What godparents are really for

Long before the viral post of the godmother who felt harassed by the parent of her godchild went viral, I have been planning to write something about godparents and what they should really be for.

When we are tempted to go on a hunt for the seemingly elusive godparent who you think is obliged to give the child a gift every Christmas, remind yourself what godparents are really for.

Their role in your child’s life is waaay more important than the money you expect them to shell out every Christmas, much more meaningful than that gift you’re expecting them to give.

Their role as godparents is to help you guide and raise the child. In your absence godparents are to treat your kids like family, if you’re lucky they are to treat them like their own. When it’s time for you to leave your kids forever hopefully their godparents will be there for them– to help them grieve, heal, and carry on.

The godparents are there to be part of your child’s support system, so as he grows up he has more people to turn to in times of trouble, and not just financial trouble.

Your child’s godparents should be people you trust to give proper guidance, sound advice, and reliable support. They are to stay connected throughout the child’s life to provide a sense of security.

We as parents are supposed to nurture our child’s relationship with the godparents, help them see these people not as cash cows, and gift factories but as family, as people they can turn to most importantly for emotional or spiritual support. People who will have their best interest at heart.

We are to bring them closer to their godparents and ask not gifts for our children but time and a promise. A promise that they will try their very best to be a part of our child’s life all throughout, a promise that they will look out for our kids.

A godparent who stays connected throughout your child’s life, who checks on your child often, who makes himself or herself available for conversations and consultations, who visits and spends time with your child, and who will always want the best for your child is much more important than one who sends money but is almost always nowhere to be found, who sends gifts but doesn’t care much about your children.

This year, maybe it’s time for us to stop asking for gifts and start asking for time instead. Maybe it’s time for us parents to stop keeping tabs on how much cash so and so godparent was able to give and how much so and so wasn’t able to shell out. Maybe it’s time for us to nurture our children’s relationships with their godparents, it’s time for us to make them part of our children’s lives the whole year ’round and not just every Christmas.

Author: Loraine Balita-Centeno

I'm a Manila based journalist who's been working in the industry for 12 years. I've written pieces for newspapers and magazines based in Manila and some abroad. I'm a work-at-home-mom of two so I spend my days writing or editing with a toddler clamped around one leg and a pre-schooler asking me questions every 10 minutes.

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