Well, there are lots of reasons–they are probably similar to the reasons you like yours!
1. They help me see the world freshly. When I take walks with my kids, they pause to notice details I otherwise would have missed. A young child’s perspective is not schooled by common or pervading thought.
2. They stimulate my creativity every day. Each day brings new challenges in family life. Ongoing development and complex family dynamics (made up of multiple wills and personalities) necessitate constant adaption. Then there are the pretend games, the projects, and nightly ritual of bedtime stories. My younger kids say, “tell me a story from your mouth” (meaning a made up one). I often let them choose elements of the story. The other night the conglomerate request was to make up a story about a bear, an elephant, 3 crabs & some talking bananas on skateboards! They perfectly model the creative process; they prolifically build towers, write stories, compose songs, & paint pictures with pure enjoyment and seeming little effort..
3. They require me to care more about people than things. It’s a matter of survival–if I broke with every dish, cried over every spill, became a mess with every mess, life would feel way too dramatic!
4. They invite introspection. They are my Zen masters, my sages on the mountain. Why? Without even trying, they hold up mirrors that help me see my weaknesses and they say true things (that maybe I didn’t want so much to hear!) I have to take a lot of deep breaths.
5. They necessitate hard work. This actually is a good thing. Though I don’t make it a practice to wait on people, sometimes it feels like I haven’t sat down a minute before another need arises. I had to laugh when I saw an article about how sitting for long periods shortens your life.(http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/06/24/sitting.shorten.life/) Who would have known that all those requests are blessings in disguise!
6. They give purpose to my efforts. How would it be to have no one to cook for, no one to surprise, no one to remember details about and for, no one to cart around? When they’ve all grown up, I will feel lost.
7. They are each special and unique. It is amazing how each child is so different in terms of preferences, personality, and gifts. They each contribute to the family in a needed and important way.
8. They remind me how to play. As an adult, it’s easy to get way too serious. As a six-year-old, one of my sons once took down the family calendar and wrote “HAVE FUN” on several random days of the year. I thought, “Oh yeah. I’ve forgotten to do that for a while!” After playing a pretend game, running around outside, laughing together, the day feels so much brighter.
9. They inspire me to be better. Though I’m often the one persuading them to share, to help, to forgive, suddenly they will display surprising generosity or grace. Though I’m the one trying to emulate and teach important principles, sometimes my kids understand and live them better than I do.
10. They like me back (usually). When they’re little, they don’t even want me to leave long enough to go to the bathroom. They like my lap the best and fight over it. When I get home they run and hug me and yell “Mommy!” They draw me pictures and leave notes on my pillow. When they are older, it’s less overt, but the bonds are still there.