As we stand at the precipice of a great change in the course of our history, (what many of us hope is a course-correction) vital and exciting conversations are happening — what kind of world do we want to recreate? What do we care about? And for who?
Recently, I’ve found myself coming back to he question — how can I be a better ancestor? And I’ve found some answers.
8 ways you can start being a better ancestor, today.
Good ancestors have the wisdom to accept that they probably won’t solve the world’s greatest challenges in their lifetime — inequality, racism, greed, disease. These are multi-generational journeys. But if I can’t solve it, does that mean I wont get the personal glory? Exactly. As a link in the great chain, you sacrifice personal reward for long term progress. And that’s beautiful.
Remember that you are a link in the great chain, not the chain
- If you can’t re-use it, don’t use it
Of course this isn’t a catch-all — toilet paper for example, or one-night stands are best left as a one time only thing. But as a general rule, good ancestors know that if we can’t re-use it, we lose it.
- Work on our trauma
Intergenerational trauma is a thing. What we don’t heal we pass on. Through our parenting, our politics, even our DNA. When we sort out our own shit, and own it rather than handing it down, we give the next generation a clean slate.
- Treat your elders with respect
The recent Brexit generational divide, revealed great swathes of contempt for older people. Too stuffy. Out of touch. Selfish. But another way to look at it is this, maybe they know something we don’t know and maybe we know something they don’t. Good ancestors respect the wisdom of elders when they are young, and become the wise when they are old.
- And your youngers
Every generation looks at the one below with some distrust — but good ancestors know that everything is evolution. They see the beauty in youth, the passion, the idealism, the energy. Too naive, too entitled, too individualistic? Maybe. But so were they.
- Speak of love, not war
The war on climate change. The war on drugs. The war on coronavirus. But more war never ended violence, just as more hate never ends pain. Good ancestors, know that if we want peace and progress, how we get there is just as important as where we’re going.
- Be a custodian of the earth
We are borrowers of the earth, for a moment of time. Good ancestors act like they are guarding something very precious for someone they love very much. They tread lightly. They use less. Harm less. They leave it, as they found it. And if possible better.
- And a steward of the future
Too many of us see our role here on earth as to “achieve” the perfect life. To live our best life. Yes — and, what if we shifted from I to We. What if we saw our role here as stewards not only of our beautiful life, but of a more beautiful world. If we woke up every morning and thought, what can I do today to make the future better. In the knowing and acceptance that we may never see that future. Good ancestors, don’t care. They create that world because they know it’s what they came here to do.