is indeed our Father's business. Then the deluge. And the children get all the presents!

Continue to Our Father's Business - Part   III

Copyright 1995, Jim Chapman. Reprinted by Permission.

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