Examen for Families

I initially found this article (Reflecting with Children: St. Ignatius’ Examen for Families with Children @ Piecing Stories) via the Facebook wall of Ignatian Spiritually. I think it's a beautiful thing to do as a family.

The Examen:

1. For what time or event today are you most grateful (thankful/happy)?

(Initially, you may have to name a few things in a young child’s day to help them catch on to the practice for #1 and #2.)

2. For which moment are you least grateful?

3. How did you show love today?

(For very young children, you may ask additional questions as your family begins this spiritual practice. Ex.: Who did you share with today? Who did you help today? It won’t be long before they understand the question and can reflect and respond without your assistance.)

4. What was one time your actions or behavior were negative or you withheld showing kindness?

(Again, for young children you might ask:

Was there a time you did not share today? Was there a time you said a hurtful word or did not help?)

5. Briefly give thanks for this time of reflection and sharing and for God teaching each of you to be more loving.

For our family, we've basically been doing #1 as part of our family prayers at night. We were doing it because we want the kids to develop the spirit of gratitude for God's goodness and the attitude that everything we have comes from God. Come to think of it, even if you're not Catholic or Christian or whatever religion you practice, this would be a healthy exercise. If each one would reflect on their day, we would learn a bit more about ourselves and take steps to become more loving, kinder, more patient, etc.
Personally, I think we can start incorporating the other questions, one at a time. I've got little ones so I know it might be too much if we try to introduce everything at once. Adding one reflection question at a time will allow the kids to understand it better and develop patience for the process.