Godparents: how did you choose them?

Godparents. What are your thoughts – did you bother or not? And if you did, do you call them godparents even if you’re not religious? We asked readers of The Early Hour and they had some great, alternative ideas…

When our daughter Joni turned two, we decided it would be nice for her to have godparents – or an equivalent – who could look out for her as she grew up. At the time, I was about eight weeks pregnant with her sibling and was thinking it would be beneficial for her to have two people in her life who she – and not her sibling – had an extra special relationship with.

We asked who she’d like as her godmother and godfather, explaining they are important people in your life who look out for you. She chose a couple of our very close friends, who she loves (and who sometimes have a dog that they look after. That may have played a part. They now also have a kitten so big thumbs up).

My husband is a fervent atheist and despises the term ‘godparents’ so we started looking into alternative names but in the end, stuck with tradition and used ‘godparents’ – even though there is no religious connotation to their relationship with our daughter.

Keen to discover what other parents choose when it comes to assigning someone (or two people) the role of godparents, I took to Instagram to ask about the different names people use for them, how they (or their child) chose them and why they thought it was important. Here’s what they said…

On Godparents…

hboyer: “My husband is an “oddparent” to our friends’ little girl, which I think is fun!”

francine_roberts: “We went with ‘guideparents’ – essentially the same role as godparents but without the religious connotations. We had a little humanist ceremony in our garden, which we loved – it was a very sweet and personal welcome-to-the-world type thing but not too cheesy and again without the religious connotations of a Christening. I think the ‘guideparents’ prefer the title of ‘funparents’ though!

She was about 18 months at the time, which was lovely as she was just old enough to know who they were. We choose some close friends who were not only really supportive when Sofia was born but who are really positive people and we knew would be great for her to be able to talk to when she’s older and who might provide a different perspective than us (as parents).”

simplefamilytravel: “Very important for us! We decided before they were born and all have an important place in each of the children’s lives. They call them the Swiss names for Godparents – Gotti and Götti. Also, as we bring two cultures into our family we choose made it a priority to have both Swiss and Australian godparents. Oh, and despite us being catholic, for me the role of godparent isn’t just religious. It’s another person for our children to turn to, to have a special connection with. Someone hopefully they will turn to if they need. It’s all about creating your own family traditions.”

_jodieabrahams: “My daughter has a non-religious godparent as we’re not religious but wanted her to have a special relationship with her godmother who is one of my oldest and closest friends and who now lives quite far away. I am godmother to her daughter too (who was christened) so it’s a way of cementing the bond between our children as well as between us as friends.”

lauraamiss: “I am christened but very much because it was expected from my mother’s parents who were religious (my brother isn’t christened). All our kids are christened, which was important to my husband (not so much me), we aren’t religious but it was an important family tradition for Paul. They were all christened in a church in North Yorkshire and their names are all written in beautiful old book that stays there.

Our lot have godparents coming out of their ears, a mix of family and friends. My brother is one of Pelham’s godparents, which is like appointing the anti Christ but he’s one of the most amazing people I know and has an amazing influence and relationship with Pel, (Pel is also super proud to have him).

I’m not convinced that asking our lot when they were two would have worked, they would have chosen Granny and Grandad. Or certainly any one with a pet! I am not religious at all, but I do know that all our chosen ‘people’ are pretty awesome and would do anything for our kids. Plus christenings have been a pretty good excuse for big parties and getting our huge, blended families together.”

eclipsestem: “The parents and myself were all raised Catholic. It’s was my god child’s mother who wanted a christening, the father did not because he identifies as humanist. They compromised and of the four god parents and birth parents, half are non believers. The basis of choosing was shared values (and respect) over everything else.”

What are your thoughts on godparents – good idea or not necessary? And if you’re into the idea, what do you call them – and what does their role entail?