Is it fair to judge parents by the way their children behave?

I've often thought about this. It is kind of a radar I find myself using when I am around people and getting to know them for the first time.

If I see children that are well behaved and respectful, I usually want to get to know those parents. When the children are not, I usually find myself backing away.

Then I also wonder how does that play into our Christian witness...are we to judge others according to how they are teaching their children the faith by word or how that faith is displayed or not displayed in those children?

I struggle with this.

When my kids are praised for being "good" I want to take pride in it. When I see them misbehaving, sometimes I want to lay that all at the feet of sin and take myself out of the equation.

Is that what others are doing with their children all of the time? Where is the line of knowing how to deal with these issues both for myself and my children?

It is a constant battle. I see people speaking about faith and trust in God, but I look at their children and wonder if we're reading the same book.

Then I see others who don't claim to have a faith and their children are true blessings to be around and spend time with.

How are we as Christian parents supposed to be different from the "world"?

As a former PK(pastor's kid), MK(missionary kid) and AFB(Air Force Brat), I've seen lots of different scenarios. I've seen those who expect perfection because of the parents role and then I've seen those who are too quick to give someone a break because of those same issues. I've seen PK's struggle to live up to what they are all the while knowing that they fail, but not being able to show it and then I've seen those who leave the faith as soon as they can because they know they will never measure up.

I truly feel that our children should be a reflection of what our faith is. The day in and day out stuff. Does that mean perfection? Absolutely not! I am not perfect, but I hope I am teaching my children humility, honesty and grace. That they will live like that whether in church or out. We do sir and ma'am around our house. We expect respect and give it to them. We are careful about how they act, those they interact with and how they communicate with the tones they use.

I just wonder how it is that we push people into places of influence over our youth when their own family doesn't reflect the faith well. Are we doing our kids a disservice by that?

I know there are people who I would not want my children to listen to. Their actions or those of their children speak louder than their words and it makes me leery to acknowledge their wisdom in all areas. Can you admire or take from people only in the areas that work and leave the rest?

I'm still learning this on our journey of parenting. I'm learning how to help my children discern those they should heed and those they should pass by. Even within our church and especially without.

I want to live with and give grace, and I pray that is how I do in fact live, but we are also to hold each other accountable and to be responsible with what and who we set before our children as examples.

How do you handle this issue with your children? I'd be curious to know!!