Charity begins at home, and usually stays there. Elbert Hubbard
Strictly speaking we must ensure that what we preach is practiced first in our own immediate set up be it our house, society, workplace or social circle. In this context it is obvious that we must make a start by identifying those areas which need out immediate attention and plan out a course of action to bring about the changes that we envisage and implement those plans. Unfortunately we are often tempted to make suggestions and forcefully impose our ideas, plans and beliefs on others where as when we attempt it in own backyards we end up facing stiff opposition.
Let us assume that we passionately believe that we need to go green and so we participate in go green rallies, marches and similar events creating awareness and hopefully getting converts to our cause. However most times when we attempt to implement the same in our immediate family and social circle we meet with stiff resistance for the then the reality is quite different. It would mean things like carry a cloth bag, not getting any plastic bags for any purchases, using products made of natural fiber which have a very short life as compared to a plastic alternative etc.
On the rare times that we are able to get going on a plan that we believe is best for all we attempt it with great gusto. If all are taken into confidence and the plans executed meticulously the immediate success will spur and motivate all those involved and perhaps also influence the onlookers too. While we will be elated by our success it is possible that fatigue sets in and then we lose our zeal and enthusiasm and so we make a pedestrian effort at translating our good intent into concrete action in a larger sphere. The bane of many a good welfare project is that once we taste success at home we are quite content to sit on the laurels and reap the harvest rather than go and sow the seeds of the same all over.
Consider a situation where we are part of a group that is seriously concerned about the quality of water being received and the acute shortage of potable water. We will align with liked minded forces to pursue our common interests. Assume that by a quirk of fate you have been given access to all that you sought and so logically one must support the cause of the rest who are still battling the system. The normal tendency is to rationalize that since your demands are met, it is pointless wasting time, money and energy on supporting the rest. It is this kind of myopic viewpoint that is at the root of labored progress and lopsided growth.
While charity must begin at home, that is not where it must rest; help yourself too but we are duty bound and morally obliged to extend charity well beyond the confines of our own limited homes!
Remember: “Charity sees the need, not the cause” German Proverb
- Identify 2-4 causes very dear to you. How will you first implement it in your own house? Make a plan to ensure that you can later replicate it in your immediate neighborhood.
- Make a list of 4-6 personal traits that are often criticized by your family and friends eg. Using foul language when excited/ Making your feeling of disgust apparent when you meet people whom you dislike etc. Can you make a conscious effort to tone down these traits at home? Will you also make the realization and be on better behavior when in public?
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