Choosing A Godparent
To quote Jesus Christ, the founder of the Christian church and therefore godparents as well, “Let not your heart be troubled.” Hopefully, you’re reading this a little earlier than a month before your baby’s baptism, and hopefully you’ve already given some thought as to who you’ll want to name as godparents in the baptismal registry for your child. Either way, whether you’re completely prepared for everything months in advance (like my wife), or you0 wake up every day in a panic because you’re having to wing something you forgot about (like me), this article should help ease the process of selecting the man and woman who’ll be helping to raise your child spiritually.
What Is A Godparent?
Do I Choose Friend or Family?
Family seems like the obvious choice for most people, but like I said earlier, you want the right spiritual mentor for your child. If no one in your family is very spiritual, a close friend might be the better option. Assuming that you’re reading this as a practicing Catholic (or any of the other denominations that baptize infants), I’d recommend you pray on the matter first and foremost. Ask God to help you choose the right godparent for your child. If anyone’s interested in you finding the right godparent, it’d be Him, right? If you are a Christian, ask God for guidance in choosing the right person. If you’re not a Christian and are doing this for the sake of a religious spouse . . . good for you. It takes an incredible person to be that gracious, so kudos.
Regardless of your faith, you’ll really want to know the person you end up choosing. I mean really know them. If they’re godparenting right, they’ll be spending a lot of time with your child. They’ll be shaping and influencing them as they journey through life. You want to make sure you share the values they’re imparting to your child in his or her formative years. A close family member makes this easy. You would’ve seen their spiritual habits growing up and had many years to learn about what kind of person they truly are.
However, I wouldn’t go with family just because they’re family. If Uncle Joe thinks he was born to be your baby’s godparent but you know he has serious problems with drinking and pornography,it’s better to give him a dose of painful truth rather than let your child have a spiritual mentor who might teach them to condone bad behavior. A close friend might be the better option in that case. Somebody you grew up with, or even just a good friend you’ve known for a few years can make an ideal godparent. But I must again stress the importance of knowing the person. Knowing their heart. Knowing how they react when life isn’t going their way. If you’re not planning to have a child for a few years and have no one selected, go ahead and start looking now. Spend a lot of time with the people you’re considering as godparents and check in regularly.
If you have no friends or family to choose from, maybe because you’re brand spanking new to the Christian to scene, you could ask the priest or pastor of your church. They usually know the members of their congregation inside and out and should be able to guide you in the right direction.
Good Godparent Qualities
The required qualities of a godparent depend on the denomination of your church, but as I said above, to officially be listed as a godparent in the baptismal registry of most churches, the person must be a practicing member of the church in good standing who has been baptized themselves. Keep in mind, those are the required qualities. But you never go to the supermarket and just grab the first carton of milk you see, right? You check the expiration first. You want to make sure you’re getting good milk. It’s the same with church people. There are many people who have the appearance of clean outward lives but have hearts as black as coal dust. So don’t stop at what’s required. Your child deserves better than the bare minimum.
However, the ideal Christian life is not just what we see. The inner life, things like prayer, bible reading, and scripture meditation are just as important. A person that practices these disciplines regularly will usually live a clean outward life as a byproduct of their clean inner life. That’s where getting to know your future godparent comes into play. You need to spend enough time with the person to see their lives from every angle, see how they react in times of success and tragedy. Do they pray regularly and not just when things are going bad? Do they bring up scripture whenever you ask for advice? Do they turn the other cheek when they’re insulted and wish good things for those that offend them? Jesus did, and the ideal godparent should do their best to as well.
Don’t Forget To Ask!
I think this goes without saying for most people, but since I’d totally be the one to name someone a godparent without asking them, I’ll conclude with it. Ask the person you’re considering as a godparent about it in advance.They might not want the responsibility! Like I said earlier, it’s no small thing to be a child’s spiritual mentor. You may have thought a lot about your ideal godparent, but their feelings are equally important. You don’t want to force them into a situation where they say yes because they fear disappointing you when it’s not something they really want to do. At the same time, I wouldn’t mention it until you really get to know the person. You don’t want them pretending to be something they’re not just to please you.