When you look at your life, the greatest
happinesses are family happinesses.

Joyce Brothers


The family is a good institution because it is uncongenial.  The men and women who, for good reason and bad, revolt against the family, are, for good reason and bad, revolting against humankind.  Aunt Elizabeth is unreasonable, like humankind.  Papa is excitable, like humankind.  Our younger brother is mischievous, like humankind.  Grandpapa is stupid, like the world; he is old, like the world.

G.K. Chesterton


The particular human chain we're part of is central to our individual identity.  Even if we loathe our families, in order to know ourselves,  we seem to need to know about them, just as prologue.  Not to know is to live with some of the disorientation and anxiety of the amnesiac.

Elizabeth Stone


Just as the life that pulses in our bodies goes back to the beginnings of the Earth, so too does that heartbeat carry the pulse of those that come after.  By the power of our imagination we can sense the future generations breathing with the rhythm of our own breath or feel them hovering like a cloud of witnesses.  Sometimes I fancy that if I were to turn my head suddenly, I would glimpse them over my shoulder.  They and their claim to life have become that real to me.

Joanna Macy


Happy marriages begin when we marry the ones we love, and they blossom when we love the ones we marry.

Tom Mullen


All happy families are like one another;
each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

Leo Tolstoy


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I truly envy those people who have grown up in strong families in which they've received encouragement and help since day one.  These people aren't necessarily those who change the world or fight and claw their way to the top of things, but they're the people who go about life with a quiet satisfaction, who look at success and failure both as normal parts of life, who know always that there is someone there to help them, no matter how bad any situation may get.  These are the people who make good friends, for they're used to being treated like people, not like kids, and they're used to a life that's full of realistic expectations.

Family life must include discipline, but too often discipline turns into a reflection of the authority figure's own insecurities.  An insecure person disciplines far too much or not at all, and both are disastrous for children.

Family life must include love, unconditional love, but that love must be tempered with realistic expectations of children and of spouses, and when someone isn't living up to those expectations, that someone must be held accountable for his or her actions.

Family life must include security, but risk-taking must also be modeled.  Life without risk is no life at all--it's stagnant and boring, and nothing new is invited in ever, so no one learns more about life and other people.

In his novel Island, Aldous Huxley explores the concept of community as family, and explores a culture in which everyone sees everyone else as family--if a child isn't getting along with his or her parents at the moment, he or she goes to live with someone else for a few days.  The parents don't see this as a threat to their love or authority--they see it as a natural cooling-down period, a time for reflection and for taking a break from each other.

So many family problems come about because we're insecure--we're afraid someone won't love us any more, we're afraid they won't respect us, we're afraid we'll lose our security.  The people I know from strong families never fear any of these things--they know that love is strong and that the ties that bind are healthy and loving and secure, and they're able to give much more to others and to themselves because they know that they're supported.

I guess the problem is this:  What if our families aren't like this?

The answer is simple--look for family members.  Not all of our brothers were born into our biological family.  I have more sisters than my biological ones--they're people whom i love dearly, and who will always be there for me.  I've met other parents, and my second mother is as dear to me as my biological mother, though the tie that I have with my biological mother will never be matched.  Find the people who accept you for who you are, and who love you for being that person.  Look for sisters or brothers, not lovers, and your world will be transformed into a lovely, secure place in which even the disasters that are bound to happen won't destroy you or those you love, for you're part of a huge family that one day will recognize itself as such--the human race.

tom walsh

People I deal with in the media are often surprised that I'll put
family needs before some potentially grand media success.  I
could be away from home every day of the year if that kind of
success and excitement were my first priority, but it's terribly
important to me to protect those things that are most intimate.
Ultimately, my family gives me more pleasure than whatever
outside opportunity looks alluring at the moment.

Thomas Moore

We inherit from our ancestors gifts so often taken for granted--our names,
the color of our eyes and the texture of our hair, the unfolding of varied
abilities and interests in different subjects. . . . Each of us contains within
our fragile vessels of skin and bones and cells this inheritance of soul.  We
are links between the ages, containing past and present expectations,
sacred memories and future promise.  Only when we recognize
that we are heirs can we truly be pioneers.

Edward C. Sellner


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Family life!  The United Nations is child's play compared to the tugs
and splits and need to understand and forgive in any family.

May Sarton


Families will not be broken.  Curse and expel them, send their
children wandering, drown them in floods and fires, and old
women will make songs out of all these sorrows and sit in
the porches and sing them on mild evenings.

Marilynne Robinson



The family.  We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life
sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another's desserts, hiding shampoo,
borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing
to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure
out the common thread that bound us all together.

Erma Bombeck


You don't choose your family.  They are God's gift to you, as you are to them.

Desmond Tutu

Family faces are magic mirrors.  Looking at people who belong to us, we see the past, present, and future.

Gail Lumet Buckley

Other things may change us,
but we start and end with the family.

Anthony Brandt

At the end of the day, a loving family should find everything forgivable.

Mark V. Olsen and Will Sheffer

The only rock I know that stays steady, the only institution I know that works is the family.

Lee Iacocca


If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will
see your parents and all generations of your ancestors.
All of them are alive in this moment.  Each is present in
your body.  You are the continuation of each of these people.

Thich Nhat Hanh


No matter what you've done for yourself or for humanity,
if you can't look back on having given love and attention to
your own family, what have you really accomplished?

Elbert Hubbard


To each other, we were as normal and nice as the smell of bread,
we were just a family.  In a family, even exaggerations make perfect sense.

John Irving


No matter how many communes anybody
invents, the family always creeps back.

Margaret Mead


The greatest thing in family life is to take a hint when a hint is intended--
and not to take a hint when a hint isn't intended.

Robert Frost


A person is entitled to a stable community life,
and the first of these communities is the family.

Desmond Tutu



Daily Meditations, Year One
One full year's worth of our daily meditations.  366 entries on tons of topics that we really do need to ponder if we're going to live our lives fully.  We promise no answers to anything, but we do promise food for thought that just may help you to reach the answers that are best for you, personally, in your own life.  The other people on this planet have spent their lives learning and growing, and many of them have shared those lessons with us--and this book is an effort to learn from those lessons so that we can incorporate them into our own lives.  You can have the entire first year's worth of daily meditations for just $2.99 on your Kindle.  (Print edition available here.)