A Guide to Choosing Godparents for Your Baby

Choosing godparents for your baby is not an easy task. It ranks right up there with choosing a baby name. Asking someone close to you to be a godparent is a really big deal, like asking someone to walk you down the aisle at your wedding. Whether your intention is for a godparent to become a spiritual aide or simply a good role model, there are many things to consider before you make the final call. Here’s a guide to choosing godparents for your baby.


What is the role of a godparent after all?

Historically, choosing godparents was thought to be a religious decision. At an official baptism ceremony, new parents would assign the godparent title to two adults, of the same religion, to be lifelong religious guides for their baby. The purpose was to help the child have a better understanding of God. These days, many parents are taking the spiritual element out of the equation and simply choosing people they want their child to look up to as a role model. It’s also a nice way to include close friends and family in the baptism ceremony. There are also many parents who aren’t religious or who forego a baptism, but still want godparents for their child.


A godparent is not a legal guardian

One of the most common misconceptions surrounding godparents is that if something happens to the parent, it’s the godparent’s responsibility to look after the child. This is not typically the case. The only caveat is if your will states that the godparents would become legal guardians of your child if you die or can no longer offer adequate care. In most cases, choosing godparents for your baby is about finding a role model or a spiritual guide for your child.


Do I have to choose godparents for my baby?

The short answer is no. The exception to this rule is for parents who are religious and desire to have their child baptised. In that case, you’ll need to choose godparents before the baptism ceremony takes place. The other consideration is if you wish to send your child to a religious school. Those types of schools usually ask for proof of baptism, so in that case you’ll need to select godparents before they start the admissions process.


Tips for choosing godparents for your baby

Some families select one godmother or godfather, and others decide on a set of godparents. Recent trends even show some parents selecting more than one set as it’s too difficult to narrow down who to choose. In either case, making the choice is not an easy one, and is a really big deal for the person you ask. How do you go about even narrowing down who could serve as the perfect godparents? Here are some tips that might help your selection process.


Consider someone who you can count on

This person carries the job of being a good role model for your child and should therefore be available for conversation, accessible and happy to be someone who you can count on. For this reason, family members make excellent choices because it’s hard to disconnect from blood relatives. Likewise, stay away from the friends who you’ve their questioned loyalty or ability to be there for you. These friends would likely not make good godparents.


Look for the positive influences

When you think of your candidates, does a warm, kind, thoughtful person come to mind? Is this a person you trust and respect? The most important factor to consider is someone who would be a positive influence on your child. Another way of narrowing the selection down is to think about skills that someone might bring to the table that you don’t have. It could be musical abilities, a specific type of intellect, cultural experiences, etc.


Don’t succumb to peer pressure when choosing

Sadly, the godparent selection process can get political for some families. Best friends or certain family members may feel as though they should be chosen and that’s not the kind of pressure you need for this important decision. If you’re nervous about upsetting someone, that’s not a good reason for choosing someone. Hurt feelings always subside, you truly want the best person for the role.


Communicate your expectations when narrowing down your options

Sometimes people say yes to becoming a godparent but they don’t really know what that means for you. Be open and communicate your expectations up front so that they are clear on what you’re hoping they will provide to your child. And it’s ok if someone turns down the role if they feel they can’t meet your expectations. Respect their decision and ability to be upfront and honest. Remember, it’s about what’s best for your child.   

  

Choosing a godparent for your baby is an important decision not to be taken likely. And you may even come to the conclusion that it’s simply too hard to choose at all. That’s ok! Plenty of people will end up becoming role models to your child without even trying. It’s the beauty of life.

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