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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.

Family quarrels have a total bitterness unmatched by others.  Yet it sometimes happens that they also have a kind of tang, a pleasantness beneath the unpleasantness, based on the tacit understanding that this is not for keeps; that any limb you climb out on will still be there later for you to climb back.

Family quarrels are bitter things.  They don’t go by 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.

Our most basic instinct is not for survival but for family.  Most of us would give our own life for the survival of a family member, yet we lead our daily life too often as if we take our family for granted.

They… threw themselves into the interests of the rest, but each plowed his or her own furrow.  Their thoughts, their little passions and hopes and desires, all ran along separate lines.  Family life is like this – animated, but collateral.

The lack of emotional security of our American young people is due, I believe, to their isolation from the larger family unit.  No two people – no mere father and mother – as I have often said, are enough to provide emotional security for a child.  He needs to feel himself one in a world of kinfolk, persons of variety in age and temperament, and yet allied to himself by an indissoluble bond which he cannot break if he could, for nature has welded him into it before he was born.

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