Charity Begins at Home

The phrase “charity begins at home” is attributed to English author and polymath, Sir Thomas Browne in his 1642 publication “Religio Medici.” The exact origin of the phrase is still debated. 

Since it is November and Thanksgiving is upon us, you can feel and see the hope of giving and caring for others. My wife and daughter went shopping with me and a group of volunteers to buy Christmas presents for needy children. You could see the joy in the faces of the shoppers and the emphasis they placed on each gift. One child, who wanted anything angel-like, particularly touched my daughter.

I tried years ago to instruct my children the importance of giving and charity for others. My parents taught me that it was better to give than receive. I love to give and see the look on someone’s face when they receive a gift, especially those who deeply appreciate the act of giving.

Charity is giving resources without expecting anything in return. People who donate to charity believe helping people is the right thing to do. David H. Lawson Foundation shared five reasons to give to charity, such as helping others, feeling good, becoming informed, fueling passion, and reaping social, physical, mental and spiritual benefits. Charity brings attention to the most serious issues in society. God loves a cheerful giver and giving to charity makes you happy. Research shows that spending money on others puts a bigger smile on your face than buying things for yourself.

Giving provides personal benefits. These include financial benefits, such as tax benefits; teaching children the importance of giving; promoting a spirit of giving; experiencing life-long benefits through volunteerism; and the opportunity to show gratitude. Support for charities allows families to create their story of fulfillment through the act of providing time, talent and treasure to nonprofits.

Reasons people give to charity are they care, they want to help, ego, their workplace supports it, faith-based reasons, their eyes were opened, personal experience, celebrity influence, family tradition, making up for failures, someone invited them to an event, principle of momentum, taxes, legacy and because someone asked them! 

Research states that Americans give to charity because they trust the organizations they support and believe their gifts will be put to effective use. Fundraising is hard because there are so many reasons for people to give and to seek the right avenue of appeal. To succeed, you need to have the right mission, right passion and a cause that relates to your donors.

This Thanksgiving, consider taking a moment and give thanks for being alive and for family and friends. Think about others in less fortunate circumstances and consider providing charity to them. Volunteer now for an organization that provides services for others. Have empathy and caring, and always instruct your children it is better to give than receive.

In today’s world, we need greater joy, compassion, empathy and daily examples of service for others. Continually teach your family to use their time, talent and treasure in ways that can make a difference, not for personal gain, but to make this world a better place. Charity begins at home, but it only starts there.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

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