Godparents Are a Big Deal

Here are my thoughts on why godparents aren’t only for asking for money and gifts.

Our godparents as we know them are the people our parents chose to be our second parents or spiritual advisors, depending on how devout our families are. During baptism, the primary ninong and ninang should be the ones who will answer for the child when taking the vows, and they will be the ones who will sign the certificate.

Sometimes the primary ones are late and the secondary becomes the primary instead, especially in the provinces. Nowadays some churches are strict enough to hold a formal orientation before the actual event to “cull the unworthy”.

When I was in grade school, I was surprised that some Chinoy classmates of mine had godchildren. We were both 10 or 11 years old, and one of my friends already had 5 godchildren. Even my mother suggested my son’s cousin as godparent before his baptism. I don’t know the rationale behind that, but my mom mentioned that at least both “godparent” and godchild would grow old together.

Some parents also opt to choose a whole barangay as godparents, which can be clever or greedy depending on the social standing of the appointed. Some even go to lengths to have high-ranking officials or wealthy businesspeople become godparents because of the padrino culture.

Roles and Responsibilities of Godparents

The main role is meant to be as “spiritual advisors” as they are centered on a Catholic’s different phases of life (baptism, confirmation, marriage). However, there is also a secular component here which is to be a guardian and a mentor — these are far more important. Non-Catholics should be able to become godparents if a parent deems them worthy (a Sirius Black to every Harry Potter).

A lot of people think that godparents are meant to be sources of aginaldos during Christmas, but I disagree. Maybe it’s because when you become a godparent, it is easy to forego the role and this is how some parents “shame” you to give, even using your godchildren in visits. This could be especially hard for some because they became a godparent to dozens.

What I want to see from my kids’ godparents is not money or gifts, but presence. What I want is for them to get to know my kids. At least my kids should be able to ask for advice from them. I would want them to greet my kids Happy Birthday every year without the need of reminders or embarrassment.

I personally make it a point to inform my kids’ godparents of their current life updates now and then. And we don’t ask for gifts.

What Godparent I Would Like to Be

As much as I have great expectations for my kids’ godparents, I must admit I am not a good godparent to my godchildren. Some of them are practically adults now, and I regret that I wasn’t able to mentor them or at least be their friend while growing up.

I became a godparent due to confirmation recently and I aim to be better this time around. And one of my objectives this year is to reach out to all of my inaanaks. Hopefully, I will be able to reciprocate what I want to happen to my kids as well.

Conversely, I should also reach out to my remaining godparents and catch up with the advice I probably needed when I was growing up.

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