I have heard the expression "Charity begins at home" in two different contexts, and have often wondered which is the "correct" and/or original meaning:
(1) "Charity" referring to money or material things, and "home" referring broadly to your own self or situation. For instance, a person without much money might buy a treat for himself/herself (or even a necessity) instead of giving money to a charity or a poorer person, saying something like "Charity begins at home! You've got to care of your own needs before you take care of other people!"
(2) "Charity" in the sense of kindness, concern, or responsibility, and "home" being those around you. A person who is out "saving the world" and neglects his/her own family might be told "Charity begins at home!"
(Inspired in part by the Starbucks thread and my comments about a company that cares about the Amazon rainforest but seems to neglect its rank-and-file employees.)
It seems like the second meaning is the standard one. Although I think that in either sense the word "charity" can refer to money or material things. It's just a question of whether or not the money is being spent on oneself or on one's immediate family/community.
-------------------- "Your name is Thurmon Mermon?" Posts: 244 | From: Chicago, IL | Registered: Aug 2005
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