A godmother provides support and friendship to the godchild.

How to Ask a Friend to Be the Godmother

by Kathryn Rateliff Barr

The role of godparent once held a more formal and understood place in the life of a child, according to Bruce Feiler, author of “The Council of Dads.” Unless you are Catholic and want godparents to become spiritual mentors for you child in baptism and confirmation, those you ask to serve as godparents might not understand their role. Explain the role when you make your request.

1. Spiritual Mentor

Originally godparents served to ensure that children learned spiritual truths when parents failed to adequately perform that task, according to Catholic Doors Ministry. They sponsored the child at baptism and confirmation. If you want your friend to do this, ensure that she is a godly example for your child, that her spiritual beliefs line up with yours and that she understands the commitment is lifelong. Express why you want her to be your child’s godmother, so she is clear why you want to honor her with this position. Ask her if she is comfortable fulfilling that role in your child’s life.

2. Job Description

An effective godmother takes an active role in your child’s life, serving as a friend and confidant, as well as a spiritual example, according to Heidi Schlumpf in "U.S. Catholic Magazine." Ask her how she sees that happening through the various stages in your child’s life from infancy through adulthood. Offer some suggestions, such as praying for your child, reading her Bible stories, talking to her about how to live a life of faith and involving her in service projects as she grows up.

3. Clear Expectations

A godparent should widen the influence of supportive people in your child’s life, according Feiler, who chose to ask six individuals to serve as godparents, each with a different role and talent. Your friend might feel inadequate to take on the full godparent role, so you might assure her that you have specific tasks you want her to assume, and let her know that others will also support your child. If she assumes she might have to raise your child if something happens to you or the child’s father, let her know if you expect that and will include it in the provisions of your will, suggests Catholic Doors Ministry.

4. Getting an Answer

It may help your friend make a decision if you write down what you expect and give it to her when you ask her to be your child’s godmother. Allow her some time to decide if this is an honor she wants to accept and if she feels adequate to the task. If you are planning a christening or naming celebration for the child, give her the planned date and ask her to give you an answer prior to that date so she can be included in the celebration.

About the Author

Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.

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