Family Business.

I’m watching TV, and just before “My Name Is Earl” starts at 9:30 there’s a John Hancock Financial commercial. And the concept of the ad is “Think of your family as a company with assets to build, develop, and protect.” That voiceover accompanies scenes all to familiar with our finance-obsessed culture: soundbytes from CNBC style finance shows where the reporter gives a byte such as, “The Peterson family ended on a positive note today, up this quarter a full 15% over last quarter.” Over and over they use that example, with the narrator cutting in and continuing the metaphor. And YES, it’s a metaphor. Problem is, a LOT of folks live as though it isn’t. And you don’t have to SEE the commercial to realize this.If this were true, I could fire my wife for not pulling her weight, or I could promote a cousin to the prestigious position of first born son for doing such a remarkable job cleaning his bedroom.And I feel just a bit like a tail-wagged dog if I buy into that. I’m not too keen about using business rhetoric in places where it doesn’t belong, and this certainly qualifies. Granted, advertisers wrote that commercial, and being a hack-advertising writer of sorts, I know how easy it is to toss around phrases, metaphors, and imagery to connect with an audience. On a slight tangent, if you TRULY listen to the advertising that’s in current rotation, you’ll begin to seed a deep skepticism that can very quickly sprout and sprawl. My skepticism in general is both my blessing and curse.So. Can families be run like a business? Can ministry? Can my personal life? How about art? Not to say that there isn’t overlap, or that due to the fact that a good many of us spend at LEAST 33% of our lives in “business mode” it’s an easy shift to applying it to other interactions and activities.Maybe it’s just semantics, and my sensitivity towards such things. Maybe not.


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