It's been a while since I blogged.
actually I had wanted to stop altogether.
some experiences over the last few months stirred up some reflections about parenting again and so ...
it is about how hard it is for couples to develop and maintain healthy intimacy in their marriage. And by implication, harder still to teach that to our children so that they too develop strong and loving marriage relationships.
My belief is that (a) intimacy, including sex, is a beautiful thing (b) only within the bond of marriage. But I think that these are not learnt naturally by our children., especially when the views of intimacy 'out there' swing from the extreme of 'intimacy is responsible-free all-pleasure' to that of 'eee, so yucky'.
Thus, there is surely a place for explicit parental teaching on "intimacy". But I think a stronger teaching method is really parental example. By this, I mean that parents should not avoid displaying loving acts of affection to one another in front of their children. In fact, we ought to actively find opportunities to demonstrate suitable forms of intimacy to them. They include the use of affectionate words and tone when speaking to one another, natural body contact when sitting next to one another, kiss or embrace on suitable occasions such as leaving home for work or returning home from work.
why? How else do our children learn what intimacy between married couples look like? What better way is available for our children to learn (a) above? Yes, surely we would not demonstrate sex to our children; but if they see parental intimacy on a day to day basis and learn from their actions that intimacy is a beautiful thing, surely they can understand by extension that sex between their parents is also a wonderful expression of their genuine love to one abother.
I should think that parental demonstration of intimacy has the effect of implicitly teaching (b) as well. You see, children are very observant. They can see that the intimacy that their parents display at home is an exclusive intimacy - ie，it is reserved solely for one another and to no one else. The conclusion can then be made even in their little minds: this kind of intimacy is specially reserved for dad and mum, and thus for married couples only.
Now I know that many Singaporeans like me are very conservative with regards to showing conjugal affections openly. Kissing between couples - even married couples - are greeted with 'choy, choy!' (Cantonese?); they are considered indecent acts. But what is so indecent about a husband giving his wife a loving smooch in front of his children in the privacy of his home? [Of course, doing so in a crowded mrt train is an altogether different matter ...]. Even so, I know we have to cross our internal cultural and psychological barriers to do such 'western' things. Frankly, to me, it doesnt matter whether it is eastern nor western so long as it is the right thing to do. In the case of teaching our children the right view of intimacy, I believe parental demonstration of intimacy is necessary - both for our children and for strengthening our marriage.
This is my current stage of amateurish practice of this 'art': my youngest boy greeted me when I came home one day; I threw open my arms in anticipation that he would leap onto them in warm welcoming embrace; he took a few steps and the stopped, "Dad, you forget something; you need to kiss mummy first!"