The phrase “Charity begins at home” stresses the fact that a man’s foremost and primary concern must be the needs of his own family. It is only when one’s family has been well fed and taken care of, that the idea of social service or charity arises. In other words, there is no point in feeding a hungry person outside, when your own family is hungry. The phrase as it is isn’t mentioned in the bible, but there is a biblical phrase with similar meaning, which says – “A man’s family should be his foremost concern.”

Short and Long Essay on Charity Begins at Home

Essay 1 (300 words)


Charity begins at home is a beautiful expression that emphasizes the need to prioritize the needs of one’s family before anything. Now, this is not to say that one must only think about his family and not do anything for society. Charity is a good thing and we must all indulge in it for the betterment of our society.

However, this proverb implies that our first duty is towards our family. Once we fulfill this duty then we should go out and help others. A person who leaves his family crying and goes out and involves in charitable work cannot be called good.

The Meaning of the Word Charity

It is commonly believed that charity refers to providing financial aid to those in need. However, this is only partially true. The word charity comes from the Latin word, Caritas which means love. So, charity does not necessarily mean providing only alms. It also refers to offering any kind of assistance and giving love and care to those in need. This means that one does not have to be financially rich to do charitable work. Each one of us can help the needy in our own unique way to fill the void in their lives.

For instance, merely visiting children in orphanages or people in the old age homes and spending time with them can bring a smile on their faces. However, someone who ignores his own parents and spends time at the old age home isn’t doing a task worth appreciation. He must first give time to his parents and other family members and then go out and help others.


The proverb, ‘charity begins at home’ gives a very powerful message. It says that we must love our family dearly and keep them on the top of our priority list. We must fulfill all our responsibilities at home and then indulge in charitable tasks. Working for the benefit of the poor and needy is important but it should not be done at the cost of one’s family.


Essay 2 (400 words)


‘Charity begins at home’ means that a person’s foremost responsibility is to serve his family. He should go out and help others only when he has fulfilled his duties at home. The proverb dates back to centuries and thus the teaching it gives is being emphasized for a long time.

The Origin of the Phrase

The saying, ‘Charity begins at home’ was originally mentioned in Sir Thomas Browne’s Religio Medici in the year 1642. “Charity begins at home, is the voice of the world: yet is every man his greatest enemy”, he wrote.

While this was the first time this phrase was mentioned in the exact form we use it today, this notion had been emphasized many times prior to the same. 1 Timothy 5:8, King James Bible published in the year 1611 mentioned, “But if any provide not for his own, & especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse then an infidel”.

This means that a man’s first responsibility is his family. If he indulges in charity ignoring the needs of his family, he cannot be regarded as a good man. John Fletcher and John Wycliffe echoed the same thoughts in their respected works. John Fletcher wrote, “Charity and beating begin at home” in his book, Wit without Money. The book was published in the year 1625.

Charity begins at home: True to Every Word

The saying, ‘charity begins at home’ is true to every word. How can somebody who cannot take care of his family members and is ignorant about their needs understand the needs of people outside? If he cannot cater to the needs of those close to him, those who have been connected with him for years. How can he possibly understand the needs of a stranger and help him? If someone is doing so, it may just be a farce. He may just be doing it to gratify his own ego and fetch attention from those around him.

Even if he is genuinely trying to help others and is ignorant about the needs of his family, he is not really doing a great job.

We must indulge in social work and help the needy. However, we must first fulfill our responsibilities for our family. Lack of it will only create discontentment among individuals and overall unhappy society.


‘Charity begins at home’ is an old saying that holds relevance even in the current times. We must follow the point being emphasized by way of this saying.


Essay 3 (500 words)


It is truly said that ‘charity begins at home’. Somebody who cannot love his family and is not sensitive to their needs is only faking helping people outside. Charity does and should always begin at home. The proverb is a lesson for each one of us. We must first love our family wholeheartedly and care for them and then shower love and help to that outside.

Charity Begins at Home: Another Interpretation

While it is largely believed that ‘charity begins at home’ means that our family comes first and that we should help them before helping the strangers in need however some people debate that the meaning of this phrase is misconstrued. As per them, it means that kids learn charity at home. If the parents are loving and giving and work for social causes their kids shall also learn the same from them and make efforts to improve society.

