Kids often ask “Why should charity begin at home?” We as parents need to explain to our kids that like most values, charity is also instilled gradually and it starts from home.
‘Charity begins at home’ is a well known saying, which really means that you should try to help your family and friends. This prepares a good foundation for you to help other people.
Our family is the perfect place to learn about charity and service to others, because charity inculcates the value to serve others, serve one another, and love one another. But to instill these values in kids is not easy, as they are naturally focused on their own needs and they have to be weaned away from their self-centeredness.
Children who have everything cannot imagine what it is like to have nothing or have little. They are not able to place themselves into the other person’s shoes and feel the true feeling of having nothing, or managing within limited means.
It is our job as parents in a family to help them understand that charity begins at home, and it is the responsibility of those who have- to help those who have less or nothing at all. We need to be role models and demonstrate generosity and caring to our children, and get the whole family involved in learning all about charity.
“Charity begins at home, but should not end there.” ~ Thomas Fuller.
The joys of giving should be all year through, and with the holiday season like Christmas and New Year just round the corner, they give us ample opportunity to demonstrate that our home is the right place to begin charity by being generous.
The Christmas season is a good time to start thinking about helping other people by indulging in small deeds like providing food, toys, and clothes. This way you would enable the needy families to also experience the joy of the festive season. After all Christmas is all about giving love, hope, and warmth, and is a good time to share our good fortune with those in need.
Some more things you can give away this festive season as charity that cost you nothing -
“Christmas gift suggestions:
To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.” ~ Oren Arnold
Charity does start from home and once you accept this fact, you can look for opportunities in and around your house, without having to wait to join a charitable cause or project to start giving.
Think how much fun your children would have if they were told why charity should begin at home, by making them a part of such action. You don’t have to be a philanthropist to make a difference, and besides money, there are other ways families, children, and parents can give.
Like you can contribute-
- Your talent and creativity by producing or giving blankets and quilts for those in need.
- Your time by teaching the less fortunate kids near your area.
- Your old clothes or new ones that you no longer wear, or those that are worn-out.
- Your books that are not in use any longer or the ones you have already read and outgrown.
- By giving food to the needy- anything you no longer consume or feel it’s in excess.
- By recycling your possessions and giving it to the needy so that they may use it.
- By becoming a big brother or sister and demonstrating the art of giving.
- By walking the dogs or stray animals to a nearby shelter or feeding them.
- By donating a service or product.
- By assembling a hamper of goodies for a sponsored or less privileged family or less fortunate child.
- By choosing a brand new toy to donate or giving away a used toy that your children no longer need or use.
- By giving away an old bicycle or electronic appliances, or anything your kids have outgrown and not using any longer.
By giving such charity you demonstrate to children that they can have fun as a family, and also help others in the process.
Should charity begin at home is also something that I asked my parents when I was a child, and they turned out to be role models for me by showing me that giving can be so much fun, and as rewarding as receiving.
They taught me to contribute to the world from my heart and not just the pocket, and by beginning in my own backyard. They also instilled in me that charity begins with ‘me’ first.
I clearly remember an incident that moved me when I was a child. We as a family were passing by in our car and had stopped at the crossings, where we saw an old beggar lying on the street shivering in the cold.
Just as most of us usually do, we passed-by trying to neglect the fact that we saw the poor man shiver in the biting cold, while we sat warmed up with woolens in our car and drove off to a little distance.
It was my mother, one of the most generous and kind hearted persons I have ever seen, who stopped the vehicle, got out of the car, walked up to the man, and just threw across her warm cloak onto him, so easily and selflessly.
That was my first lesson learnt and to date I remember it so well. However, I still have to follow in her footsteps and do as she did, though I try my best to help the needy as much and whenever possible. It is something I am trying to instill into my kids as well. Similarly, we need to change ourselves and the people around us first, before taking on the rest of the world.
“We cannot do great things on this Earth, only small things with great love.” ~ Mother Teresa
There is so much you can give and only so many resources you can share. I strongly feel that there is literally someone you can help in every street, anytime, and every time- provided you want to.
So, rediscover the joy of giving and make your holiday and every day special by remembering that charity begins at home!
Do you feel that charity begins at home? How do you instill the value of giving into your children and your family?
Photo Credit: Stuart Miles