Godparent and ChildTraditionally, godparents were named when a baby was christened to be responsible for raising the child should anything happen to the parents. During the Middle Ages, it was practically a legal position. At one time, the godparent hosted the baptism of the child and acted as a guarantor for the spiritual upbringing of the child. Sometimes, parents were allowed to sponsor their child at the baptism, but in the early days of the church this practice was prohibited. Typically, one or two godparents are chosen. Usually, the parents choose one male and one female godparent, but in 14th-century Spain, up to 20 godparents could be chosen. If three sponsors are selected, it's typically two of the same sex of the child and one of the opposite- but you can have more. Prince George has six godparents.

The Catholic Church has canon law about choosing godparents as sponsors for babies who are being baptized. If you're baptizing your child in the Church, you will want to check with your spiritual leader about the prerequisites for being a godparent. The individual may need to belong to the same faith and live according to certain principles. While there are some lessons that can be learned from church law, not everyone belongs to a faith. For the nonreligious, you'll most likely have more freedom in choosing your child's godparents.

What Do You Expect From The Godparents?

Before selecting godparents, you need to know what role the godparents will play in your child's life. Your expectations are important. Here are some of the things that godparents often do:

  • Be present at the celebrations of the child's life and development
  • Nurture the godchild's faith (if relevant)
  • Help the parents
  • Do good works with the child
  • Become the legal guardian of the child if the parents should pass

In some cultures, the godfather names the child. If you want the godparents to raise the child in case something happens to you, it's best to speak to a legal planner who can ensure your wishes are followed and deal with the transfer of finances and other legalities. You need to consider the traditions of you and your spouse to decide what you want out of the relationship.

Choosing a Godparent

Even if you aren't spiritual, you probably want your child to have another adult role model in his or her life. Today's families are much more mobile than that of one or two generations ago. Family members are usually considered first, but close friends may be capable of taking the role. Think about the age of the sponsors you're choosing. You want these people to be around for the child during his or her life. Choosing an elderly aunt or uncle might not be the best choice. You should also think about someone with the same values as you. Don't choose someone out of a sense of obligation. Although you do want someone who is stable, it's wrong to choose godparents based on the potential for financial contributions for the child.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when choosing godparents is expecting those individuals to be gift-givers. Most godparents want to give their godchildren nice presents, but that is not the intent of being a sponsor. The important role is in giving the child love and nurturing their personal development. You want this person who is standing beside you at the baptism to offer the child a relationship and friendship. It's more than a simple ceremonial position. Help your child develop a rapport with his or her godparents. You want good people who will help guide your child in the right direction. Godparents are often extra support in raising a child. Choose well to give your child the right person to trust.

Category: Society

legal relationships family

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