An aphorism is nothing else but the slightest
form of writing raised to the highest level of expressive communication. Carl William Brown





Certain is it that there is no kind of affection so purely angelic as of a father to a daughter. In love to our wives there is desire, to our sons, ambition.  But, to our daughters, there is something which there are no words to express.


Joseph Addison (1672-1719, British essayist, poet, statesman)


A friend who is near and dear may in time become as useless as a relative.


George Ade (1866-1944, American humorist, playwright)


The family is the school of duties... founded on love.


Felix Adler (1851-1933, American educator, social critic)


A farmer who had a quarrelsome family called his sons and told them to lay a bunch of sticks before him. Then, after laying the sticks parallel to one another and binding them, he challenged his sons, one after one, to pick up the bundle and break it. They all tried, but in vain. Then, untying the bundle, he gave them the sticks to break one by one. This they did with the greatest ease. Then said the father, "Thus, my sons, as long as you remain united, you are a match for anything, but differ and separate, and you are undone."


Aesop (620-560 BC, Greek fabulist)


Our notion of the perfect society embraces the family as its center and ornament, and this paradise is not secure until children appear to animate and complete the picture.


Amos Bronson Alcott (1799-1888, American educator, social reformer)


Love, by reason of its passion, destroys the in-between which relates us to and separates us from others. As long as its spell lasts, the only in-between which can insert itself between two lovers is the child, love's own product. The child, this in-between to which the lovers now are related and which they hold in common, is representative of the world in that it also separates them; it is an indication that they will insert a new world into the existing world. Through the child, it is as though the lovers return to the world from which their love had expelled them. But this new worldliness, the possible result and the only possibly happy ending of a love affair, is, in a sense, the end of love, which must either overcome the partners anew or be transformed into another mode of belonging together.


Hannah Arendt (1906-1975, German-born American political philosopher)


Cruel is the strife of brothers.


Aristotle (BC 384-322, Greek philosopher)


Rarely do members of the same family grow up under the same roof.


Richard Bach (1936-, American author)


He that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune; for they are impediments to great enterprises, either of virtue or mischief.


Francis Bacon (1561-1626, British philosopher, essayist, statesman)


You leave home to seek your fortune and, when you get it, you go home and share it with your family.


Anita Baker (1958-, American singer, entertainer)


The babe at first feeds upon the mother's bosom, but it is always on her heart.


Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887, American preacher, orator, writer)


There is no friendship, no love, like that of the parent for the child.


Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887, American preacher, orator, writer)


Family jokes, though rightly cursed by strangers, are the bond that keeps most families alive.


Stella Benson (1892-1933, British actor)


You hear a lot of dialogue on the death of the American family. Families aren't dying. They're merging into big conglomerates.


Erma Bombeck (1927-, American author, humorist)

Author's website:


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


Anthony Brandt (American composer, editor)


A family is a place where minds come in contact with one another.


Buddha (568-488 BC, Indian born, founder of Buddhism)


Never did I think that I became family entertainment.


Jimmy Buffet (1946-, American songwriter, singer)


Never did I think that I became family entertainment.


Jimmy Buffet (1946-, American songwriter, singer)


Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.


George Burns (1896-1996, American comedy actor)


There are only two families in the world, the haves and the have-nots.


Miguel De Cervantes (1547-1616, Spanish novelist, dramatist, poet)


The family is the test of freedom; because the family is the only thing that the free man makes for himself and by himself.


Gilbert K. Chesterton (1874-1936, British author)


The family is the most basic unit of government. As the first community to which a person is attached and the first authority under which a person learns to live, the family establishes society's most basic values.


Charles Caleb Colton (1780-1832, British sportsman writer)


The parents age must be remembered, both for joy and anxiety.


Confucius (BC 551-479, Chinese ethical teacher, philosopher)


The parents age must be remembered, both for joy and anxiety.


Confucius (BC 551-479, Chinese ethical teacher, philosopher)


The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.


Confucius (BC 551-479, Chinese ethical teacher, philosopher)


Parents: persons who spend half their time worrying how a child will turn out, and the rest of the time wondering when a child will turn in.


Ted Cook


If Mr. Vincent Price were to be co-starred with Miss Bette Davis in a story by Mr. Edgar Allan Poe directed by Mr. Roger Corman, it could not fully express the pent-up violence and depravity of a single day in the life of the average family.


Quentin Crisp (1908-1999, British author)


Accidents will occur in the best-regulated families; and in families not regulated by that pervading influence which sanctifies while it enhances... in short, by the influence of woman, in the lofty character of wife, they may be expected with confidence, and must be borne with philosophy.


