496. Needing Children

If you were to take a casual look at the way I live my life, you would think I needed children. I spend lots of time with children. The songs, stories, poems, and articles I write are mostly for and/or about children or adults who spend a lot of time with children. Both my former vocation and my main present avocations have to do with children. If you took a closer look at me – if you probed the depths of my soul – then you’d KNOW I need children.
I’m writing this article during a school vacation. And the children who sometimes stay with me after school, on weekends, and during vacations, have gone away for the week. I still remember the occasional thrill I used to get when I had some time without children, but that thrill is mostly gone; the “important” things I could do when there were no children around no longer seem so important.
We usually think in terms of children’s need for us. And they do have lots of needs. One is the need to be seen and heard. I have lots of time to look and listen, now that I don’t have to lay waste my powers getting and spending (cf. William Wordsworth). Children also need to understand their world, and I have time to help them understand it. The time I spend with children meets their needs, and since they’re such needy people, it could look, to the casual observer, as if I do what I do because I’m a nice guy. And to be honest, I am nice.
But that’s not the main reason I do it. Spending time with children meets several of my important needs. I need to feel useful, to feel competent, to have fun, and to be loved. Some of those needs are met by adults, too, but adults are often busy getting and spending. And sometimes they’re not as quick to express their needs and their love. Their way of being busy and some of the psychological baggage they’ve accumulated over the years can get in the way.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not one of those adults who claim that they can only relate with children. I do like adults. Some of my best friends are adults. They can understand me in important ways children can’t. I know they were all once children, and I don’t blame them at all for leaving their childhood years behind. I’ve done that myself. The children I love now are going to do it, too, and that won’t make me stop loving them.
Now that I’ve admitted my need for children, how about you? If you teach, do you think you do so only because it’s your mission, or your modus vivendi ? If you’re a parent do you think you had children only because it’s your sacred duty or something? Well, maybe. But if that’s what you think, it may also be that
you’re in for a surprise – that children are meeting some of your most important needs.

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