Happy Godparent’s Day! In the US, Godparents Day is celebrated on the first Sunday of June. I was thrilled to hear that this holiday existed. My Godparents were substitute parents for me. My primary Godmother, Aunt Sybil, was my mother’s oldest sister. She was my ‘other mother’ and teacher. She taught me about spirituality and about my Caribbean heritage. I owe her my appreciation for gardening and Diaspora cooking, especially Chinese Trinidad, Guyana food. She was my mentor, spiritual, personal, professional, and financial advisor throughout my whole life. I mentioned ‘primary’ Godmother, as I actually had another set of Godparents! Those included a paternal Protestant uncle and a maternal Buddhist/Catholic aunt (in photo above)! Godparents were also called ‘sponsors’ among some of my multicultural kinfolks.
However, Godparents can be a mixed bag. On the one hand, you have the film ‘The Godfather’ where the ‘family’ is a group of dysfunctional people with vendettas. Many of today’s modern families don’t name Godparents for their children. Some Godmothers and Godfathers lavish their Godchildren with money and gifts for every birthday and holiday imagined! Some Godparents are always available to babysit their Godchild. Some Godchildren show no appreciation for this tradition.
Becoming a Godparent: Godparenting is about religious responsibilities and being a support to the parents. An important point here is that in some cultures, you have the right and duty to stand up to the parent if they are not being good parents! Usually Godparents are asked to participate in the Christening and Baptism of a child and sometimes an adult. There are religious rites and duties for being a Godparent and a Godchild! Many people choose Godparents for their children to honor a friendship. Some people choose for financial reasons. It’s up to you to decided whether you accept this honored role. No matter the reason, being a Godparent is all about being a positive role model to a child. It’s also up to you to decide if you will choose a Godparent for your child. If you do, how will you decide who will make a good Godparent for your child?
Being a Godchild: I always took my role as a Goddaughter serious. I believe the basic rules: Be there! Show up in every way you can! I called and visited my Godmother often throughout my whole life. I became her daughter and right-hand person as much as I could until she transitioned. I also had adopted Godmothers from among neighbors and friend’s parents, especially during my teen years and young adulthood! It’s important for Godchildren to understand that it’s a relationship. They should remember their Godparent’s birthday, Christmas and more.
As a genealogist, I found important family history in religious documents such as Baptisms, Christenings, and Bible records. (The above document is my brother Sidney’s Baptism record in the Episcopal Church. He was also Baptized in a Catholic Church, as mentioned in blog post below.)These religious ceremony documents also provide needed legal value too! Here’s a related excerpt from my past blog post: “Many mothers delay naming their children,” said an NYC official who requested anonymity. As a genealogist trying to prove a client’s identity, my first thought was to go to church—in this case, the Roman Catholic Church.” To read more, click here.
How do you honor your Godparents? How did/would you choose a Godmother or Godfather for your child?