Finding Beauty: Charity Begins at Home

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The statement, “charity begins at home,” is something I have heard people say most of my life and frankly, it used to annoy me. It seems to be an easy, automatic response to say, especially if someone asks for your help and you don’t really want to give it. The response is usually taken as, “You should look after your own kids, family and circle first before reaching out to others.” It always used to upset me that people could be so unsympathetic to others in need of some help. Well, that is one way to look at it, but perhaps that’s not really what that proverb means at all.

Charity begins at home. I realize now that statement also has a much stronger, more positive meaning. Teaching your family to always be prepared to give an outstretched hand to someone in need should be taught by the parents in the home. Getting involved and taking pride in our community and our world is not even an option if you ask me. It’s a necessity and as adults, we need to be leaders in our own homes, especially when it comes to our children. The most beneficial way to raise kind, thoughtful, caring children is to teach by example.

I was fortunate to grow up in a home raised by two parents who never thought twice about helping others. I don’t believe it was a lesson they set out to purposely teach me or my sister, it was just their way of life as they knew it, which made an even bigger impact on our lives as we got older.

I remember this one Thanksgiving when I was 12. My mom had cooked for three days to make the family a wonderful dinner with enough leftovers to last a month. The day before Thanksgiving, an elderly neighbor lady down the road lost her life in a house fire. My mom continued to cook. Thanksgiving Day, my parents packed up every bit of food and we took it to the home of the devastated family. We ate bologna sandwiches that Thanksgiving. It was never really discussed, just an understanding that it was the right thing to do.

Remember the words to the Faith Hill song, “Where are you Christmas?” The part where she sings, “If there is love in your heart and your mind, you will feel like Christmas all the time.” Do you think the song is perhaps referring to helping others? Volunteering? Community service? I want to feel like Christmas all the time. Let’s face it – the season ends, but the needs continue.

My husband and I raised our family to be involved in our community from the very start. Like my parents, we didn’t set out one day to teach a life lesson, it was just the way we were raised. Community service can be anything you might like to do to be involved in helping others. For our family, we all became volunteers at the local Little Theatre (pictured below).

To us, it was a way to meet new people, learn all kinds of new skills, and not only work together as a family, but work together with a great number of people from all walks of life. By working as part of a team, we could observe everyone working in different aspects of theatre with one common goal – to bring a show together for our community. The members of the NSB Little Theatre quickly became family to us. They were the village that helped raise our kids.

There is so much need for volunteers in our community. If you like working with artists, The Hub on Canal is a great place to go. The schools need volunteers to give extra attention to students falling behind, or maybe just someone to read them a book. We have lots of programs involving the American Cancer Society, Habitat for Humanity, Alzheimer’s Association, and the list goes on.

Benefits of volunteering are never-ending. You can learn new skills, or you can teach your skills to others. Volunteering gives you a reason to get out of bed in the morning or to stay more active in general. If you are younger and just starting out in the working world, volunteering will take up some space on your resume. It may help you land a job down the road, introduce you to in uential people, or may even help you to find what you enjoy enough to expand into a career.

Since we are now living in a world where our cell phones are glued to our ears or our texting ngers and taking 100 percent of our attention most of the time, volunteering can help with forcing you and your family members to put down your phone and make new friends, improve your social skills, and help you grow as a person.

Volunteering can be very therapeutic and good for your soul. It puts your life in perspective and takes you out of your own little “life bubble.” It can teach you what really matters in life. Sometimes when my life feels crazy and I can’t seem to get a grip, I audition for a show, where I can play the role of “not me” for a few hours a night. It feels like I am taking a much-needed vacation away from myself and doing a good thing for the community at the same time.

February is a great month to continue to share the love that is in your heart and your mind. Valentine’s Day is no longer thought of as a day to express your love to just one special person. It’s a time to let others, even strangers, know that someone cares.

Karin Jenkins is a Licensed Esthetician, Makeup Artist, and the author of the book, “Pageant Land and the Family Who Lived There.”

She has been involved in all aspects of the beauty industry and in show business for over 30 years.

Karin is the mother of two and the grandmother of two.

She and her husband David co-own the local family business – Applause Salon in New Smyrna Beach – (386) 426-5454.

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