(Neither of the pictures above really describes me as a Godfather)
One of my friends at school recently had a lovely baby boy and amazingly he's asked me to be Godfather. Now, this is a slightly strange situation for me. I did have to point out that, although I'd be honoured to do the job and was incredibly touched to be asked, I couldn't exactly fulfil the primary part of the job description; namely the whole God bit of the Godfather role.
I am, after all, about as atheist as they come. But even though both the mom and the dad knew this they still thought I'd be a good choice for the part. I figured I'd better get cracking on a little research if I'm to be any good at this surprising new role:
"Traditionally, godparents were counted informally responsible for ensuring that the child's religious education was carried out and for caring for the child should he/she be orphaned. Today the word "godparent" may not have explicitly religious overtones. The modern view of a godparent tends to be an individual chosen by the parents to take an interest in the child's upbringing and personal development."So not really that helpful then.
Next up it was time to head over for a Google search. Yahoo Answers gave me this:
Christian Responsibilities of a GodparentA clear no for 1 through 5. Although I do like the idea in number 4 of fighting against evil. I shall start making the superhero costumes now.
1. Pray for your godchild regularly
2. Set an example of Christian living
3. Help him/her to grow in the faith of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in which he was baptized
4. Give every encouragement to follow Christ and fight against evil
5. Help your godchild to look forward to confirmation.
And almost everything else I could find seemed to be along similar lines. Which means it's up to me to make it up as I go I suppose. So I figure this is as good a time to start.
Therefore here's a few initial thoughts and pledges to my Godson:
As your Godfather I promise that I will:
1. Try to be supportive to your mom and dad whenever late nights / colic / sickness / anything else that tends to happen to babies/children happens to you.
2. Always be available to lend support and encouragement in whatever you do. Unless it's illegal / immoral / physically impossible. See Point 3.
3. Attempt to discourage you from doing the sorts of stupid things that all children seem to do at some point in their lives and where these things are either illegal or immoral will offer good advice and try to stop you doing some of the dumb things I did as a growing child / youth.
4. Generally always be there whenever you need help / advice / guidance from someone who isn't mom or dad. This offer does not extend as far as financial aid. I will not be able to buy you that toy / motorbike / car / house you are after. Sorry.
5. Contribute whatever valuable knowledge and important education I can share based on my own experiences. This does of course mean you are down to get some bloody strange books / graphic novels / music for every birthday / christmas present.
6. Never do the obvious gag of putting the Marlon Brando voice on at any family party I am invited to.
I figure that's a pretty good start. But I shall be refining this before I actually have to use it in any formal speech at Christenings or the like.