How to Pick Godparents

Godparents playing with Godchild

Godparents playing with Godchild

Picking Godparents: A Weighty Decision

When you’re having a child, there are so many decisions to be made. How will you decorate the nursery? What will you name your new little one? But one of the most important decisions you’ll make is the choice of godparents. What is a godparent? For some people, it’s a religious designation, but it doesn’t have to be. A godparent is an adult friend, an adviser, and another person in the child’s life to serve as a watchful eye and listening ear.

What does godparent mean to you?

In Christianity, a godparent acts as a sponsor when a baby receives the sacrament of Baptism into the family’s faith. Traditionally, parents would choose two godparents who share their faith, to help the child grow and be strengthened in the knowledge of God. Families who are not religious can still choose godparents, just to give their child good adult role models and further support in life. In this case, parents can pick as many godparents as they want. Godparents may be a strong religious force in a child’s life, or they may just be a source of love and support for the family.

Are godparents legal guardians?

It’s a common misconception that godparents are assigned to take custody of the child if something happens to the parents. This is not the case, though you can specify in your will that your child’s godparents will take this role. The act of making them godparents does not, in and of itself, designate them as guardians. It’s more about choosing someone who shares your sensibilities, to help you guide the child through life.

Choosing Godparents

In the Catholic church, the rules regarding godparents are strict. Godparents must be chosen by the parents or guardian, cannot be the child’s mother or father, and must be at least 16 years old. They must be Christians, and at least one must be a Catholic. Outside of the Catholic church, however, the choice is pretty much up to you as a parent. Choose carefully, because this is as much a responsibility as it is an honor. Think about the attributes this person has that you’d like to see passed along to your child. Consider how their influence will affect your little one as he or she grows to adulthood. Look for someone who is a permanent fixture in your life, someone reliable, who you would trust to pass along your beliefs if you were gone. When you’re narrowing down your list, talk seriously with potential godparents, making sure each is aware of your expectations. Don’t let peer pressure or family politics come into play; choose the people you believe will be the possible godparents for your child.

How to Ask Someone to Be a Godparent

Again, when you are a member of a Catholic Church, there are more requirements. Some parishes require a letter of recommendation from the godparent, along with documentation of their church membership and their understanding of this important role. If you are not a Catholic, you have a little bit more flexibility, but it’s nice to ask before the child s born. Look for a way to make the moment memorable, perhaps with a heartfelt card or personalized gift.

Celebrating with the Godparents

The sacrament of Baptism is a celebration in and of itself, but the birth of every baby is a celebratory event! There is no one way to mark the occasion, so you have near endless opportunity to make it uniquely you. A party in which you welcome your new little one into the world and honor the people you’ve chosen to be godparents can be a fun and memorable event, but there are other ways to observe this important moment, too. You could plant a tree with the godparents or bury a time capsule for the child to find in a decade or two. You might also ask the godparents to write letters to the baby for the child to read later in life.

Bringing New Life Into the World

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