Most of us are familiar with the old proverb "the proof is in the pudding." The original meaning was before you could declare that the pudding was good, you had to try it. That same thought can be applied to our children. Until they are "proven" in certain situations we really don't know how they will respond.

As parents we naturally want to believe the absolute best about our children, and we should. However, we must be realistic. The word "proof" means "the act or process of proving; a testing or trying of something." It is critical that we do not set our children up to fail. When we allow them to be put in a situation they have not yet experienced, or proven themselves ready for, and expect them to make the absolute best moral or safe decision, we are setting them up to fail. I have wiped the tears of many heartbroken parents over the realization too late that they missed something. We would be best served not to declare our child's "goodness" except in situations where they have already proven themselves.

Peter exhorts believers in 2 Peter 1:10 (NLT) work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away. We see here the words "work hard to prove." Work implies effort and action, not mere words. Parents in our culture today are required to be on alert constantly to the things that our children may experience or be exposed to. Vigilance is required.

Ephesians 3:20 (NLT) Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Parenting is "God-sized." Mark 14:38 (NLT) Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak."