Many new parents, at some point, are faced with the challenge of selecting Godparents for their new baby. Traditionally, Godparents were chosen by the parents and given the responsibility of caring for a child in case something happens to the parents, like they die in a car accident or something. It was less formal in years past. More recently, only persons legally named in formal documents such as a will or trust will be permitted to serve as guardians of the child in the case both parents happen to die. But still today, people pick Godparents as part of religious ceremonies.
In many religions, Godparents are part of a ceremony for blessing, Christening, Baptizing or giving the child his or her formal name, often the case in Muslim and Jewish traditions. What usually happens is the Godparents will participate in the traditional rites, hold the baby, anoint oil on his head and just be there. The Godparent is supposed to be the spiritual guide for that child.
Think carefully and choose wisely
It’s not something to be taken lightly. Ideally, you should only pick a close friend or family member who you can envision being part of your life for the long haul. People move in and out of our lives and away from our proximity all the time so this is not always easy to do. There have been plenty of instances when parents pick a Godparent who they are very close to right after having a baby only to have that person move away and lose touch. Then the child is stuck not having an active Godparent in his or her life. In these instances, some people opt to pick more than one Godparent or sets of Godparents.
God parents are not only there just for the child’s religious rites, they can also be counted on to buy neat gifts during birthdays. They are also supposed to develop a bond with the child and make sure he/she knows that the child can come to them to talk about anything they may not feel comfortable talking to a parent.
Pick quality over quantity
By all means, you also do not want to pick a God mother or God father for superficial reasons such as the couple that purchases the most expensive gift at the shower. Also, you don’t have to pick everyone who has hinted at wanting to be a Godparent. Some friends just want the role but without the responsibility and may not show interest in the child over the child’s life. Having two quality Godparents is better than having a half a dozen deadbeat ones. By all means, you may want to consider those friends of yours who like children and certainly those that took an early interest in your baby, like the friends who visited the baby in the hospital ahead of all other friends. It would be ideal to get a person who shares your values and you can trust leaving in your child’s care whether temporarily or permanently.
Take your time
Don’t rush into the decision or be pressured. Just because someone has been hounding you to be named a Godparent or your mother insists your cousin Lou would be great because he needs some responsibility, doesn’t mean you should succumb to the pressure. That is your child and entrusting that role of Godparent onto a person is a serious decision that requires in depth discussion with your partner or spouse.
When you ask the person or persons you select to be Godparent, be prepared if they tell you “no thanks.” Some people realize the responsibility involved and may not be ready to take it on. Don’t let the person feel guilty over opting out. Most people, however, will be very happy and honored to be given that job and will beam with pride during any ceremony and afterwards.
Good luck selecting!