Godmother

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by yearroundteach, Jan 4, 2013.

  1. yearroundteach

    yearroundteach Companion

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    Jan 4, 2013

    One of my best friends just asked me to be the godmother to her son who is due any day now. This is my first godchild. I am not Catholic so I also never had godparents and am quite clueless on exactly what is expected. I have researched and am familiar with the traditional, religious expectations of the title. I more so want to know about the more modern expectations/duties (for lack of a better word). Some specific questions I have are:

    * Do I get a gift for him when he is born or just for his baptism? This is a very close friend so I would be buying a gift no matter what for his birth. However I wasn't sure if it was typically expected that I get a more "keepsake" type gift at his birth or if that is typically a gift for the baptism.

    * What gift would you suggest for a boy? I am finding all sorts of beautiful jewlery, gift boxes, etc. for a girl but nothing that seems particularly special for a boy. Sidenote... I am not particularly religious so I would prefer to leave the crosses and other more religious gifts to the godfather or grandparents who are far more religious and would find more joy in giving that type of gift.

    * Can you start a savings account for a child that is not your own? Has anyone ever done this and if you have what did you need to have to do so?

    * Any other information you feel would be helpful to someone who is fairly clueless would be appreciated as well. ;)
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jan 4, 2013

    Catholics aren't the only people who have the tradition of godparents.

    Usually godparents are supposed to have a religious influence on a child. That's why they're called "god"parents. Most churches require that the godparents be willing to assist in raising the child in whatever particular religion.

    Religious gifts are the norm--bibles, crosses, rosaries, etc. I think it's weird that you're not comfortable getting those things even though you're making a commitment to have some religious input and guidance for this kid. If you're truly uncomfortable with that, then I guess a savings bond would be a good idea. I think it's better than trying to set up a savings account.
     
  4. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    I am my nephew's Godmother and I bought him his Christening outfit. His Godfather gave him a chain and a cross.
     
  5. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    In my family most people give savings bonds. I would not start a savings account for a child that is not my own.
     
  6. Portulaca

    Portulaca Rookie

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    Jan 4, 2013

    So this will be a Catholic baptism? (If not, this message won't be too relevant; but anyway, here's my two cents...)

    Catholic godparent requirements can be kind of confusing, because some of it is at the discretion of the priest/parish, and their opinions vary somewhat. If I recall correctly, though, at least one godparent is required to be practicing and in good standing with the Church. There's also usually a class to attend. If the godfather meets those requirements, for example, he'll be the 'godparent of record,' who will make the promises to help with religious formation, and with that requirement satisfied it's usually allowed to have another witness present (an 'unofficial' godmother, so to speak) who is not Catholic, or not practicing.

    There are some cultures where the godparents are expected to shoulder a huge role in raising the child (including helping to pay for expensive life events), but I am sure your friend would never choose someone outside her cultural loop if that were the case with her. In my (Catholic) family, most godparents are also relatives of some sort (aunts, uncles, cousins) so it can be hard to sort out what they are doing as 'a relative' vs. strictly as a godparent. However, to give you examples of what I see, many send birthday cards with nice messages to their godchildren, and maybe gifts at First Communion (around age 7-8) and Confirmation (varies a ton, but somewhere between ages 12 and 17). They try to take a special interest in them when they see them, and be good role models. It's a responsibility, but not necessarily a large obligation, time-wise.

    So, yes, definitely clarify your role with your friend, and once that's done, it's totally up to you if you feel comfortable with it. I've personally declined an invitation to be a godmother, even though I'm Catholic and so was the baby. I just didn't know if I was in the right frame of mind.

    As for gifts, I don't see a ton of gifts, or big gifts, at baptisms, but this is probably regional. Giving normal baby stuff isn't that unusual. Or "My First Bible" or similar, or a rosary like Caesar said (which is a fine gift for a boy because they're a religious tool, rather than jewelry), or medals (which men wear too). Personally, if I were you I would probably get a nice-quality picture book (not necessarily religious) and put a message inside it.
     
  7. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    Jan 4, 2013

    We are Lutheran. We told our sons' Godparents that in the event that we pass away, we expect they will make sure they have religious opportunity.

    I buy my godchildren a 'red plate' at birth. It's a plate that they write the date of special events in their lives. Everythng from Baptism to lossing a tooth. My sons are loaded and they are under ten. It's hung on the wall and used occasionally.

    Each Christmas, I buy them an ornament with a theme.
    angel, Santa, Pecious Moment, and snowman

    At birthdays, I do something with them. Take them to a movie or DQ or bowling.

    I also attend their church with them a few times a year.

    My sons godparents buy them a rookie sports card each Christmas.
     
  8. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    They make little coins with angels on them...that might be something to consider as well...It could be a "lucky" coin someday or just sit on his nightstand "watching" over him.