Charles Dickens (1812-1870, British novelist)


The family is the nucleus of civilization.


William J. Durant (1885-1981, American historian, essayist)


He that raises a large family does, indeed, while he lives to observe them, stand a broader mark for sorrow; but then he stands a broader mark for pleasure too.


Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790, American scientist, publisher, diplomat)


Family quarrels are bitter things. They don't go according to any rules. They're not like aches or wounds; they're more like splits in the skin that won't heal because there's not enough material.


F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940, American writer)

Author's website:


The awe and dread with which the untutored savage contemplates his mother-in-law are amongst the most familiar facts of anthropology.


James G. Frazer (1854-1941, Scottish classicist, anthropologist)


What a man sows, that shall he and his relations reap.


Clarissa Graves


The only perfect love to be found on earth is not sexual love, which is riddled with hostility and insecurity, but the wordless commitment of families, which takes as its model mother-love. This is not to say that fathers have no place, for father-love, with its driving for self-improvement and discipline, is also essential to survival, but that uncorrected father-love, father-love as it were practiced by both parents, is a way to annihilation.


Germaine Greer (1939-, Australian feminist writer)


Where can a person be better than in the bosom of their family.


Marmontel Gretry


Families are about love overcoming emotional torture.


Matt Groening (1954-, American writer, cartoonist, animator, producer, screenwriter)


Nor need we power or splendor, wide hall or lordly dome; the good, the true, the tender -- these form the wealth of home.


Sarah J. Hale (1788-1879, American author)


Roots is not just a saga of my family. It is the symbolic saga of a people.


Alex Haley (1921-1992, American writer)


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


The striking point about our model family is not simply the compete-compete, consume-consume style of life it urges us to follow. The striking point, in the face of all the propaganda, is how few Americans actually live this way.


Louise Kapp Howe (1934-, American author, editor)


I learned about the strength you can get from a close family life. I learned to keep going, even in bad times. I learned not to despair, even when my world was falling apart. I learned that there are no free lunches. And I learned the value of hard work.


Lee Iacocca (1924-, American businessman, former CEO of Chrysler)


Growing up human is uniquely a matter of social relations rather than biology. What we learn from connections within the family takes the place of instincts that program the behavior of animals; which raises the question, how good are these connections?


Elizabeth Janeway (1913-2001, American author, critic)


The happiest moments of my life have been the few which I have passed at home in the bosom of my family.


Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826, American President (3rd))


As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.


John Paul II (1920, Polish-born Italian pope)


The most socially subversive institution of our time is the one-parent family.


Paul Johnson (1928-, British journalist)


Parents and children seldom act in concert: each child endeavors to appropriate the esteem or fondness of the parents, and the parents, with yet less temptation, betray each other to their children.


Samuel Johnson (1709-1784, British author)


The roaring of the wind is my wife and the stars through the window pane are my children. The mighty abstract idea I have of beauty in all things stifles the more divided and minute domestic happiness.


John Keats (1795-1821, British poet)


The proliferation of support groups suggests to me that too many Americans are growing up in homes that do not contain a grandmother. A home without a grandmother is like an egg without salt and Helpists know it. They have jumped into the void left by the disappearance of morbid old ladies from the bosom of the American family.


Florence E. King (1936-, American author, critic)


When I do something in my family because I really enjoy it, then my duty has become my pleasure. And it is a pleasure for all the people around me.


Dr. Jess Lair (1911-, American professor, counselor)


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 (1775-1834, British essayist, critic)


The family you come from isn't as important as the family you're going to have.


Ring Lardner (1885-1933, American writer)


As to the family, I have never understood how that fits in with the other ideals -- or, indeed, why it should be an ideal at all. A group of closely related persons living under one roof; it is a convenience, often a necessity, sometimes a pleasure, sometimes the reverse; but who first exalted it as admirable, an almost religious ideal?


Rose Macaulay (1881-1958, British novelist, essayist)


With a new familiarity and a flesh-creeping "homeliness" entirely of this unreal, materialistic world, where all "sentiment" is coarsely manufactured and advertised in colossal sickly captions, disguised for the sweet tooth of a monstrous baby called "the Public," the family as it is, broken up on all hands by the agency of feminist and economic propaganda, reconstitutes itself in the image of the state.


