Making Decisions For 7 Generations From Now


Every day we make decisions that impact ourselves and others. Decisions about our families, our values, the environment.

But these decisions have impact beyond our immediate eyesight and horizon.

Decisions about nurturing a certain kind of family; about making our communities better. The list goes on an on.

It’s part of the joy and responsibility of human freedom.

But I heard something that stretched my mind even further.

A few years ago I heard an aboriginal elder speak. He said that when he and his fellow elders got together when they were confronted with a big, significant decision, they asked themselves this question:

What impact will our decision have on our children 7 generations from now? 


Let’s say for a second that our world actually survives 7 generations from now (not totally a given). Are our decisions now bettering the world and the generations of our children?

Do we have the love and wisdom to create a better world we won’t see ourselves? Or are we too need-to-have-it-now greedy?

As I write this I breathe in polluted air, hear another story of a contaminated river, and see the continual devaluing of human life with morally bankrupt public policy decisions. (Not to be too negative, or anything!)

In 1965 an American subcommittee said that new advances in technology would create a future where Americans would be working 22 hours a week and be able to retire at age 38. 

Yes: Sometimes we get predictions about the future wrong. But what if we did some things in our own lives to get it right?

The ancient Israelites were always concerned with passing on the faith from one generation to the next, preserving the sanctity of life, the love of God, and the wonder of his creation. What about us?

What impact will our decisions have on our children 7 generations from now?

Let me end with a Native American saying: “We have not inherited the earth from our fathers, we are borrowing it from our children.”

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