Updated: Feb 24
By Kayla Kauffman
Kayla Kauffman joined Veterans United in 2020 and currently works as a loan coordinator. She has a passion for family and women’s ministries. She supports her husband Michael as they pastor CenterPoint church in Columbia. She and her husband served as foster parents for over 10 years with over 30 kids in and out of their home, of which they’ve adopted 4. They now spend their time enjoying life with their 6 children.
I'm the "Nice one."
For all you parents out there, I have a question:
“Have you ever experienced those moments when your kid runs up the stairs, past your significant other, starts banging on the bathroom door as if their life depends on it only to ask if they can have a snack?” I don’t know about you, but it happens to me all the time. My kids will walk right past my husband, sometimes even scaling two flights of stairs, because they think I’m the "nice one."
It never fails, as soon as I walk in the door, someone asks me for food - even though they have been home for at least an hour and have had ample time to ask their dad. It is true that, during the earlier years of our children’s lives, I was primarily a stay at home mom. I did the daycare drop offs and pickups, the doctor’s appointments, and the homeschooling for that season of our lives. They got used to me being there and knew they could come to me with their questions. It wasn’t as if my husband wasn’t around - he just worked full time. And I didn’t. I was physically present for more hours of the day than he was and our kids had more opportunities to ask me questions.
The funny thing is, I see my husband as way more lenient than me. To me, he’s the "nice one." I feel like I’m harder on the kids overall than he is. In fact, most of the time, the kids ask me a question my answer is often, “Go ask your dad.” It’s not because I want to double check with him to make sure it’s okay, it’s because I might say "no" without having considered it fully, and I’m giving him the chance to weigh-in.
These days, my husband and I both work full time. Even as our lives have shifted, my husband now does school pick-ups and some doctor’s appointments too, I still find that my kids will come to me with certain questions before venturing out to ask dad. My fifteen year old, who is becoming wiser and more cunning than I ever was at his age, admitted, “When I want to do something, I ask mom. When I want to buy something, I ask dad.” Apparently, he’s figured us out!
God gave us an innate nature to gravitate towards and rely on our parents, for better or worse. I have seen this situation play out over and over again during our years as foster parents. I have seen kids so devoted to a biological parent, even after sustaining horrific abuse from that parent. Aside from the unhealthy situations I have witnessed, I believe that more often than not, this natural devotion to our parents is for the best. I believe we are designed to seek out our parent’s approval, their advice, and most of all - their love. Why? I believe it’s directly connected, a reflection of, the gravitational pull God intended for us to have, towards our heavenly Father.
Let's be real, not all of us parents get this distinct privilege and responsibility right. In fact, I can confidently say that none of us get parenting right 100% of the time. But in the eyes of a small child, we are that person they count on. We are that person who holds the answers. And, I believe, it was designed that way as a picture of how we can learn to rely on God, our Heavenly Father, for the solutions to life’s many questions.
For everyone out there, I have a question:
How often do we bypass God and seek answers from someone or somewhere else?
As I was preparing to sit down and write this (originally being some sort of meditation on parenting), a question jumped out and smacked me right in the face! How often do I metaphorically walk right past God - foregoing prayer and leaving my Bible on the shelf, to find the answer to my question someplace else? How often do I climb two - four - ten flights of stairs searching for answers instead of stopping to remember that God has been right beside me the whole time? He was at the bottom of the stairs and the amazing thing is - he climbed them with me too. He stayed beside me, patiently waiting for me to turn and simply ask Him.
Do you do this too?
I spent some time thinking “Why?” - Why is this true for me?
I came up with a list of questions, to ask myself:
Who is most present in my life?
If I truly believe that God is always with me, why is it easier to reach for my phone and Google the answer instead of praying or opening my Bible App? If I believe the Bible holds all the answers to life’s major questions, why don’t I believe that they answer the day to day ones too?
What kind of answer am I seeking?
Am I seeking the truth? Or, am I seeking validation for the answer that I want to be true? Am I running past God because I don’t like the answer I think he will provide?
Where am I putting my trust?
Am I trusting that the God of the universe cares enough to answer my question, no matter how insignificant or small it may seem? I say I trust Him with the big things - but do I actually trust Him with the small things too?
I don’t know where I land with all these questions. But I do know this. God is taking me on a journey of discovery. He has opened the door and is inviting me to walk through these answers with Him.
How can I learn to make Him more present in my life?
How can I seek truth on a daily basis from the one who holds all the answers?
How can I learn to trust God more and seek Him and His answers first?
I do know this - God is more gentle with me than I could ever be with myself. He’s posing these questions not to guilt and shame me for my shortcomings. He’s asking me into a deeper relationship with Him. He is increasing the gravitational pull of me, as His child, to Himself, as my heavenly Father.
Perhaps, He’s asking you too.