Wyndham Lewis (1882-1957, British author, painter)


So much of what is best in us is bound up in our love of family, that it remains the measure of our stability because it measures our sense of loyalty. All other pacts of love or fear derive from it and are modeled upon it.


Haniel Long (1888-1956, American author, poet, journalist)


Women know what men have long forgotten. The ultimate economic and spiritual unit of any civilization is still the family.


Clare Boothe Luce (1903-1987, American diplomat, writer)


By profession, I am a soldier and take pride in that fact. But I am prouder -- infinitely prouder -- to be a father.  A soldier destroys in order to build; the father only builds, never destroys. The one has the potentiality of death; the other embodies creation and life. While the hordes of death are mighty, the battalions of life are mightier still. It is my hope that my son, when I am gone, will remember me not from the battlefield but in the home repeating with him our simple daily prayer, "Our Father Who Art in Heaven."


Douglas Macarthur (1880-1964, American army general during WW II)


I would rather start a family than finish one.


Don Marquis (1878-1937, American humorist, journalist)


The Family is the Country of the heart. There is an angel in the Family who, by the mysterious influence of grace, of sweetness, and of love, renders the fulfillment of duties less wearisome, sorrows less bitter. The only pure joys unmixed with sadness which it is given to man to taste upon earth are, thanks to this angel, the joys of the Family.


Giuseppe Mazzini (1805-1872, Italian patriot, writer)


Sisters are always drying their hair. Locked into rooms, alone, they pose at the mirror, shoulders bare, trying this way and that their hair, or fly importunate down the stair to answer the telephone.


Phyllis McGinley (1905-1978, American poet, author)


Nobody has ever before asked the nuclear family to live all by itself in a box the way we do. With no relatives, no support, we've put it in an impossible situation.


Margaret Mead (1901-1978, American anthropologist)


Every man sees in his relatives, and especially in his cousins, a series of grotesque caricatures of himself.


H. L. Mencken (1880-1956, American editor, author, critic, humorist)


There is little less trouble in governing a private family than a whole kingdom.


Michel Eyquem De Montaigne (1533-1592, French philosopher, essayist)


There is not much less vexation in the government of a private family than in the managing of an entire state.


Michel Eyquem De Montaigne (1533-1592, French philosopher, essayist)


A man ought to live so that everybody knows he is a Christian... and most of all, his family ought to know.


Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899, American evangelist)


Having a family is like having a bowling alley installed in your brain.


Martin Mull


Family life is too intimate to be preserved by the spirit of justice. It can be sustained by a spirit of love which goes beyond justice.


Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971, American theologian, historian)


One of the oddest features of western Christianized culture is its ready acceptance of the myth of the stable family and the happy marriage. We have been taught to accept the myth not as an heroic ideal, something good, brave, and nearly impossible to fulfil, but as the very fiber of normal life. Given most families and most marriages, the belief seems admirable but foolhardily.


Jonathan Raban (1942-, British author, critic)


Families are nothing other than the idolatry of duty.


Ann Oakley (1944-, British sociologist, author)


The family unit plays a critical role in our society and in the training of the generation to come.


Sandra Day O'Connor


A brother is a friend provided by nature.


Legouve Pere


The family spirit has rendered man carnivorous.


Francis Picabia (1878-1953, French painter, poet)


Family is the most important thing in the world.


Princess Diana (1961-1997, British Princess)


In our family, as far as we are concerned, we were born and what happened before that is myth.


V. S. Pritchett (1900-1997, British author, critic)


None but a mule denies his family.


Arabian Proverb (Sayings of Arabian origin)


All people are your relatives, therefore expect only trouble from them.


Chinese Proverb (Sayings of Chinese origin)


Govern a family as you would cook a small fish -- very gently.


Chinese Proverb (Sayings of Chinese origin)


In a broken nest there are few whole eggs.


Chinese Proverb (Sayings of Chinese origin)


Man is the head of the family, woman the neck that turns the head.


Chinese Proverb (Sayings of Chinese origin)


A small family is soon provided for.


English Proverb (Sayings of British origin)


A good son-in-law is like the acquisition of a new son; a bad one is like the loss of your daughter.


Jewish Proverb (Sayings of Jewish origin)


Look for the good, not the evil, in the conduct of members of the family.


Jewish Proverb (Sayings of Jewish origin)


One of life's greatest mysteries is how the boy who wasn't good enough to marry your daughter can be the father of the smartest grandchild in the world.


Jewish Proverb (Sayings of Jewish origin)


When a father gives to his son, both laugh; when a son gives to his father, both cry.


