The office of godfather and godmother is widespread throughout the world and is highly recognized in society. The godfather or godmother has the task of accompanying the godchild until it reaches adulthood and acting as a bridge between the child and its parents in difficult situations.
However, when fulfilling the role of godfather, it is important in any case to pay attention to what kind of sponsorship it is, what duties and tasks are associated with it, and whether you can bear the resulting responsibility.
In the following, we have compiled all the important information about sponsorship and give you a brief insight into your possible duties and pitfalls and offer suggestions for solutions.
Table of contents
Who Will Be Godfather Or Godmother?
The decision about who becomes godfather or godmother is made by the parents of the godchild. The associated responsibility as godfather or godmother cannot be borne by just anyone in the circle of acquaintances or friends, so the parents choose the ideal godfather or godmother themselves before the baptism.
Of course, several godparents and godfathers can be chosen, but care should be taken to ensure that the individual godparents can build up a good and trustworthy relationship with the child and are not chosen on the basis of sympathy alone.
For example, it can make sense to name a godmother or godfather within the family. These not only know the parents particularly well, but are also already related to the child and can therefore build up a close bond much more quickly.
Another advantage of this sponsorship is continuity and consistency. While friendships can break up, this happens less often in families.
In addition, when choosing a godparent, attention can also be paid to whether the godfather or godmother already has several godchildren and may therefore be less able to fulfill his duties and responsibilities.
The same applies to a godfather or godmother with children of their own. Although they have more experience in dealing with children and can therefore also be helpful support for the parents during this time, they are often very busy, so that here, too, consistency cannot be guaranteed.
In the case of childless sponsors, on the other hand, there is often not only more available time, but also a strong sense of caring, which can have a positive effect on the sponsorship. The same applies to older godparents and godfathers.
Not only do they have more time, but thanks to their life experience, they are ideally placed to offer advice and support to the child and parents in difficult situations.
These Are The Duties And Responsibilities Of A Godparent
As a godfather or godfather you can unfortunately not read your rights and duties anywhere, because duties, rules and tasks of a godfather are not clearly regulated by law and also church. Rather, it is a moral covenant between child and godparent.
No matter what your motivation is for becoming a godfather or godmother: The most important task of the godparent is to accompany the child as it grows up and in all life situations.
The godfather is not only the contact person for the child but also for the parents and even counts as a deputy educational authority. As a godfather or godmother you can support your protégé as well as the parents in difficult times.
The Request For Sponsorship
The request to a potential godfather or godmother is very simple: You simply ask. This can be done in an uncomplicated and verbal way or with a letter and a small gift.
Taking on the sponsorship of a child is not only a great honor, but also requires a lot of sensitivity, good cooperation with the parents, and a lot of contact with the child. So before you become a godfather or godmother, it may be wise to first consider whether you are aware of this responsibility and want to take it on.
If you are unclear about the assignment and duties, a discussion with the parents can also be helpful. You can clarify together what the parents want for the child and how you as godmother or godfather can fulfill this requirement.
You may also realize right away that this job is not really made for you. In this way, you save both sides a lot of suffering because if you are later unable to fulfill your duties as a godparent at the decisive moment, the annoyance will be even greater than if you had refused in good time.
The Duration Of The Sponsorship
Depending on the type of sponsorship, it can last a lifetime or only until the child reaches the age of majority or until confirmation. The latter two occasions occur exclusively when you become a godparent. After confirmation or confirmation, the godfather is usually released from his office, since the child is granted religious maturity with the receipt of this sacrament.
Of course, as a godfather you can still have very good contact with your godchild and continue to accompany it as it grows up. From a purely formal point of view on the part of the church, however, you have fulfilled your duty.
However, if you should consider leaving the church during the sponsorship, your religious sponsorship will also expire from the church’s point of view. From that point on, you are only a baptismal witness and may practice free sponsorship.
Customs And Gifts For The Godchild
Depending on whether the child is baptized Link or not, different customs and gifts are common with the beginning of the sponsorship. If you have become a godparent, religious content is more prominent in the sponsorship.
For example, as a godparent you are responsible for the baptismal chain, the baptismal candle, baptismal gifts and the baptismal letter. You will receive the latter from the pastor of the respective parish after you have declared your willingness to be a godparent.
At the baptism of the child, you stand as godfather or godmother either alone or together with the other godparents next to the child, hand over the baptismal candle, the baptismal necklace and express your wishes for the child in the form of intercessions.
Even in the following years, especially in the case of religious godparents, faith is still in the foreground of your activity as godparent. It is your task as godmother or godfather to pass on Christian values to your godchild.
This can be done in many different ways: Many godparents give their godchildren a children’s Bible, a prayer cube or a prayer chain. However, it is also possible to accompany the child regularly to church services as soon as he or she is old enough, or to communicate the faith in an appealing way in personal conversations.
