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The family is, so to speak, the domestic church. In it parents should, by their word and example, be the first preachers of the faith to their children. ~ Pope Paul VI
Detail of a gold glass medallion with a portrait of a family, from Alexandria (Roman Egypt), 3rd–4th century (Brescia, Museo di Santa Giulia)
Sauk family of photographed by Frank Rinehart in 1899
Mennonite siblings, Montana, United States, 1937
A German mother with her children in the 1960s
A family from Basankusu, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Family in India, 1870s
The king ... like the vulgar, thinks, feels, acts, and lives just as his father did; the unconquered powers of precedent and custom interpose between a king and virtue. ~ Percy Bysshe Shelley

In the context of human society, a family (from Latin: familia) is a group of people related either by consanguinity (by recognized birth) or affinity (by marriage or other relationship).

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  • Eine Familie, die keine schwarzen Schafe hat, ist keine charakteristische Familie.
    • A family without a black sheep is not a typical family.
    • Heinrich Böll, "Die schwarzen Schafe" (1951); cited from 1947 bis 1951 (Köln: F. Middelhauve, 1963) p. 478. Translation: "Black Sheep", in Leila Vennewitz (trans.) The Stories of Heinrich Böll (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1995) p. 408.
  • The Court must never forget, and will never forget, first of all, the rights of family life which are sacred.
    • Bowen, L.J., In re Agar-Ellis, Agar-Ellis v. Lascelles, (1883), id., L. R. 24 C. D. 337; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 188.
  • Health is the greatest gift, contentment is the greatest wealth, a trusted friend is the best relative, Nibbana is the greatest bliss.


  • The family is the original cell of social life. ...Authority, stability, and a life of relationships within the family constitute the foundations for freedom, security, and fraternity within society. The family is the community in which, from childhood, one can learn moral values, begin to honour God, and make good use of freedom. Family life is an initiation into life in society
  • If, for instance, a man had a godless father or son or brother, who became a hindrance to his faith and an obstacle to the life above, let him not live in fellowship or agreement with him, but let him dissolve the fleshly relationship on account of the spiritual antagonism.


  • When success is essential to keeping a family together there is nothing a man won't do. Nothing.
  • Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.


  • Don Corleone: You spend time with your family?
    Johnny Fontane: Sure I do.
    Don Corleone: Good. 'Cause a man who doesn't spend time with his family can never be a real man.


  • Whereas once economic production concerned itself with food, shelter, and clothing, and a few limited tools of production, the modern technology of the ongoing industrial revolution introduced many new consumer products... and a vast new array of producers goods needed for the sophisticated techniques of production. ...[E]ven many of the old standbys that had usually been homemade—children's clothes, pies, and laundry soap—began to be commercially produced. Not only was the commercial production more efficient, the disintegrated industrial family was no longer the effective production unit of home commodities it had once been ...
    • Martin Gerhard Giesbrecht, The Evolution of Economic Society: An Introduction to Economics (1972) Ch. 7, The Arrival of Modern Economies and Economics, p. 194.
  • Parents face an uphill climb in understanding what their child is going through, more than ever with the internet consuming their child’s attention. Rather than assuming parents will harm their children, the state should recognize the inherent right of parents to make decisions for their own [children]. Practically, children need their parents to put boundaries around them, boundaries LGBT activists relentlessly work to remove.
    …Parents need to be ready to protect their [children], help them through severe emotional struggles, and keep them away from outside influences that want to isolate them.


  • Prior to the Industrial Revolution, the daily life of most humans ran its course within three ancient frames: the nuclear family, the extended family and the local intimate community. Most people worked in the family business – the family farm or the family workshop, for example – or they worked in their neighbours’ family businesses. The family was also the welfare system, the health system, the education system, the construction industry, the trade union, the pension fund, the insurance company, the radio, the television, the newspapers, the bank and even the police.
  • I rejoice to think that since the days of Queen Elizabeth, our laws have been so far humanized that a bastard child is no longer a mere thing to be shunned by an overseer,—whose existence is unrecognised until it becomes a pauper, and whose only legitimate home is a workhouse, that it is no longer permissible to punish its unfortunate mother with hard labour for a year, nor its father with a whipping at the cart's tail; but that even an illegitimate child may find itself a member of some honest family, and that the sole obligation now cast upon its parents is that each may be compelled to bear his and her own fair share of the maintenance and education of the unfortunate offspring of their common failing.
    • Henry Hawkins, 1st Baron Brampton, Hardy v. Atherton (1881), L. R. 7 Q. B. 269; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 18.


  • The happiest moments of my life have been the few which I have past at home in the bosom of my family…. public employment contributes neither to advantage nor happiness. It is but honorable exile from one’s family and affairs.
    • Thomas Jefferson, letter to Francis Willis, Jr., April 18, 1790.—The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Julian P. Boyd, vol. 16, p. 353 (1961).


  • The family consists of those who live under the same roof with the pater familias; those who form (if I may use the expression) his fire-side.
    • Lord Kenyon, C.J., R. v. Inhabitants of Darlington (1792), 4 T. R. 800; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 92.


