About

The family unit is where we first learn what it means to love and to be loved. Our childhood plays such a huge role in laying the groundwork for the rest of our lives. Without a nurturing family environment early on, it is difficult to learn to love and develop healthy relationships later in life. Hence, the health of a community depends a lot on the health of its family dynamics. If we do not learn how to love and be loved by our closest family members, it is doubtful that we will be able to love our neighbors, much less those who look and think very differently than us. This link is made rather explicit in the scriptures and doctrines of many religions, which is why we see God described as “The Father” or “The Mother,” or strangers described as our brothers and sisters. The ultimate expression of love is to see the entire world as your family and to treat the most remote stranger as your closest kin.

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Quotations

The New Testament
Christian scripture
Christianity

“I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”

The New Testament
Christian scripture
Christianity

“Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

The Qur'an
Islamic scripture
Islam

“Your Lord has commanded that you should worship none but Him, and that you be kind to your parents. If either or both of them reach old age with you, say no word that shows impatience with them, and do not be harsh with them, but speak to them respectfully and lower your wing in humility towards them in kindness and say, ‘Lord, have mercy on them, just as they cared for me when I was little.’ Your Lord knows best what is in your heart.”

The Qur'an
Islamic scripture
Islam

“Hold fast to God’s rope all together; do not split into factions. Remember God’s favour to you: you were enemies and then He brought your hearts together and you became brothers by His grace; you were about to fall into a pit of Fire and He saved you from it– in this way God makes His revelations clear to you so that you may be rightly guided. Be a community that calls for what is good, urges what is right, and forbids what is wrong: those who do this are the successful ones.”

Hillel the Elder
Jewish leader and sage
Judaism

“Hillel said: Do not separate yourself from the community.”

The New Testament
Christian scripture
Judaism

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”

Sefer Ha-Aggadah
Collection of Jewish writings
Judaism

"Of the four plants that make up the lulav cluster, two bear fruit and two do not. The ones that bear fruit must be combined with those that do not bear fruit; and the ones that do not bear fruit must be combined with those that bear fruit. And a man does not fulfill his obligation until the four plants are bound together in one cluster. And so it is with Israel's endeavor to conciliate God, which is successful only when all of Israel are together in one cluster, as is said, "He buildeth his upper chambers in the heaven and establisheth [Israel] on the earth when it is together in one cluster" (Amos. 9:6)."

‘Abdu’l-Bahá
Baha'i leader
Baha'i

“A family is a nation in miniature. Simply enlarge the circle of the household, and you have the nation. Enlarge the circle of nations, and you have all humanity. The conditions surrounding the family surround the nation. The happenings in the family are the happenings in the life of the nation. Would it add to the progress and advancement of a family if dissensions should arise among its members, all fighting, pillaging each other, jealous and revengeful of injury, seeking selfish advantage? Nay, this would be the cause of the effacement of progress and advancement. So it is in the great family of nations, for nations are but an aggregate of families. Therefore, as strife and dissension destroy a family and prevent its progress, so nations are destroyed and advancement hindered.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá
Baha'i leader
Baha'i

“The mystery of this phenomenon, the cause thereof is this, that mankind has been created from one single origin, has branched off from one family. Thus in reality all mankind represents one family. God has not created any difference. He has created all as one that thus this family might live in perfect happiness and well-being.”

The Upanishads
Hindu scripture
Hinduism

“Discrimination saying ‘this one is a relative; this other one is a stranger’ is for the mean-minded. For those who’re known as magnanimous, the entire world constitutes but a family.”

The Bhagavad Gita
Hindu scripture
Hinduism

“When a family declines, ancient traditions are destroyed. With them are lost the spiritual foundations for life, and the family loses its sense of unity[…]Social chaos is hell for the family and for those who have destroyed the family as well. It disrupts the process of spiritual evolution begun by our ancestors. The timeless spiritual foundations of family and society would be destroyed by these terrible deeds, which violate the unity of life."

Huston Smith
Scholar of religion
Confucianism

“That three of the Five Relationships pertain within the family is indicative of how important Confucius considered this institution to be. Within the family, it is the children’s respect for their parents that holds the key; hence the concept of filial piety.”

Confucius
Founder of Confucianism
Confucianism

“Yu Tzu said, ‘It is rare for a man whose character is such that he is good as a son and obedient as a young man to have the inclination to transgress against his superiors; it is unheard of for one who has no such inclination to be inclined to start a rebellion. The gentleman devotes his efforts to the roots, for once the roots are established, the Way will grow therefrom. Being good as a son and obedient as a young man is, perhaps, the root of a man's character.’”

Upaddha Sutta
Buddhist text

“Admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life. When a monk has admirable people as friends, companions, and comrades, he can be expected to develop and pursue the Noble Eightfold Path.”

The Analects
Confucian Text
Confucianism

“When the gentleman feels profound affection for his parents, the common people will be stirred to benevolence. When he does not forget friends of long standing, the common people will not shirk their obligations to other people.” (8:2)

Taoteching
Daoist Text
Daoism

“What you plant well can’t be uprooted
What you hold well can’t be taken away
Your descendants will worship this forever
Cultivated in yourself virtue becomes real
Cultivated in your family virtue grows
Cultivated in your village virtue multiplies
Cultivated in your state virtue abounds
Cultivated in your world virtue is everywhere
Thus view others through yourself
View families through your family
View villages through your village
View states through your state
View other worlds through your world
How do you know what other worlds are like
Through this one” (Ch 54)

The Hebrew Bible
Jewish scripture
Judaism

"Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it." (Proverbs 22:6)

Thich Nhat Hanh
Buddhist monk and author
Buddhism

“The sangha is a community where there should be harmony and peace and understanding. That is something created by our daily life together. If love is there in the community, if we've been nourished by the harmony in the community, then we will never move away from love.”