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Godparents fulfill a very special role in your child’s life.
When you choose the right people for the job, your son or daughter will come away with a lifelong friend and mentor.
Figuring out who to ask among your family and friends can be a tricky task, but it’s worth taking time to make a heartfelt and informed decision.
With a little thoughtful preparation, you can be sure to make a confident pick and find the most meaningful way to present the invitation.
Choosing Who to Ask
Make a shortlist of people whose values align with your own.
You want to pick a godparent who will be a good role model and mentor for your child.
First and foremost, it should be someone that you trust and respect.
Take time to think through what qualities you most appreciate and what your priorities are.
Decide, for example, if you have preference for having a family member like a sibling be a godparent or if you’d rather have a close friend.
If political or religious beliefs are of the utmost importance to you, then pick someone with similar views.
Similarly, if you would like a person who has a positive attitude or an honest character, narrow down your list accordingly.
If it matters to you whether or not your prospective godparent is in a stable relationship or has achieved a degree of professional success, let that steer your choices.
Consider what they might offer your child that you do not.
While it’s important to have a godparent with shared values, you might also want them to bring something different to the table than what your child gets every day at home.
They will appreciate the change of pace.
For instance, is there someone more adventurous than you who could take your child out exploring or someone who works in an exciting field that she could introduce to your child?
Does one of your choices have an exceptional sense of humor or personal passion they could share?
Check the policies of your local church.
If you intend to baptize your child or belong to a specific religious denomination, your church may have particular criteria when it comes to who can serve as a godparent.
Because godparents represent the faith community during baptism ceremonies, some faiths may require one or both godparents to be of the same denomination or in good standing with the church first.
Select a person who can build a lasting relationship with your child.
You want godparents who will be accessible and take an active interest in your child’s life and well-being.
Prioritize people who are live near to you so that they can be a routine part in the child’s development.
Avoid asking people who already have multiple godchildren so that your child’s godparents do not feel overcommitted.
Take a person’s ability to assume responsibility for your child into account.
For instance, you may want to shy away from asking an aging family member who may not be up to the task or present for all of your child’s upbringing.
Making the Request
Decide when you would like to ask.
Most people wait until after their child is born, but some prefer to choose godparents during the pregnancy.
If you’re planning a baptism or other formal ceremony for your new arrival, be sure to ask your godparents at least a few months in advance so that they have plenty of time to make arrangements to be attendance.
If there are no logistical concerns, do what feels right to you.
Asking someone during the pregnancy can make people feel included in your child’s life from the very start and means that they can be involved right away after the birth.
If you hold off until after your child is born, it’s often less hectic and gives you more time to make the decision.
You can also see how prospective godparents interact with your newborn.
Schedule a meeting with the prospective godparents.
Touching base with each other will prepare prospective godparents for the role while helping you make an informed decision about who to select.
Since you’re not officially asking the person to be a godparent during this meeting, keep it informal.
Arrange a time when you see them in person or through a casual phone call.
Choose a location that fits into your normal social interaction with the person.
You also want your conversation to be as friendly and open as possible; it shouldn’t feel like job interview or interrogation.
Give your friend or family member a heads up that you’d like to discuss the possibility of them being a godparent for your child.
Telling them you’d like to chat about godparenting will allow them to consider what they think about the prospect in advance.
You could say something as simple as: “We’re trying to decide who Amy’s godparents should be.
We thought about you and were wondering if you’re interested.
If so, would you be up for discussing it when we meet?” The other advantage of mentioning this beforehand is that if they immediately react against the idea, you can cross them off the list without further ado.
Ask questions to gauge their interest and suitability.
Use your meeting to find out if the person is game, seems like the best choice for the part, and will enjoy the experience and not see it as a burden.
You may start by asking them about their godparents, if they had any.
Whether or not they had a solid relationship with their godparents, it’s a good way to segway into a discussion of what they think a good relationship between godparents and their godchild would look like.
Consider asking questions such as, “What does being a godparent mean to you?” or “What would you look forward to about mentoring Amy?” Their answers will give you a sense about how they would approach the role.
If they have responses that are enthusiastic and resonate with your ideas about godparenting, you are on the right track.
Don’t hesitate to ask about their future plans. Some relevant questions may include:
“Do you think you’ll stay in the area or are you looking to move sometime down the line?”
“Is your company likely to ask you to relocate?”
“Will your work schedule and family commitments allow you space to occasionally spend time with our child?”
Be clear about your expectations.
Being a godparent is an honor that comes with responsibility.
If you want them to take the role seriously, be up front about what sort of relationship and what kinds of interactions you would like for a godparent to have with your child.
Before you have your meeting, think about how and when you would like for them to be in touch with your child and whether you expect them to be present for birthdays, confirmations, graduations, and other milestones.
Godparents are often the people designated to take care of their children in the event anything should happen to their parents.
If you would like your prospective godparent to assume this responsibility, say so and ask them how they would feel about it.
You could ask: “If Oliver and I were to die in an accident, would you be ready and able to take care of Amy and raise her for us?”
This is the weightiest of responsibilities for a godparent, so it’s important to broach the subject.
If they’re not willing to step in as a guardian, you will have to find someone else.
Extend the invitation in a meaningful way.
You’ve done your homework, now it’s time to make the ask for this very special request.
There are plenty of thoughtful and creative ways to make new godparents feel welcomed and appreciated.
Have a family dinner in their honor.
Especially if they’re not a blood relative, this is a gesture that shows they’re a valued part of your family circle.
Send them a card with a sincere message.
Many shops and online stores carry notecards that are specifically addressed to godparents.
If you’re feeling playful, you can write the note from your child’s perspective, to let the new godparent know how much it’ll mean to your daughter or son.
Give them a framed picture of their new goddaughter or godson or include a photo in your card.
To add a bit of fun, have your child hold a sign or wear a onesie that asks the question for you.
Create a personalized gift to mark the occasion.
It could be a mug or a t-shirt with a message, like “Best Godparent,” or a piece of jewelry or a key chain with an inscription that they can carry with them as a reminder.