  • My God! I have often regretted that I was born! I have often wished to fall back even into nothingness, rather than advance through so many falsehoods, so many sufferings, and so many successive losses, towards that loss of ourselves which we call death! Still, even in those moments of terrible faintheartedness, when despair overmasters reason, and when man forgets that life is a task imposed upon him to finish, I have always said to myself: "There are some things which I would regret not to have tasted — a mother's milk, a father's love, that relationship of heart and soul between brothers, household affections, joys, and even cares!" Our family is evidently our second self, more than self, existing before self, and surviving self with the better part of self. It is the image of the holy and loving unity of beings revealed by the small group of creatures who hold to one another, and made visible by feeling!
    • Alphonse de Lamartine, Les confidences (1849), trans. Eugène Plunkett, New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1857, Book I, Note II, p. 19.
  • Your mother's dead, before long I'll be dead, and you and your brother and your sister and all of her children. All of us dead, all of us rotting in the ground. It's the family name that lives on. It's all that lives on. Not your honor, not your personal glory, family.
    • Tywin Lannister in Game of Thrones, Season 1, Episode 7 "You Win Or You Die"


  • Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.
  • I have often noticed that
    ancestors never boast
    of the descendants who boast
    of ancestors I would
    rather start a family than
    finish one blood will tell but often
    it tells too much
  • A friend loves you for your intelligence, a mistress for your charm, but your family's love is unreasoning; you were born into it and are of its flesh and blood. Nevertheless it can irritate you more than any group of people in the world.
    • André Maurois, The Art of Family Life, Un Art de Vivre (The Art of Living) (1939).
  • When harmony, mutual consideration and trust pass out of the home, hell enters in.
  • For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man's enemies are the men of his own house.
  • If I knew something useful to me and harmful to my family, I should put it out of my mind. If I knew something useful to my family and not to my country, I should try to forget it. If I knew something useful to my country and harmful to Europe, or useful to Europe and harmful to the human race, I should consider it a crime.


  • The family is, so to speak, the domestic church. In it parents should, by their word and example, be the first preachers of the faith to their children.


  • The king ...
    like the vulgar, thinks, feels, acts, and lives
    Just as his father did; the unconquered powers
    Of precedent and custom interpose
    Between a king and virtue.
  • The thing you can always rely on, your core person, comes from your family's attention and love.
  • The family is always the family but during vacations it is an extended family and that is exhausting.




  • Our government should not be run like a business; it should be run like a family. A business might rightfully put its short-term profits first, but a functional family puts the well-being of its children first. That's not a relative truth; it's a moral absolute... Our system was designed before women had a voice in the public realm, and raising children was deemed to just be "women's work." But we certainly have a voice now, and we need to raise it on behalf of every mother's child.... In any advanced mammalian species that survives and thrives, a common characteristic is the fierce behavior of the adult female of the species when she senses a threat to her cubs. Ours are threatened now, and we need to get fierce.
    • Marianne Williamson, If We Want a Prosperous America Tomorrow, Take Care of Our Children Today, Newsweek (23 July 2020)
  • The family is no artificial creation, arbitrarily called into being and always wearing the same forms. It has assumed different forms in different times and places, and also its present form will not remain the same; they will continue to evolve and adopt new forms, keeping pace with economic and social changes and with the ethical and intellectual needs of the people. To this day, it has been the most significant and influential institution for the individual lives of human beings, and it will undoubtedly remain for a long time. It is probably within the circle of the family, especially in youth, that people receive the deepest impressions, impressions that very often give their later lives a decisive direction. It should therefore be done everything possible to give this narrow circle a character that is as pleasant as possible and mentally appealing, especially one in which the child can experience well-being.


  • (Reading a letter on T.V.) Dear Mrs. Doubtfire; Two months ago, my mom and dad decided to separate. Now they live in different houses. My brother Andrew says that we aren't a real family any more. Is this true? Did I lose my family? Is there anything I could do to get my parents back together? Sincerely, Katie McCormick." Oh, my dear Katie. You know, some parents get along much better when they don't live together. They don't fight all the time and they can become better people. Much better mommies and daddies for you. And sometimes they get back together. And sometimes they don't, dear. And if they don't... don't blame yourself. Just because they don't love each other doesn't mean that they don't love you. There are all sorts of different families, Katie. Some families have one mommy, some families have one daddy, or two families. Some children live with their uncle or aunt. Some live with their grandparents, and some children live with foster parents. Some live in separate homes and neighborhoods, in different areas of the country. They may not see each other for days, weeks, months or even years at a time. But if there's love, dear, those are the ties that bind. And you'll have a family in your heart forever. All my love to you, poppet. You're going to be all right. Bye-bye.
    • Mrs. Doubtfire, played by Robin Williams, screenplay by Randi Mayem Singer and Leslie Dixon



See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
At Wikiversity, you can learn about:
  • Encyclopedic article on Family on Wikipedia
  • The dictionary definition of family on Wiktionary
  • "The Ascension at Fiesta Park" (partly about two grandparents) by Brian Yapko, The Society of Classical Poets (March 26, 2024)