Why would a layperson who has made some progress down the path still chose to have children?
I don't know if I have made sufficient progress down the path to count, but there were a number of factors involved. I like children, I liked the idea of having them, there was a sense that they could fill a gap in my life, my wife wanted to have them, and so on. It wasn't really a one-off rational decision like buying a new car; too bound up with emotions, biology, and lots of other impulses.
How does having children affect your progress down the path?
Well, it affects the way
I practice (less opportunity for perfectly silent meditation sessions; more opportunity to reflect on human beauty and goodness; the opportunity to teach others who are uniquely close to me, etc. Very importantly, it has developed my sense of responsibility
like nothing else.) but I can't say if the progress has been faster or slower. It is just different.
Do you link the suffering in a childs life to the result of desires in the parents life?
To be honest, I've not really thought about this, but will from now on! My initial reaction was that the child's suffering is caused by a whole range of things. I never desired them to have chicken pox, or to fall over in the yard, or lose a toy. But obviously my sexual desire was an indispensible condition for their existence; and I can certainly see that there are times when my desires cause them problems. But again, this is another opportunity for me to learn. The monks at the local monastery rarely get the opportunity, for example, to engage in Right Speech with someone who always asks "Why?", or to express love through reading bedtime stories.
As a monk said to me after meeting my family: "You are lucky enough to have two
Triple Gems - the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha, and also your three children."