What Makes a Family?


1. A family needs people, a lot or just a few;
Now it can have a dozen, or only me and you.
The people can be grown, all big and strong and tall;
The people can be young, or short and squat and small.
Chorus:
But that’s not the thing that makes us want to sing;
A family is more than that.
And this is what I’m thinking of:
A family’s really a family when it’s got love.
2. A family needs housing in red or brown or green,
Or any other color that you have ever seen.
The home can be a mansion, or just one room or two,
And made of bricks or lumber, or maybe long bamboo.
Chorus
3. A family needs work, ’cause that’s what life’s about;
Sometimes we all work in, sometimes we all work out.
Oh, some work in the kitchen, and others in the yard,
And some work in an office, but all of us work hard.
Chorus
4. A family needs fun, and giggles, games and laughs,
A visit to the zoo to see the tall giraffes,
A gallop on the horse, a drive in the car,
A swim in the ocean, depending where you are.
Chorus
5. A family needs love; a touch, a smile, a squeeze,
Some way to say, “I love you”—you really must have these;
And if you do have love, then this is what you’ll do—
You’ll always treat your family as you’d have them treat you.
Chorus
Yes, love is the thing that makes us want to sing;
A family is surely that.
Yes, this is what I’m thinking of:
A family’s really a family when it’s got love.

Note: This song may be performed with simple piano accompaniment, or with other instruments, such as guitar, by following the following chord symbols. Performers are encouraged to create spontaneous harmony to fit with the melody.

© Copyright 1973, Newell Dayley and Carol Lynn Pearson

[illustration] Illustrated by Phyllis Luch