Discipleship by Modeling
I've said it before and I'll say it again and again. As a parent, YOU are the greatest influence in the lives of your children. In their personal growth, in their social lives, and most importantly in their spiritual formation. From the crib, infants learn by observing their parents: language, actions, attitudes and behavior. Both in nature and in nurture, your children become little versions of yourself.
My wife and I adopted our son when he was 5 - there's absolutely no nature component there. But still in our intentional nurture of him there are many aspects of our lives that rub off on him. And one of the most significant things is our love for Jesus.
Even though he can barely read (just started 1st grade), it influences him when he sees us taking the time to read our Bibles in the morning. We gave him his own "big boy Bible" to celebrate starting grade school and learning to read, and he mimics us by sitting down and "reading" through it as best he can.
We've always prioritized prayer in our home. Whether it's giving thanks at dinner, prayer before bedtime, or when someone is sick or hurting, we turn to God in prayer. It has become a natural first reaction for our son. When Nicole says she has a headache, Jesse responds by laying hands on and praying for her. It's just a behavior that has been learned through modeling - by observing over time how mom and dad respond.
Discipleship in the home isn't much different than how Jesus discipled his twelve closest friends. The toughest part is already taken care of: you already live together and spend lots of time together! Turning that into Christian discipleship of your children simply takes some intentionality.
Think about what you do as a family, your daily routines, your priorities and behaviors, and consider what you're teaching your children through them. Take some of these small examples from our home if you'd like. Small changes in priorities and behaviors, and modeling that relationship with Jesus that you want your children to have, will make a huge difference in their lives!