This does make sense. A strong message is being sent out to people by way of this phrase. After all, children follow the footsteps of their parents. If they see good happening around them they will indulge in the same. If they see their parents helping the poor and needy, they shall also inculcate the same habit and pass it on to the next generation. It will help build a better society.

The Two Interpretations are Inter-Linked

However, the above-mentioned interpretation may not be complete in itself. It is to be noted that if the parents neglect their children, ignore their needs and devote all their time to helping others, will the children still love the concept of helping others? No! They would rather hate it more than anything and keep away from it.

So, in a way, both the interpretations of this phrase are true and interlinked. While we must indulge in charity and if the habit runs in the family, the kids shall inculcate the same however we must first be sensitive towards the needs of our kids and family members and then go out and help others. This is the best way to lead a wholesome life.

We must learn to prioritize and it should be our family that should be on the top of our priority list. Ignoring the needs of those at home and working for the good of the society is as bad as merely looking after our own needs and the needs of our family members and not extending any help to improve the society even as we have abundant means to do the same.


‘Charity begins at home’ sends across a strong message. We must understand its importance and follow it to lead a more satisfying life. We must remember that what we inculcate and practice is what we teach our children. It is thus imperative to imbibe good habits. We must first shower our family with an abundance of love and care and fulfill all their essential needs and then help the poor and needy around us. If God has given us enough, then we must thank him by sharing our blessings with those in need. Children shall learn the same from their parents and the world will become a better place to live.


Essay 4 (600 words)


Charity begins at home is a social message. It emphasizes the need to love our family and work for their betterment before we venture to improve society. It implies that a person who is insensitive to the needs of his family members and is involved in social causes cannot be called all that great. He can never be content and happy in life.

Our Parents are Our First Teachers

It is rightly said that our parents are our first teachers. We learn a lot from them. Children observe their parents and begin to inculcate their habits subconsciously. After a certain period of time, most of them begin to behave and react in a similar manner as their parents. It thus becomes the duty of the parents to behave responsibly. ‘Charity begins at home’ has two interpretations. One of these is that if the parents are involved in charity, the kids shall learn and inculcate this habit too.

As explained above, children imbibe the gestures and mannerisms of their parents knowingly or unknowingly and begin to behave in a similar way. The phrase, charity begins at home’ implies the same. However, here the writer is specifically talking about indulging in charitable acts. If the parents and grandparents are involved in charitable tasks, the children will carry forward the legacy.

However, people must first ensure that their close relations are intact and that they have fulfilled all their responsibilities at home. Only when they have ensured this should they go ahead and indulge in charitable tasks.

Fables Related to ‘Charity Begins at Home’

There are many moral stories that explain this phrase. One such story with a deep moral lesson is as follows:

Once upon a time, a king decided to visit distant areas of his kingdom to see how the people of his kingdom were doing. He spent hours walking on foot to meet people and understand their needs. As he came back to his palace, he was extremely tired and his feet hurt badly as he had to walk on stony paths which he wasn’t used to. Since he wanted to visit the place regularly to connect better with his people and serve them, he ordered his men to cover the entire land with leather so that he wouldn’t have to face similar pain again.

Now, this meant slaughtering thousands of animals in order to get leather from their skin. Though the idea did not seem great, his servants nodded in affirmation just when one of them gathered the courage to give him an alternate idea. He said that instead of slaughtering so many animals to cover the entire land, why doesn’t he just get his feet covered by leather to avoid them from hurting. The king liked the idea and went for it.

Thereafter, he went to distant areas within his kingdom and worked upon improving his kingdom and the life of the people living there. This was only possible with a pair of shoes. Without them, he would not have been able to visit these areas so often and would not have been able to connect well with his people and work for their betterment.

The story gives a meaningful message. In order to help others, we must first help ourselves. The phrase, ‘charity begins at home’ suggests the same. We should first help ourselves and those close to us only then we shall be able to do good to the society.


The phrase, ‘charity begins at home’ is a lesson that each one of us must imbibe. It stresses the fact that in order to help others and make this society a better place to live we must first work upon ourselves and cater to the needs of our close ones. However, it should not end there. Once these basic responsibilities are fulfilled, we must go out and help those in need.

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