I love journeys. Going on holiday. On adventures…like a child in an Enid Blyton novel…or in Swallows and Amazons series…or from The Ballet Shoes or other Noel Streatfield books.
And I thought…how could one make this examen, first, as a spiritual exercise, as a way of purifying oneself..and then, as an unschooling exercise…finding God in all things, to paraphrase St Ignatius, albeit succintly and imperfectly.
St Ignatius recommended that the examen be prayed, be undertaken, twice daily.
Ah, the dailiness, the effort of twice each day…I guess both a discipline and a grace in itself for someone like me, who struggles to make (almost) daily mass, to pray the morning and evening prayers of the Divine Office, to perhaps pray the psalms, to perhaps read my missal and to read the saint of the day with the kids, to workout, to complete tasks on my To Do List, to spend time with everybody, to work, to read for leisure, to hang out, to talk with my unschooling teens, to study, to write, to text, to Facebook, to blog, to get my nails done…. Let alone to cook dinner and do laundry and housework!
I do all these things yet I feel constantly strapped for time…
So, the examen could be both a means of developing self discipline and a source of grace. For me. Even if undertaken occasionally, not as frequently as St Ignatius described.
And the examen could also be applied to my life as an unschooling mother.
If a spiritual examen helps in purification of oneself, perhaps an unschooling examen can help in clarifying just what is achieved or produced each day in what can seem to be a scattered, cluttered unschooling life.
Again, a discipline (taking five minutes to log or to think..just what is it we did today?) and a grace (thank God, we are on the right path..or… dear God, help me to do better tomorrow).
And so, I have to admit that the Spiritual Exercises got me started on thinking about an unschooling examen. (Not very spiritual of me!).
But very unschool-ish ( learning is everywhere and everything counts!)
As I said above, by unschooling examen I mean thinking about a few things each evening – a few things for which I am grateful , in unschooling; a few things that I have seen that have been learned or experienced that day; a few things where I have seen God’s hand in our family, in our kids, in our unschooling, in my life; a few things for which we need prayer.
Here is my unschooling examen for today…I am grateful for…the time to be with my teens, to share lunch at McDonalds today and to laugh..when other teens are stressing about homework and exams and not often talking to their mums about life. Today my kids have learned…well, some Maths, some Latin…Thomas started on The Crusades by Hilaire Belloc….some philosophy as we have discussed Alexander’s college reading. Today I saw God’s grace…at mass, at the Tyburn convent, receiving the Eucharist, with prayer and peace and thanksgiving….at coffee with friends, their friendship and acceptance…in some of my sons as they empathized with a situation in which I find myself, once again. I am praying for... a very special intention!
The universal call to holiness is…an invitation to remember the sacramentality of everyday life and to realize the great goal God has set for us: sanctity….The call to sanctity is an invitation to friendship with God. It is a call that transformed the lives of the saints into gifts to the One who loved them into being….from My Life With the Saints.