Asking another person to step into the family unit with the integral role of an additional spiritual advisor to your child should not be taken as lightly as this decision often is.
It is my personal belief that in society today, we have gotten away from the true nature of what Godparents are chosen for. Instead of choosing “spiritual parents” as their purpose is intended, some consider who would give the most lavish gifts, or merely chose someone out of some deeply felt obligation. Or worse, with no real thought behind the choice at all. When you re-frame the thought of Godparents and think of them in terms of their being spiritual mentors to your child, you can then see the importance of whom you chose. Someone who is grounded in and lives their faith, someone who believes in the core values that you wish to instill in your child, and someone who compliments your parenting style are fundamental. These chosen people must have the prior qualities, coupled with the ability to form their own unique relationship with your child. Four people teaching the same principles is far more effective than two.
Michael and I have been very blessed to have the absolute best when it comes to Godparents. Unfortunately, we have seen the other side of good God-parenting as well. I have the best Godmother of all time, but my Godfather has long fallen away from me and our family. Michael has the very best Godfather, but has the same luck with his Godmother as I had with my Godfather. Yet, our Godparents that remain have carried a special bond with us, and enough spiritual guidance for two people. My Godmother is a true lightworker, she is nurturing and kind. She has a ton of very unique life experiences that helped her form a very special relationship with God. She completely understands me and laid a foundation of trust and God very early on with me. She is of a different faith than I how grew up, but in her and my mother’s eyes, Jesus is Jesus, God is God. I was able to get many different perspectives from her and she has introduced me and my entire family to a wonderful culture and her extended family has now become part of our extended family. Both of my Grandmothers adored her when they were alive, and my aunts and uncles cannot get enough of her. My mother chose someone for me that brought a wonderful and rich dynamic into our entire family unit, that has blessed us all.
I can call my Godmother or stop by at anytime day or night, and ask her about anything from the bible to how to re-align my chakras. She knows that everything is God and that everything is connected as everything is a creation of HIM. From aliens to penises – there is no topic that she does not have a hilarious opinion on and I love her very much. My Godmother walks her faith daily and brings God in everything she does and in every interaction that she has with her kindness and her ability to talk to anyone about any subject. Michael is more quiet about his relationship with his Godfather as men often are on subjects of this nature. But I know that the early morning surfing expeditions with his Godfather while lingering in the serenity of the ocean, which is a powerful God force, helped shape who he has become. It most definitely reinforced the belief system that his mother instilled in him very early on. That is how Michael and I view Godparents…as reinforcement.
The way that we see it, if we truly believe that our chosen Godparents are to reinforce the core values we believe in, as well as help in the pouring of the foundation of our son, we have to put heavy consideration into whom we choose. We can’t teach Dylan acceptance of others if who we chose as a spiritual mentor is racist. We can’t teach him to value people over things if who we chose values money over relationships. We can’t teach Dylan about respecting his parents if who we chose does not respect one of us. We can’t teach him to love God when who we chose doesn’t have a relationship with God themselves. If we want to teach Dylan about forming bonds inside of a family unit, we cannot chose to bring someone into the unit that does not have respect for all of our unit’s members. And if we are to teach Dylan about trusting people, we can’t chose for him a Godparent that will end up getting bored and abandoned him, especially since we know what that feels like ourselves. Being a Godparent is a privilege that takes work and what I like to call “relationship sweat equity”, and I know this because I am a, not so great, Godparent myself.
I was very young when I was chosen as a Godmother and I feel now that my Aunt was giving me a gift and I cannot say that I have lived up to my privilege. I didn’t have enough life under my belt, but I see now that being a younger Godparent could have been to my advantage. It would have given me the edge to be able to identify with my Godson. The problem was, I didn’t know where I stood in my faith. I grew up a devout Catholic in a devout Italian Roman Catholic family. By the time I was 17 and in Catholic high school, I started to question my religion, and question it often. While growing up in a Catholic household, I was also taught by my peace loving parents about diversity, and to love and accept everyone, and to turn the other cheek. I was taught to help people, and if you cannot help them, then at least don’t hurt them. In short, I grew up with a “it is ok to be you and for me to be me” type of mentality. Then I would go to church and hear nothing but condemnation if you do not believe this, and fear the rath of God if you do that. By the time I was in my late 20’s, during the midst of the hypocrisy of sexual deviation, I had walked away from the church completely, choosing instead to pray on my own and to follow the Buddhist philosophy. I never left God, I just left the brick and mortar house where I worshiped him. I had to then take the time to challenge what I actually believed, and what the Catholic churched instilled in me with fear. I have since grown closer to God and I have my own personal walk with him.
Until this happened to me, I just never felt that I could be a good Godparent…and now I know better. I know that when my Godson was struggling at the exact same time as I was, I could have walked beside him. We may have ended up in different places, but we may have ended up with a unique bond of finding our own spirituality together. As always in life, looking back now there are a million things that I would do differently, but I cannot. All I can do is apply this life learning experience to the future and to my half of choosing a spiritual mentor for our son. The world is what it is. Society will always change and it is hard enough keeping children on the right path. It truly takes a village to raise the next generation of a healthy society, and we can start by hand picking those that can help when we have the ability to so. Dylan is blessed with a large and loving family as well as family friends, and friends of mine that have all become part of our extended family. In order to keep “our village” healthy and viable, Michael and I choose to love and accept everyone, but only bring in close those that can grow the village. Now what better place to start than with whom we chose to help grow Dylan’s spirituality, and walk with us in the name of God.