    I call and check in with my goddaughter (who is a cousin as well). I call her of course on her bday and then random times throughout the year...I don't see her as much as I did when she was little, but I just call to let her know that I'm still here if she needs me and to see how life is going....
     
  9. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I'm a "godparent" but have no religious influence in her life. It's more so a promise to care for the child in the event her parents pass.
     
  10. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    A few have mentioned that one role of a godparent is to be the guardian of a child in the event that the parents die. Is this legal? I mean, if both parents died, would the custody of the child just go to the godparent? I would have assumed that custodial matters would be much more official than that, but maybe I'm wrong.
     
  11. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I had to provide some personal information (including financial informatiom) and sign something witnessed by a notary. But that's all I know. I assume it is written in their wills.
     
  12. teachinnola

    teachinnola Rookie

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    My god-parents were suppose to care for me in the event of my parents' death, but I am not sure if there was something official.

    I am a godparent, but for my goddaughter it was more religious (we're Catholic and I was one of the few Catholics my friends know - I am not a great choice because I don't live around my goddaughter!). I don't remember any talk of taking guardianship if something were to happen to my friends. I would think the kids would go to the grandparents.
     
  13. yearroundteach

    yearroundteach Companion

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    Jan 4, 2013

    Thank you to everyone for your replies. I really appreciate the input, information and ideas.

    Sorry for such a long response. I just thought it would be easier for me to reply all in one place so that I didn't miss anything. I just didn't consider that it would end up so long which can make it annoying or difficult to read. I apologize if that's the case. Thank you again to everyone for the helpful information!
     
  14. yearroundteach

    yearroundteach Companion

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    Thanks for your reply. I really want to make calling and checking in with him something that I do and stick to. It will be very difficult for me because I REALLY don't like talking on the phone but I want to make the effort to have a special relationship with him.
     
  15. yearroundteach

    yearroundteach Companion

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    I did a little more research since I posted the last reply and learned a little more about the red plate tradition. I love the idea even more now! But I did think of a few more questions if you don't mind. You mentioned that you write on the plate with special dates. What do you write on them with and where do you write it? On the edge of the plate, on the bottom, or right on the face of the plate? The reason I ask is that most of the information I found says that these plates are used to eat on when there is a special time in life and I wasn't sure how that worked with the dates written on the plate.
     
  16. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    Jan 5, 2013

    This.
    I bought her a cross when she was baptized, and now I remember her on holidays and birthdays with a gift. However, I buy my other niece a gift as well! :p
     
  17. jteachette

    jteachette Comrade

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    FYI,
    The "coins" are called Guardian angel medals. You can buy large or small versions, and are meant to be hung by the baby's crib, as a prayer for the angels to watch over the child. I buy one for every child for their baptism, especially little boys!
     
  18. msaly

    msaly Comrade

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    Jan 5, 2013

    I am godmother to two of my nephews. We are also catholic. Because I am their aunt I buy them regular (non religious) gifts for their birthdays and Christmas. When they reach a religious milestone (baptism, first communion and reconciliation, confirmation,etc) they get a gift from me as their aunt and a gift from me as their godmother. Both of my nephews godfathers have not seen them since their baptism(both of them many years ago), they don't call or send cards or anything :(

    If your uncomfortable giving a cross, something like this might be a good option. http://www.personalizationmall.com/Personalized-Christening-Heirloom-Pillow-p2716.prod they also have frames, blankets, and other keepsake items.

    As far as guardians, if parents want the godparents to become legal guardians, they must put that in their will and have a signed document from the godparents. I will Become their (and their siblings who are not my godchildren) guardian if anything happened to my sister and her husband, but that is because I am their aunt. As their godmother I am expected to lead them in their religious life.
     
  19. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Jan 5, 2013

    If the child's parents don't expect you to have a role in the child's religious life, you can think of it as being a special aunt. It's always wonderful for a child to be close to extended family, and you can reach out to the child with that in your heart and see how the relationship develops over time. Of course, contributing savings bonds at holidays or milestones is always welcomed by the parents.

    Remember, too, that a baptism is also a kind of a naming ceremony, so gifts with the child's name are often given. It doesn't have to be religious; it could be a plaque for the child's room or door. I remember that someone gave my child a wooden plaque with his name on it and an adorable little clay figure of a boy pulling a wagon or something. The woman made it herself.
     
  20. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    I have a coin that is just a guardian angel... It doesn't have a hole to hang it... got it after a gparent passed...
    So there may be some made for this...but my mom found this at a store and bought it.
     
  21. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    You really don't have to talk long... I talk usually like 5-10mins depends on what has been happening in both our lives. She's a teen so sometimes it's more and sometimes it's less either way they know you're thinking of them...

    I think Godparents were intended to be the care giver if the parents passed (I know my parents were Godparents to a child and this was what was expected), but I think it really all depends on the family as well...
     

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