The Seventh Generation Principle — Words to Live by in Any Culture

Life should be more than just about the now

Nonggol Darapati
5 min readSep 20, 2021

Have you watched Rutherford Falls? The series premiered on Peacock in April this year. It’s a sitcom that not only brings current conversations to the table but also is a reminder of cultures, family traditions along with the many nuances and similarities we have as a human race despite of our difference.

As an Asian, I found there were many similarities between myself and the main characters of Rutherford Falls in their quest to continue their families legacies. No matter where we live or what our backgrounds may be, we all have one thing in common : family.

From a young age, I had always been taught that before taking any action, I must consider how it affects the generation that comes after me. This was instilled in me from early on, along with the knowledge that we must make our ancestors proud. If you watched Mulan, you would understand what I’m referring to. I had always thought that this was something only Asians are familiar with. The need to live up to or even exceed what our ancestors did. At the same time ensuring that we set a good example for the current generation and ensure the survival of the next one. That’s a tall order for a five year old in any culture.

There is no name for this philosophy of ensuring the survival of future generations. At least none that I know of. I had always thought that it was a wisdom that mothers passed down to their children to ensure good Karma.

However, upon watching Rutherford Falls, I finally learned that there is an official name to this philosophy. It is called “The Seventh Generation Principle”.

This is a principle which has been part of the American Indigenous people for centuries.

The Seventh Generation Principle is a belief that whatever you do today, you have to consider how it will impact seven generations later. Mindfulness is key.

When I was growing up, all of the tech giants and social media of today were non existent. The most high tech gadgets at that time were fax machines and VCRs. It was an easier time to live in since none of us had to keep up with the Joneses. Especially not ones that are half a world away-which is the case in today’s society. The term “saving up” was popularly used instead of the now popular “pay later”.

Learning about the Seventh Generation Principle this year, was a big slap across my face. One that woke me up from a very long, social media, haul filled dreams that I have been living in for the last few years. When COVID hit, I was torn. A part of me knew that this was nature’s way of hitting back at humans for neglecting and ravaging the earth for so long while the other part of me can’t help but wonder why it had to happen now, in my lifetime.

The Seventh Generation Principle is a belief that whatever you do today, you have to consider how it will impact seven generations later….

My mother had always said that humans are living on borrowed time and borrowed resources. We are able to live on this earth out of the goodness of mother nature. In return, we must take care and thank her. The climate change crisis has been happening for decades. I can’t help but wonder if the recent trend of humans living in excess and disregarding the future could be the culprit of why we are in the situation we are in today. We have become a society craving instant gratification. There is a constant need for the newest item at the speed of lightning fueled with Afterpay and instant delivery. Everyone wants everything right this very moment, at all cost.

The COVID endemic has really brought the Seventh Generation Principle back into my life front and center. It has reminded me to be more mindful of my actions towards others and especially towards the earth. I have come to realize that perhaps I too have played a part in what is happening today. When was the last time I actually stepped out of my house and played a good hostess to my ecosystem? Have I been giving back to mother nature by taking care of her children that inhabits my world or have I been stomping on them carefree?

We are able to live on this earth out of the goodness of mother nature. In return, we must take care and thank her.

The Seventh Generation Principle reminded me of my roots and how every action we take today is an extension of who we are as a person. It also reminded me of the legacy we leave for our children and their children.

I realize that change starts with me, which is why I have started making small changes and contributions in my life which I hope will have a bigger impact in the world. I am no longer tempted buy fast fashion nor do I spend time watching content creators parade their latest hauls on social media. There are bigger things in the world which requires all of our attention.

In today’s tech filled world, I am finding myself living the life of my mother and the many women before her. Foregoing beautifully packaged ready to eat meals for homemade cooking made from scratch. Filling my weekends with gardening and taking extra effort to ensure that what I do today, no matter how small it is, will lead to some goodness for future generations.

Living side my side with nature, feeling the earth on my feet, sharing spaces with the birds, the bees and yes, even the red ants that occasionally bite me when I am trimming the Heliconia has been eye opening.

The land, the earth, every animal and creature that live in it, have been with me my whole life. They have also been part of my mother’s life, as well as all of my ancestors. Being part of nature has brought me closer to my roots and made me realized that even with the passage of time, some things remains the same. The advancement of tech is not a hall pass in life to live carelessly and take the earth for granted.

Today I feel the connection with those who have come before me and those who will follow in my footsteps on a different plain. I feel the urgency and deep desire to ensure the survival of not only the seventh generation of my bloodline but the seventh generation of the world as a whole.

Putting the Seventh Generation Principle front and center has been eye opening and life changing. Give it a try, it will definitely open your horizons.