I was almost due to give birth to my third child when my oldest who was seven turned to me and said “ I don’t understand why Tatty (Yiddish for Dad) gets to go with you to the hospital to have a baby. I am more blood related to the baby than Tatty is, and I should be there with you.” Indeed I was caught off guard by his clever question and not prepared for this conversation. Most of all I just wanted to have a baby and not get into the facts of life discussion with my seven year old.
But a little while later after many inquisitive questions and comments, I decided it’s time to have a candid casual conversation with my child. I explained to him how the male and female body are created and how a mom and dad contribute to creating a child. On a deeper level I shared that intimacy is about love and connection.
It may come as a surprise but the Torah is a place to look for guidance on this topic. HaShem places great value on the intimate life of a husband and wife and its actually considered a mitzva. The mitzvah is not only to have children but to create an everlasting bond full of love and pleasure.
I explain just that to my children and share what is appropriate for their age at the right time. I speak in a clear fashion and encourage my children to ask questions. As they grow older I make sure to continue the conversation. They need to comfortable with their bodies and understand their desires.
In today’s day and age with information overload from all sorts of media sources it’s crucial children understand what real love and intimacy is. It’s not a perfect body for women or a picture on Facebook of a romantic couple holding hands. Love is connection, deep respect for each other and of course physical intimacy. After all the Torah says that intimacy is a Mitzvah!