25 Famous Quotes on Family

What is family? Find out what these 25 great minds had to say about it...

Family Ties That Keep You Strong
Family Ties That Keep You Strong. Credit: Morsa Images/Getty Images

Your grandpa falls asleep at the Thanksgiving dinner table. Your grandma knits you unspeakably ugly sweaters and matching mittens. Your father sings country music loudly and off-key in the shower and your mom's become so obsessed with Jane Austen novels that she's begun referring to your father as Mr. Darcy. Meanwhile, your brother's discarded dirty socks are beginning to resemble a science experiment, but your sister's high school chemistry experiment may win actually win her a Nobel Prize someday.


How We Define Family and How Family Defines Us

With so many unique personalities that make up a family, sometimes it's tough to find common ground, and yet, our families are the most defining of all human relationships. The influence of family is a vital facet that touches nearly every aspect of our lives.

Those of us who grew up in the comfort and safety of a loving and secure home often try to recreate it as adults. Those of us who grew up in broken homes attempt to make up for the past by reinventing the concept of family for a more fulfilling future.

Not surprisingly, the theme of family is a recurring one that great minds have speculated on and remarked about for as long as there has been language to record human thought. Read on to find out what some famous folks had to say on the subject of family.

Famous Quotes on Family

“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

“All happy families resemble one another; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”—Leo Tolstoy

“A brother is a friend provided by nature.”—Legouve Pere

“In family life, love is the oil that eases friction, the cement that binds closer together, and the music that brings harmony.”—Eva Burrows

“Your family and your love must be cultivated like a garden. Time, effort, and imagination must be summoned constantly to keep any relationship flourishing and growing.”—Jim Rohn

“Mom always said people worried too much about their children. Suffering when you're young is good for you, she said. It immunized your body and your soul, and that was why she ignored us kids when we cried. Fussing over children who cry only encouraged them, she told us. That's positive reinforcement for negative behavior.”―Jeannette Walls, “The Glass Castle

“Family is just accident. They don't mean to get on your nerves. They don’t even mean to be your family, they just are.”—Marsha Norman

“The only rock I know that stays steady, the only institution I know that works is the family.”—Lee Iacocca

“I have frequently been questioned, especially by women, of how I could reconcile family life with a scientific career. Well, it has not been easy.”
Marie Curie

“Home is the place, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.”
Robert Frost

“I know why families were created with all their imperfections. They humanize you. They are made to make you forget yourself occasionally, so that the beautiful balance of life is not destroyed.”—Anais Nin

“The family is one of nature's masterpieces.”—George Santayana

“My family pride is something inconceivable. I can't help it. I was born sneering.”—William S. Gilbert

“The happiest moments of my life have been the few which I have passed at home in the bosom of my family.”—Thomas Jefferson

“Families are the compass that guides us. They are the inspiration to reach great heights, and our comfort when we occasionally falter.”—Brad Henry

“I pray for a more friendly, more caring, and more understanding human family on this planet. To all who dislike suffering, who cherish lasting happiness, this is my heartfelt appeal.”—Dalai Lama

“Adam was the luckiest man; he had no mother-in-law.—Mark Twain

“A family is a place where minds come in contact with one another.”—Buddha

“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family: Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.”—Jane Howard

“If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.”—George Bernard Shaw

“A poor relation is the most irrelevant thing in nature, a piece of impertinent correspondence, an odious approximation, a haunting conscience, a preposterous shadow, lengthening in the noon-tide of our prosperity. He is known by his knock.”—Charles Lamb

“A small family is soon provided for.”—English Proverb

“Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.”—George Burns

“All parents damage their children. It cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair.”―Mitch Albom, “The Five People You Meet in Heaven”

“No mother is ever, completely, a child's idea of what a mother should be, and I suppose it works the other way around as well. But despite everything, we didn't do too badly by one another, we did as well as most.”―Margaret Atwood, “The Handmaid's Tale”