By: Maralee McKee, Manners Mentor
You were asked to be the Godmother of your dear friend’s baby. When first asked, you were humbled, surprised and a little anxious. Mostly, though, you were happy and honored!
Since denominations and churches have different guidelines on who can and can’t be a Godparent, ranging from “no guidelines at all” to a lengthy list of personal and spiritual prerequisites, you did your research online and then contacted the church personally to double check. All was well, and you said yes to the parents.
The ceremony was meaningful! The reception was memorable!
Ava’s parents loved the perfect “Godmother gifts” you gave her.
Something for her future, a tiny white New Testament to carry on her wedding day. And something for now, the softest baby lamb plush animal you’ve ever felt. It’s sure to become her favorite lovie. The one she’ll cuddle with every night of childhood.
It just hit you: being the Godmother of an infant is easy, but like all Godmothers, you signed on for your lifetime.
What are you supposed to do for Ava over the next thirty years or longer? What does it look like to be the Godmother of a ten-year-old, an eighteen-year-old and a thirty-eight-year-old? What if Ava’s parents ask you to be the Godmother of any future children they have, too? Is being the Godmother of a boy any different than being the Godmother of a girl? Questions begin to swirl. What have you gotten yourself into?
This important role takes:
Keep those three traits at the center of your heart in your dealings with Ava as she grows from infant, to teen, to adult, and you’re going to be a fantastic Godmother — a blessing and role model to her throughout your life.
If you’re wondering how to live out your love, availability, and intentionality towards your Godchildren over the years, keep reading. Below are the top five ways for doing just that!
Also, check out this post for extra tips on The Roles of Godparents.
Five Ways to Be a Fantastic Godmother
1. Be the Fun “Aunt”:
Especially when Godchildren are young, enjoy being their indulgent, doting “aunt.” I’m not suggesting you buy your way into their heart with toys, trips to theme parks and gallons of ice cream. Sure, when you can, treat them to some bonding over mint chocolate chip. However, it’s the bonding that’s most important. And, with children, fun is the quickest way to their heart. Mix the fun with your undivided attention and you’ve got the perfect foundation for building a lifetime of trust and respect. (Not to mention you’re giving mom a nice break for the day.)
2. Make Time Together a Priority:
If you live close, make monthly or quarterly dates where you do something special together. An afternoon in the park, a trip to the science center or zoo, and a G-rated movie followed by lunch at Chick-fil-A are all fun and inexpensive outings. A day at your house making crafts, coloring, playing in the yard, or baking cookies are great, too. The options for fun and conversation are limitless.
Maintaining a close connection is vital to being a good Godmother. When your Godchildren are young, your time together is setting the stage for moving from doting aunt to the trusted and respected confidante and advice giver you’ll want to be in their teen and adult years.
3. Keep Connected Even if Miles Separate You:
If you don’t live close, connect with them via FaceTime, Google Chat or Skype so that it feels more like one-on-one time. When they’re young, you could even send copies of coloring page(s) in advance, color together as you chat, and then compare pictures.
When Godchildren are in their teen years, send them private messages on Facebook, text them a weekly hello, send a Vine video or Snapchat photo, or use whatever social media platform they enjoy. If some of those terms sound foreign to you, Google them. Keep current so that you can relate to your Godchildren on their terms at this point in their life. It will help you keep the bond first formed in childhood, and strengthen it, so they turn to you, someone who has their best at heart, when they seek advice in the shaky ground of their teen years.
4. Cards and Gifts are Part of the Connection with Godchildren:
Remember important holidays and their birthdays with cards. Make sure to include a letter. If they are still young, they won’t fully appreciate your letter, but mom will keep it for them, and when they’re older, they will know that you’ve always been there. A gift isn’t a necessity, but if it’s at all in your budget, one is usually sent at these same times. You can stop after they graduate from high school, or like most moms do, Godmothers can continue to remember these dates throughout life.
5. Most Importantly, Keep God in “God”-parent:
Godparents are spiritual examples to their Godchildren of how to relate to, pray to, trust, lean on, love, worship and honor God. While the task is first and foremost the parents’, as Godparent, you’re also there to be a living example. Pray continuously for your Godchildren. Grow in your relationship with the Lord so that they can see a thriving example outside their immediate family of what a Godly woman looks like.
As your Goddaughter grows into a young lady, you’ll be an example of how to live out her faith. As your Godson grows into a young man, you’ll be the same. Through your mountaintop experiences and your valleys, don’t sugar-coat your faith. Allow your Godchildren to see your joys and sorrows (in an age-appropriate way) and see how your faith is interwoven into every aspect of your life.
Bonus tip: Back up Your Godchildren’s Parents:
As the tween years approach and then the teen and early adult years, there often comes a time when children feel like their mom and dad are just a molecule or two smarter than dirt. However, you’ve always been there, listening and encouraging. You’re the smart one — not Mom or Dad! You’re cool, plus you “get” them. They can talk to you because — well — because you’re you, and you always know how to help.
And when they talk, you’re going to share the same wisdom their parents shared. And your Godchildren probably are going to listen and, we hope, take it to heart, because it came from you.
How are you going to know that you’re echoing the parents? Ask them privately what the situation is and what outcome they’d like. As long as you truthfully can tell the children that’s the right thing to do, echo the parents. And while you’re at it, throw in some praise about how much YOU respect and admire their parents. Give examples of times when their mom or dad gave you great advice, what the outcome was, and how you’re glad you followed it.
A Note of Interest!
Thousands of people read this blog every day. Thank you very much for that, by the way!!!
The number-one most-read blog post on this site is: The Role of Godparents. It’s a fast read, and you’ll find more info about being a Godmother! Make sure to visit it before leaving.
It’s actually part of a Q & A post. The other reader question in the post is about applying makeup in public. But it’s the question about the role and responsibility of being a Godparent that SEO tells me is the reason so many read the post.
It makes me happy that thousands of people are realizing the honor and responsibility of being a Godmother and that we want to find out how to rise to the occasion to be the best one we can. Because of this, look for more posts in the future about the roles of Godparents, including: How to Say No Graciously When Offered, What To Do if The Couple Divorces, How Your Role Changes If One of The Parents Dies, and What to Do If Your Friendship With the Child’s Parents Ends.
Come on by the Manners Mentor Facebook page and share with me about your Godchildren! You’ll find this post on the Facebook wall. And if you have questions to ask, that’s where I’ll be answering them. So…ask away!!!
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