Andrew Penny, April 4 2023

 Seven Generations

In Ottawa, as a many other places in the world, public meetings are often prefaced with a short recognition that they taking place on native land. Sometimes these recognitions are quite cursory. At other times, they are quite long and well thought out. I’ll come back to this in a moment. 

When we think about our businesses, we think in different time frames. Sometimes it’s quite short- perhaps to the end of the week, or the end of the month. At other times we might be thinking out as long as a year or even three years. Our views are typically somewhere short of the horizon. Afterall, we have monthly objectives, quarterly reports, and year-end statements to consider. 

Now coming back to the First Nations recognition. I was at an event a week or so ago at which a First Nations representative was invited to start our session. Part of her presentation asked us to be mindful of Mother Earth and to think about the impact our actions will have on our descendants seven generations hence. Think about it, seven generations. A generation is typically 30 years in the western world - that’s 210 years.  

Framing it as seven generations is quite different from framing it as 210 years. 210 years is so far over the horizon that we have a tendency to ignore it. But ‘seven generations’ makes it personal. It’s a reminder that every day, we are building the world that our descendants will inhabit.  

So, I challenge you to become a seven-generation thinker, to consider the impact your personal and professional activities today will have on your seventh generation descendants.


Written by

Andrew Penny


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