I’m not sure of its exact origins, but I believe it was my father-in-law who heard a pastor share about a nightly ritual he had with his children.
My father-in-law liked it, and so he shared the idea with us.
My husband liked it too, which lead him to fold it into our own family culture.
It goes like this…
Father: Do I love you because you’re beautiful? Because you are beautiful.
Father: Do I love you because you’re smart? Because you are smart.
Father: Do I love you because you’re good at jumping rope? Because you are good at jumping rope.
Father: Why do I love you?
Daughter: You love me because I’m your daughter!
Father: That’s right. You’ll always be my daughter, and I’ll always love you, no matter what!
You can imagine all the fun ways this conversation could be drawn out to incorporate a child’s gifts, talents and great qualities. It could be adapted for a mother or son or grandparent or aunt. It’s truly sweet.
Over the years, I’ve reflected on the deeper effects of this line of questioning, as I’ve listened to it play out.
The pleased little grins it elicits from our children are truly precious. As they grow, they will have this proclamation of love tucked away in their minds for those days when they fail or disappoint. I hope they’ll find great security in knowing this truth.
I also see some beautiful similarities between the parent-love expressed here, and God’s father-love for us.
John 1:12-13 says,
“But to all who believed him [Jesus] and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.”
Those of us who have believed and accepted Jesus have become children of God, with all the incomprehensible privileges of that standing. He loves us, because we’re His children. We did not have the power to do this thing. He has done it, in HIs great grace. He has adopted us and promised us an eternal inheritance. Not because of our merit or something we did, but because of HIs great love.
God has made us His children through Christ.
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are…” 1 John 1:3
God’s love and salvation weren’t earned. They are not deserved. They are a gift that we must receive in faith, like a child.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
“but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
Our circumstances won’t change God’s love. Neither will our failures. Indeed, nothing in all creation can separate us from it!
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39
It’s based on relationship and identity. It’s based, not on who we are, but on who He is and what He has done for us.
I share this with you so that you would marvel at the wonder of His love for you! I remind you of these truths so that you would pause and praise Him for what He has done for you!
And perhaps you might start this same sweet ritual with your young children. Because as parents, we have the awesome privilege of modeling God-love to our children, that HE may be receive glory.