Living By Example

“I have but one regret, and that is I did not feel it my duty to play with my children as much as to teach. Now I have none to play with.” — David Livingston

I discovered the life of David Livingston while listening to Niall Ferguson’s Empire, a captivating look at the rise and fall of the British Empire. 

Ferguson paints a curious picture of Livingstone, a heroic 19th Century explorer of the African continent and one of the first white men to explore its arid interior. Yet for the first forty years of his life, he devoted himself to converting its ‘primitive’ natives to Christianity, a mission that ended in abject failure. 

I can well understand Livingstone’s desire to ‘change’ people. I tried it on with friends and family for far too long. It was only with the passage of time that I came to realize how selfish that choice was. How it only served to boost my own ego. 

We’d do well to avoid trying to change the minds of others.

Instead we can learn to live by example for the ones we love, offering alternate paths back into the light. 


James Pillion