14 November 2010

Being a godparent

My godchild when she was three

Today is the birthday of my godchild Gia-Hân (aka Noa). Children grow up so fast, she is five already. Besides from being my godchild, she is also one of my younger nieces. Having a godparent is pretty normal for a Christian, but what does it mean to be a godparent?

Being a godparent has got a lot of different meanings and, according to your church, it depends on a few things whether you can be a godparent or not. I’m catholic so I have to fulfil the following requirements:

‘A godparent must normally be an appropriate person, at least sixteen years of age, a confirmed Catholic who has received Eucharist, not under any canonical penalty, and may not be the parent of the child. Someone who belongs to another Christian church cannot become a godparent but can be a 'witness' in conjunction with a Catholic sponsor. A witness does not have any religious role recognized by the Church.’ - Wikipedia

In the olden days, it was the godparents their responsible to ensure that the child's religious education was carried out. And if something would happen to the parents of the godchild, it is the godparents’ responsibility to take care of the child. As time changes, tradition changes as well. Nowadays, the word godparent does not always have the religious overtone anymore. The modern view of a godparent tends to be an individual chosen by the parents to take an interest in the child's upbringing and personal development.

Gia-Hân showing her fancy-fair prices

Within my family it is a bit of old and new tradition. I think that my parents’ generation are still pretty strict. My sister’s generation is slightly moving towards the new tradition and my generation is more laid back about it. Nevertheless, I do my best to be a good godmother. It is a responsibility that I have taken on so I must carry it out as well.

Sometimes I have my doubts about the choices of other godparents. The parents of the child are free to ask whomever they think are suitable to be their child’s godparent. In my opinion some people say take on this ‘job’ without truly knowing what it means to be one. It’s not just a ‘deed’ that you do during the baptism, it is a lifelong commitment.

Auntie & Niece - Godmother & Godchild

Although Noa is my niece, I thought long and well before I made the decision to actually become her godmother. Of course I care about her, but taking on this responsibility is not something to take lightly. In the end, I’m very happy and proud to have her as my godchild. She turned five today and has a whole life still ahead of her. And as long as I’m still here, I’ll be there to witness and guide her through every phase of her life.
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