Quotes for
the Journey:

Family


  
It's easier to build a child up
well than it is to fix an adult.

Unattributed

   
We don't have choices about who our parents are and how they treated us, but we have a choice about whether we forgive our parents and heal ourselves.      -Bernie Siegel
   
Parents belong to the world of the past; children belong to the world of the future.  Both share the world of the present, but neither can enter or fully understand the other's world and time.  It is easier to communicate across miles than across years.  We meet and laugh awhile; we separate and grieve awhile.  And then we remember.      -Joseph A. Bauer
   

Science has established two facts meaningful for human welfare:  first, the foundation of the structure of human personality is laid down in early childhood; and second, the chief engineer in charge of this construction is the family.       -Meyer Francis Nimkoff

   

Every generation revolts against its parents and makes friends with its grandparents.       -Lewis Mumford

   

Who of us is mature enough for offspring before the offspring themselves arrive? The value of marriage is not that adults produce children, but that children produce adults.        -Peter De Vries

    

Parents have become so convinced that educators know what is best for their children that they forget that they themselves are really the experts.        -Marian Wright Edelman

  
Family life is full of major and minor crises--the ups and downs of health, success and failure in career, marriage, and divorce--and all kinds of characters.  It is tied to places and events and histories. With all of these felt details, life etches itself into memory and personality. It's difficult to imagine anything more nourishing to the soul.       -Thomas Moore
   

What families have in common the world around is that they are the place where people learn who they are and how to be that way.       -Jean Illsley Clarke

     

American families have always shown remarkable resiliency, or flexible adjustment to natural, economic, and social challenges.  Their strengths resemble the elasticity of a spider web, a gull's skillful flow with the wind, the regenerating power of perennial grasses, the cooperation of an ant colony, and the persistence of a stream carving canyon rocks.  These are not the strengths of fixed monuments but living organisms.  This resilience is not measured by wealth, muscle or efficiency but by creativity, unity, and hope.  Cultivating these family strengths is critical to a thriving human community.       -Ben Silliman

   

Lord, this humble house we'd keep
Sweet with play and calm with sleep.
Help us so that we may give
Beauty to the lives we live.
Let Thy love and let Thy grace
Shine upon our dwelling place.

Edgar A. Guest

    
A roof to keep out the rain.  Four walls to keep out the wind.  Floors to keep out the cold.  Yes, but home is more than that. It is the laugh of a baby, the song of a mother, the strength of a father.  Warmth of loving hearts, light from happy eyes, kindness, loyalty, comradeship.  Home is first school and first church for the young ones, where they learn what is right, what is good, and what is kind.  Where they go for comfort when they are hurt or sick.  Where joy is shared and sorrow eased.  Where fathers and mothers are respected and loved.  Where children are wanted.  Where the simplest food is good enough for kings because it is earned.  Where money is not so important as loving-kindness. Where even the teakettle sings from happiness.  That is home.  God bless it.       -Ernestine Schuman-Heink
   

I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it.       -Harry S. Truman

    

Your success as family, our success as a society, depends not on what happens in the White House, but on what happens inside your house.       -Barbara Bush

    

Let parents bequeath to their children not riches, but the spirit of reverence.      -Plato

   

It seems to me that since I've had children, I've grown richer and deeper.  They may have slowed down my writing for a while, but when I did write, I had more of a self to speak from.       -Anne Tyler

   
To nourish children and raise them against odds is in any time, any place, more valuable than to fix bolts in cars or design nuclear weapons.       -Marilyn French
    

Perhaps the greatest social service that can be rendered by anybody to this country and to mankind is to bring up a family.        -George Bernard Shaw

    

The family is one of nature's masterpieces.        -George Santayana

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

   
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
   
All happy families are like one another; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.       -Lev Tolstoy
   
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
   
Happy marriages begin when we marry the ones we love, and they blossom when we love the ones we marry.       - Tom Mullen
   
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
   
   
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
   
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
   
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
    
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
   
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
   
The only rock I know that stays steady, the only institution I know that works is the family.       -Lee Iacocca
   
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

  

    

There is one practice which any family can maintain and that is the practice of a time of worship at each family meal.  Nearly all families are together for at least one meal a day and, in any case, should sacrifice much else to make this possible.  The table is really the family altar! Here those of all ages come together and help to sustain both their physical and their spiritual existence.  If a sacrament is "an actual conveyance of spiritual meaning and power by a material process," then a family meal can be a sacrament.  It entwines the material and the spiritual in a remarkable way.  The food, in and of itself, is purely physical, but it represents human service in its use.  Here, at one common table, is the father who has earned, the mother who has prepared
or planned, and the children who share, according to need, whatever their antecedent participation may have been.

When we realize how deeply a meal together can be a spiritual and regenerating experience, we can understand something of why our Lord, when he broke bread with his little company toward the end of their earthly fellowship, told them, as often as they did it, to remember him.  We, too, seek to be members of his sacred fellowship, and irrespective of what we do about the Eucharist, there is no reason why each family meal should not take on something of the character of a time of memory and hope.

-Elton Trueblood

  
A person is entitled to a stable community life, and the first of these communities is the family.     -Desmond Tutu, Believe
  
No matter how many communes anybody invents, the family always creeps back.     -Margaret Mead
  
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
   

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