Charity begins at home
The phrase ‘Charity begins at home’ means that a person’s first and foremost responsibility is towards his family or that one should take care of their family first before caring for others.
This phrase was earlier believed to be from the Holy Bible from the very similar words
“But if any provide not for his own, & specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” ~ 1 Timothy 5:8, King James Bible, 1611
In the year 1382, John Wyclif expressed the same idea in is book Of Prelates “Charite schuld bigyne at hem-self”
John Fletcher too was quoted in the comedy Wit without water in the year 1625 as “Charity and Beating begins at home”.
Sir Thomas Browne was the first one to put this expression into print form in the year 1642 in Religio Medici as “Charity begins at home, is the voice of the world: yet is every man his greatest enemy.”
Meaning and Explanation
Charity is the voluntary act of helping those who are in need. This help is given usually in the form of money. It is also often a religious concept of unlimited love and kindness. Helping others who are in need is a rare quality vary scarcely found in people now a days. Today people are reluctant to help others. They care only for themselves and/or their families. There is yet another set of people who donate huge sums of money on charitable institutions only to make a name for themselves. They do this purely to impress others and not really from the goodness of their hearts. They do this while not caring about their own family members who may be in a deep trouble and require help.
A genuinely charitable person must really help those who really are in need and their activities must not be motivated by a selfish self-interest.
To be such a generous person, one must first learn to love and care for his own family. Every persons bringing up has a very crucial role to play in this. When parents instil appropriate values in a child while he is growing up. Such a person will care for his family and extend this care to those who are in need. He will be able to love and sympathize with all those who require his help.
One should never forget that Charity begins from home. Before anyone else, the family that stood with you through the good times and the dark times must be the one priority that should never change. Only those who are capable of being fair to their families have it in them to be good to others.
Imagine Susan is a volunteer at a Charity which takes care of poor uneducated women who cannot take care of themselves. She spends days and hours worrying about these women trying to provide them with an education, food and shelter. The running around that she does for them leaves her with little time for her own family. She thus, in her pursuit of taking care of these women forsakes the time she needs to take care of her own children and family who also depend on her for love and care.
Here we see how Susan spends her time volunteering for charities and tries to help people who are in need. But she fails to see that her family needs her too. She forgets that charity begins at home.