Okay. So enough about why rats aren't so bad, lets get to the good stuff.
Reach into a cage that houses a hamster, guinea pig, rabbit, mouse, or gerbil and you get one of two reactions every time.
1) It sleeps soundly and does't notice until you startle it awake, which leads directly to;
2) Complete and utter panic as it desperately attempts to evade you.
A rat on the other hand waits for you. The rat sees you enter the room and goes straight for his front door, stands up on his hind legs and waits for you to visit.
You see rats are social by nature and if you rear a pup, there will be a strong trust for humans. Like dogs or cats, a rat that gets plenty of positive attention will be a great friend. Maybe he won't fetch the newspaper, but he will still show his love in other ways.
I've had seven rats. I had 6 females over a few years and I adopted a male rat. Without fail, each of those rats had grown huge attachments to me and treated me kindly. They came to the cage door to be picked up - not to escape, they were relaxed while being held, and they groomed me. Yes, every single one of them would check my eyebrows and beard until they were satisfied that I was OK.
That's the sort of connection you can have with rats. They want to be part of a group and you just won't get that from many other rodents.
Children who can be taught how to care for small animals will enjoy this same friendship and learn valuable lessons respecting a pet. Rats are rewarding pets that deserve a loving home and will thank you in their own special way...not by sleeping all day.