There is a lot of talk nowadays about "family values," but what are they?
They are simply those very basic agreements that govern personal and interpersonal behavior.
In essence, they are the same values that make any kind of society work.
All social units are based on some kind of agreement, either tacit or explicit.
Agreement makes society function, from its largest constructs down to its most basic unit, the family.
This understanding of family is both more, and less, than what people expect:
Less, because it includes no sentimental gushing;
More, because it takes family far too seriously to let it pass as a play that people take up with each other for a shorter or longer time.
Family is, in fact, the outcome and expression of a law, albeit not necessarily a written one.
It is not a religious or moral dictum, since animals, too, have it.
Family, then, is a deep connection that goes beyond a whimsical feeling, beyond an urge, beyond emotional upheaval.
Members of a family are bound by obligation, connected to each other by the knowledge that they can rely on each other.
Only such inviolable contractual obligation can serve as a stable basis for family.
–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz
From Simple Words by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz