• Steve Martin

Two-Hundred Year Thinking - Part 3 - the 200 Year Letter


In earlier blogs, I have talked about the idea of Two-Hundred Year Thinking and related several stories about the importance of thinking 200 years (7 generations) in the past and 200 years (7 generations) in the future as you make decisions. Specifically, I talked about the impact of Native American Philosophy (here) and Benjamin Franklin (here) on my thoughts in this area.

For most of my life, I have been interested in Genealogy.

As a result of a lot of work by people in my family, my family history goes back many centuries. I can identify the names, birthdates, and birthplaces of many of my ancestors 7 generations back. Most of them were born in the mid-1700s (as early as 1687 and as late as 1786).

However, I find myself wishing that I had more information about them. More than their names and birthdates, I wish I had information about THEM - who they were, what they valued, how they got to where they ended up, what they hoped for, and what they feared.

For example, I know that Margaret Bartholomew (one of my 5th-great-grandparents 7 generations ago) was born in Stirlingshire, Scotland, in 1744 and that she died in Scotland in 1810.

But I have no idea who she was as a person - what she valued, what she loved, what she did, what she feared, and what she went through to raise her children - one of whom was James Rae, my 4th great-grandfather. I would love to know those things about her. It would be an incredible thing to have a letter - from her - to me - giving me that information.

You have the opportunity to write that letter to your descendants 7 generations from now.

I have included a POSSIBLE outline for that letter below. It can take any form, it can be any length, and it can contain anything you want.

I suggest that you write such a letter and put it in a place where it can be passed down from generation to generation.

Here it one POSSIBLE outline for such a letter:

Dear great, great, great, great, great grandchild …

As I write this letter - I don't know who you are or where you will be living, but I do know that I already have strong feelings of love and hope for you.

Today's date is:

In 200 years (as you read this letter) the date will be:

I am writing this letter to you because: ….

My name is:

My children are:

My grandchildren are:

You are a descendant of one of my grandchildren.

This is who I am and how I came to be where I am:

This is what I value:

The most important events in my life have been:

This is what I know:

What I really want you to know is:

This is what I wish for you:

I hope you write this letter!

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