A couple of years ago my sister and I each decorated a canvas to hang in our homes. Mine started out being a “Family Rules” canvas. After I was finished and hung it on our wall, a visiting priest commented on how it read more like a nightly “Family Examen” rather than a “Family Rules” board. This board has now become our nightly examen with children as we go through it, word by word or phrase by phrase.
We’ve used it “officially” as a nightly examen after family prayer but lost the habit somewhere along the way. I regret that and have vowed to pick it back up. Not only pick it back up but tie it to the Word of God…win-win.
Quickly before we get into the specifics of the examen, let’s answer why an examen? We are all fallen, sinful beings who make mistakes, commit sin, and sometimes fall into habitual sin. The good news is, we have an awesome God who never runs out of mercy and forgiveness!! When we make an examination of conscience, we learn to know ourselves better–our weaknesses, our bad habits, our faults, and our sins. We also learn to know God better when we seek his strength to overcome our own selves. When we seek His will, His grace, mercy, and forgiveness.
Nightly Examen for Children
1. Did I encourage others today?
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
†1 Thessalonians 5:11
Read more: Bible Quotes: Encourage One Another
2. Did I pray frequently today? Did I pray for others?
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people
†1 Timothy 2:1
3. Was I thankful today? Did I tell God and others thank you?
Always thank God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Whatever happens, give thanks, because it is God’s will in Christ Jesus that you do this.
†1 Thessalonians 5:18
Read more: Nightly Examen for Children: Was I Thankful?
4. Did I clean up after myself today? Did I look for ways to help others in their chores?
But all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner.
†1 Corinthians 14:40
The younger women must control themselves. They must be pure. They must take good care of their homes. They must be kind. They must follow the lead of their husbands. Then no one will be able to speak evil things against God’s word.
5. Did I look for the positive in all situations, others and myself?
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
6. Did I always tell the truth?
Truth stands the test of time; lies are soon exposed.
7. Did I obey God and those He has put in authority over me, even when it was hard?
For our love for God means that we obey his commands. And his commands are not too hard for us
†1 John 5:3
8. Did I choose horses*? Did I choose joy today? (One time while we were camping and it was raining and it felt like the camper was closing in on me, I said, “I choose joy!” to which my youngest at the time shouted, “Um…I choose horses!”)
Always be joyful because you belong to the Lord. I will say it again. Be joyful.
Read More: Daily Affirmations: I Choose Joy
9. Was I patient with others and myself today?
Be humble and gentle in every way. Be patient with each other and lovingly accept each other.
10. Did I laugh today? Did I laugh at myself and with others?
Serve the LORD cheerfully. Come into his presence with a joyful song.
11. Did I use kind words and a gentle voice?
A gentle answer quiets anger, but a harsh one stirs it up.
12. Was I helpful? Was I the hands and feet of Christ today? Did I help spread the good news of Christ and His Church?
In the same way your light must shine before people, so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven.
13. Did I listen today? Did I make quiet time to listen to God and others? Did I listen when someone was speaking and not interrupt?
Those who guard their mouths and their tongues guard themselves from trouble.
My dear brothers and sisters, always be willing to listen and slow to speak. Do not become angry easily
14. Did I assume the best and forgive the worst?
Be kind, compassionate, and forgiving to each other, in the same way God forgave you in Christ.
11-Inch-by-14-Inch Stretched Canvas, 2-Pack–here’s a two pack because this is a fun project to do with a friend.
Mod Podge –for covering the scrapbook paper questions/quotes
Fonts on your computer to print the questions/quotes