If you do not carry out a religious sponsorship, the faith is correspondingly less in the foreground. In this case, like a godparent, you can give your godchild gifts according to your wishes and those of the parents and accompany it as it grows up.
Particularly popular here are gifts of money in the form of reserves and savings accounts, so that the child has small financial security with the age of majority. Keep in mind here that a regular presence and continuous contact with the child are imperative in order to establish a good relationship of trust with the child.
How Can You Successfully Master The Godparenthood?
Becoming a godmother or godfather is not difficult; however, performing the job regularly and dutifully can present some difficulties. Sometimes, for example, the place of residence changes and the child can no longer be visited regularly.
Likewise, it can become complicated if there was a dispute with one or even both parents. Therefore, in order for the sponsorship to be a complete success, some basic tips and advice should be followed.
Every sponsorship is accompanied by expectations on the part of the parents, which are rarely communicated openly. For this reason, it can be useful if you seek contact with the parents of your future godchild right at the beginning and clarify what expectations they have of you.
It can also be helpful if you, as the godparent, explain right away which tasks and duties you can fulfill and which are difficult for you to implement. In this way, you can eliminate potential conflicts right away.
Sponsorship Without Faith And Religion?
The original form of sponsorship comes from the church and begins with the baptism of the baby. This is always associated with the religious education of the child.
Since today, however, fewer and fewer parents attach importance to a Christian upbringing and faith and religion and church are no longer decisive reasons for a godparenthood, the mission should also be clarified here.
Simply sit down with the parents and ask them about their Christian educational mission. You can also exchange ideas about church and faith with the parents and ask them about their wishes. At the end of this conversation, you should ultimately decide for yourself whether you can do justice to this request and, of course, whether you want to do so at all.
Likewise, it is also possible to carry out a sponsorship without church faith. In this case, it is important to teach values and values education, for example, on topics of equality, diversity and helpfulness.
To ensure that you follow the same values as the child’s parents, it is helpful to regularly discuss these issues with them and clarify your responsibilities.
Gifts For The Sponsored Child
Although children are still very happy to receive gifts, especially in the single-digit years of their lives, this is another area where it counts: Less is more. The time factor could be more important here than material gifts because ultimately it is about developing a good relationship with the child.
For this, fewer gifts are helpful and instead rather trips to the playground or on small adventures. It is also particularly important to be present on the big days – such as school enrollment, baptisms, birthdays or even important holidays – and to spend a lot of time with the child.
Then, once the child is a little older, outings and experiences become far more important than material gifts. To start as early as possible, you could plan a small outing or activity with the child for every important event. Over time, this can become a tradition.
Some of the most traditional gifts for a godchild include:
- Christening candle
- Christening chain
- Prayer cube
- Children’s Bible with dedication
- Baptism book
In general, however, anything that you personally find meaningful is fine.
What Can Parents Expect From A Godfather Or Godmother?
Depending on the arrangement with the parents, different priorities can be decisive for a good sponsorship. Although you as a godparent have a substitute function in the upbringing, you can be consulted by the parents in many situations.
In addition, your regular presence is important for the child and the parents. Therefore, you should be sure to visit the child on the following occasions:
Even if you are not always present as a sponsor, you should visit your protégé on his or her birthday at the latest. If this is not possible, a phone call is always very popular with children.
Unlike cards, which they can’t read yet, or gifts, where they don’t always know where they came from, your voice is clearly associated with your person. So if a visit doesn’t work out, just give your protégé a call and offer your congratulations.
Regular experiences are important for a good bond between sponsor and child. Experiencing something together provides the ideal breeding ground for a rich relationship. Therefore, it can be useful if you simply join the child on excursions to the zoo, the swimming pool, or even short vacation trips and spend time with the child.
The first day of school is undoubtedly the most important day of the child’s young years. You should not miss this occasion. Together you can remember this day years later thanks to pictures and impressive moments and smile together about school cones and school outfit.
For Extraordinary Events
These include not only outings, but also parental vacations. Sometimes it can be very practical to take care of the child for a weekend while the parents take a little time off. This way you can experience the child’s everyday life and get a good insight into that world, which in turn can be very helpful for bonding.
Conclusion And Outlook
Filling out a good sponsorship for a child is not an easy task. All the more it is important and necessary to align expectations together with the parents. In addition, you should take your time and think through your decision regarding a sponsorship well.
Many appointments and some responsible tasks will come up to you. On the other hand, you will have the valuable opportunity to accompany a child as it grows up and to help it with words and deeds.
Once you have decided with all your heart to become a sponsor and the contact to the parents is sympathetic and stable, nothing can go wrong.