Jewish Proverb (Sayings of Jewish origin)


A mother's love is fashioned after God's enduring love. It is endless and unfailing like the love of Him above.


Helen Steiner Rice


The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.


Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962, American First Lady, columnist, lecturer, humanitarian)


In every dispute between parent and child, both cannot be right, but they may be, and usually are, both wrong. It is this situation which gives family life its peculiar hysterical charm.


Isaac Rosenfeld


For there is no friend like a sister in calm or stormy weather; To cheer one on the tedious way, to fetch one if one goes astray, to lift one if one totters down, to strengthen whilst one stands.


Christina Rossetti (1830-1894, British poet, lyricist)


The family is an early expedient and in many ways irrational. If the race had developed a special sexless class to be nurses, pedagogues, and slaves, like the workers among ants and bees, then the family would have been unnecessary. Such a division of labor would doubtless have involved evils of its own, but it would have obviated some drags and vexations proper to the family.


George Santayana (1863-1952, American philosopher, poet)


The family is one of nature's masterpieces.


George Santayana (1863-1952, American philosopher, poet)


Big sisters are the crab grass in the lawn of life.


Charles M. Schulz (1922-, American cartoonist, creator of "Peanuts")


The voice of parents is the voice of gods, for to their children they are heaven's lieutenants.


William Shakespeare (1564-1616, British poet, playwright, actor)


He didn't dare to, because his father had a weak heart and habitually threatened to drop dead if anybody hurt his feelings. You may have noticed that people with weak hearts are the tyrants of English married life.


George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950, Irish-born British dramatist)


When our relatives are at home, we have to think of all their good points or it would be impossible to endure them. But when they are away, we console ourselves for their absence by dwelling on their vices.


George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950, Irish-born British dramatist)


A family's photograph album is generally about the extended family and, often, is all that remains of it.


Susan Sontag (1933-, American essayist)


Absence is one of the most useful ingredients of family life, and to dose it rightly is an art like any other.


Freya Stark (1893-1993, British travel writer)


Happy or unhappy, families are all mysterious. We have only to imagine how differently we would be described -- and will be, after our deaths -- by each of the family members who believe they know us.


Gloria Steinem (1934-, American feminist writer, editor)


The family is the basic cell of government: it is where we are trained to believe that we are human beings or that we are chattel, it is where we are trained to see the sex and race divisions and become callous to injustice even if it is done to ourselves, to accept as biological a full system of authoritarian government.


Gloria Steinem (1934-, American feminist writer, editor)


Family... the home of all social evil, a charitable institution for comfortable women, an anchorage for house -- fathers, and a hell for children.


August J. Strindberg (1849-1912, Swedish dramatist, novelist, poet)


A family is a place where principles are hammered and honed on the anvil of everyday living.


Charles Swindoll (1934-, American pastor, author)


The hatred of relatives is the most violent.


Publius Cornelius Tacitus (55-117, Roman historian)


He that loves not his wife and children feeds a lioness at home, and broods a nest of sorrows.


Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667, British churchman, writer)


A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.


The Holy Bible (Sacred scriptures of Christians and Judaism)


All happy families resemble one another; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.


Count Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910, Russian novelist, philosopher)


Adam was the luckiest man; he had no mother-in-law.


Mark Twain (1835-1910, American humorist, writer)


We are always too busy for our children; we never give them the time or interest they deserve. We lavish gifts upon them; but the most precious gift, our personal association, which means so much to them, we give grudgingly.


Mark Twain (1835-1910, American humorist, writer)


Women's liberationists spread the word that the only peaceful family is one in which either the wife is enslaved or the husband is androgynous.


Emmett R. Tyell


My family begins with me, your family ends with you.


Author Unknown


The difference between us is that my family begins with me, whereas yours ends with you.


Author Unknown


By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he's wrong.


Charles Wadworth


I can't help detesting my relations. I suppose it comes from the fact that none of us can stand other people having the same faults as ourselves.


Oscar Wilde (1856-1900, British author, wit)


Relations are simply a tedious pack of people who haven't got the remotest knowledge of how to live, nor the smallest instinct about when to die.


Oscar Wilde (1856-1900, British author, wit)


I have known more men destroyed by the desire to have wife and child and to keep them in comfort than I have seen destroyed by drink and harlots.


William Butler Yeats (1865-1939, Irish poet, playwright.)


People who have good relationships at home are more effective in the marketplace.


Zig Ziglar (1926-, American sales trainer, author, motivational speaker)

Author's website:


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