We started our own family tradition 4 years ago. We were not able to attend Forgiveness Vespers and were bummed out about it. That night, my husband and I gathered all the kids before going to bed for evening prayers. At the end of our prayers, we all stood in a circle and each one of us asked every person in the family to forgive us. It wasn't just a blanket "forgive me" either. We would ask forgiveness for specific things we had done to hurt the other person. Most years, we've started from youngest to oldest. (Ages 2 and under - we would kiss them and say "forgive me". Ages 2 - 3, we prompted them to say "forgive me" and nothing more. Ages 4 and up would ask specifics for forgiveness but we didn't do any prompting what so ever.) This is year we started from oldest to youngest. i.e. Dad started
Last night we gathered all the kids yet again for our family forgiveness prayers. (In addition to Forgiveness Vespers at church) The kids absolutely amaze us with the level of sincerity and accuracy in which they ask each member of the family for forgiveness. They each take it very seriously and several of us cried. It forms a closeness between each of us that I cannot even begin to describe.
I am so happy with the level of peace I have today to begin Great Lent.