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Whole Foods co-founder John Mackey is speaking candidly about his decision to not have children.
While chatting with Freakonomics Radio for an episode released last month, the 67-year-old businessman detailed to host Stephen J. Dubner that not having kids has been one aspect of his life that he regrets. Noting that he loves children, Mackey opened up about not being a father and discussed what kind of dad he believes he would be.
"I guess it depends upon how old I was when I had the kids, right? Because I’m a lot more conscious as I’ve gotten older than I was when I was younger," Mackey says. "I’m sure if I started at age 20 or 21 I’d have had more energy, but I’d lacked the wisdom that I would have had when I got older."
Though the co-CEO doesn't have children, Mackey made it clear during the chat that if he was given the chance to redo his life and make a different choice, he wouldn't since he married "the most amazing woman" — his wife, Deborah Morin, whom he says did not want children.
"She has helped me so much," he said. "She’s made me so happy."
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Detailing that they've have "a great partnership, 30 years together," Mackey continues, "If I could go back into the past, I wouldn’t change that."
"I would not go back and replace my wife with a woman who wanted to have kids because I have really scored well on that one," he says.
Elsewhere during his chat with Freakonomics Radio, Mackey detailed his own experiences as a child and shared that he had a complex relationship with his own father, Bill Mackey, who died back in 2004.
"I remember when I was growing up, for example, bringing in a report card one time, all A's and one B, and I was really proud of it," he recalls of a childhood moment. "And my father said, 'What are you going to do about that B?' And that was devastating because I thought he’d be proud of me."
"In the short run, I was first hurt, and then I was angry," he says. "It’s like, I can never make him happy. … I experienced him mostly criticizing me."
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