(You can listen to the MGMT song while you read this post, if you're not totally tired of it by now. Dun dun dun dun dun da-dun dun dun...)
I've written before about my views on having children. But since raising kids is something that is so important to many people's lives, I think it's worth at least two posts. Anyway, the point of this post is to challenge familiar phrases yet again. We all know the question, "Do you want to have children?" Obviously, it's a question people really want to ask. So I'd like to keep its general spirit but raise its inclusiveness level with this alternative: "What sort of influence, if any, do you want to have on the next generation?" Sure, it sounds cornier and oddly formal (maybe one of you can help me out with that). But rather than a yes/no answer where biological children are the default, it opens up conversation about all kinds of other possibilities. Who knows! Maybe all sorts of people would find it interesting.
An oft-mentioned book here, The New Single Woman, claims that a connection to the next generation is an important element in the happy lives of older single women, whether or not they're parents. (Although the book is about women, I don't see why this idea wouldn't also apply to men.) As the question currently stands, people who don't want kids "the traditional way" are automatically put on the defensive. I remember being interrogated about my intentions when I responded to the current question with "I might adopt someday". I'd like to think my alternative question could put people on more equal footing in these kinds of conversations. Sure, it's a dream, but it could be worth trying out.