Are you having your baby baptized soon? Here’s our guide on how to choose godparents for your baby.
Choosing your child’s godparents is a big responsibility. That’s why you need to make sure that you choose ninongs and ninangs who won’t just be there to give gifts but to support your child as they are growing up.
In this article, you’ll read:
- Why choosing a godparent is more than just gifts or friendship
- How many ninongs and ninangs should your child have
- How to choose godparents for your child
Last year, an interesting story circulated around social media about a netizen who was forced to pay for a cake package worth 5,000 pesos for the baptism reception of her old friend’s baby.
The supposed “ninang” shared the exchange of texts between her and the mother. The latter asked her to “sponsor” the three-layer fondant cake that was going to be part of the celebration, on the same day she was asked to be one of the godparents. The mother assumed that her friend would be okay with this since she is known to be generous and has a seaman for a husband.
What led the mother to think her action would be okay is beyond us, but it triggered negative reactions from a lot of netizens. It also started a conversation on how money, or the capacity to give presents should not be the basis of being a godparent.
It’s an honor and a responsibility
Here in the Philippines, a child’s baptism is an important event that signifies welcoming the child to the church and the community. Regardless of status, Pinoy families make a celebration out of this event and choose close relatives and friends to be the baby’s godparents or “ninong” and “ninang.”
Our Pinoy culture dictates that one should not decline when he or she is asked to be a godparent. He or she should consider it a big honor to be selected.
But in reality, being a godparent is not just a big honor but also a huge responsibility. Godparents aren’t there just to be guests at the baptism, but they play an important role in a child’s development and well-being.
In the baptism rites, the priest reminds godparents that they are to be the second parents of the child, and they should guide them in living out their faith.
So if it’s frowned upon to decline when asked to be a ninong or ninang, it’s up to us parents to choose the best or at least, good godparents for our child.
How many godparents should my child have?
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Here in the Philippines, it’s common practice for parents to select several pairs of godparents for their child’s baptism. But is there an ideal number of the ninongs and ninangs a child should have?
In reality, the church only requires one pair (a male and a female) of godparents for the baptism. This pair is considered the principal sponsor whose names are printed on the baptismal certificate. So if you only have a pair of godparents that you absolutely trust, then you’re good to go.
But if you’re the type who has a lot of close friends and family and you feel like your child will benefit from having these people around her, there is really no maximum limit on the number of godparents.
However, due to the pandemic, some churches have imposed a limit to the number of attendees allowed in the church so you might want to consider that.
Regardless of the number, godparents should be people who are close to your family, and people you can trust to be there for you and your child if anything should happen.
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Gifts aren’t the deciding factor
Here in the Philippines, it’s common for parents to look for godparents who are rich or influential. That way when their child grows up, they can hope to use the connections to help their child get a headstart in the ‘real world.’
However, being a godparent is more than just asking for favors and material things. It would be nice if the ninong or ninang is thoughtful enough to remember your child’s birthday and on Christmas, but it’s not a requirement for them to give presents.
It’s also not enough for the person to be a good friend of yours to become your child’s godparent. You also have to consider their level of maturity and willingness to take on the responsibility of being a second parent to your child.
So if friendship and the ability to give gifts are not the basis in choosing a godparent, what is?
How to choose godparents for your baby
Image from Unsplash
Here are some of the traits you should look for or consider in choosing a ninong or ninang for your baby:
If there’s one thing we learned from the movie Life As We Know It, it’s the importance of choosing people you can depend on to be the godparents of your child.
So much so that should anything happen to you or your partner, that person should be willing to step in and assume the role of a parent.
Age is not really a factor, but they should be mature enough to accept the responsibilities that come with the title.
You don’t want someone who will just be there for the baptism and special occasions. Or someone who will just say yes out of courtesy but will not be around your family as your child is growing up.
You want to choose someone who will be there for your child, and will help you in guiding him.
One way to test this is to ask them if they are willing to attend the seminar that most churches require for parents and sponsors. Some people make excuses to skip this, so if they agree, then maybe they would also give their time to your child in the future.
This is not because of the gifts or other material things, but more on the attitude. You want your child to grow up surrounded by people who he can look up to, and generosity is one of the most important traits a person could have.
It’s not about being able to give expensive gifts, but being generous with her time and resources to your child and to other people as well.
In a religious context, the godparent’s role is to help the Christened person understand and live out their faith. So ideally, you would want to choose a person who has already received the sacraments of Baptism, Reconciliation and Confirmation. Someone who understands his Christian beliefs. Does this person go to church? Will he be able to respond when the child has questions about the church and his faith?
Generally, you would want someone who can be a good role model to your child. Someone who will have a positive influence on your child’s life and will guide him towards becoming a good individual.
This is why being a ninong or a ninang isn’t a favor you give to your best friend, or a rich family friend. Parents need to think long and hard about why they’re choosing that person as a godparent, and what this person’s role will be in the upbringing of their child.
How do you choose godparents for your baby? Tell us in the comments section!