Being a Godparent is a rewarding experience for both the child and adult.

Nonreligious Responsibilities of a Godparent

by Victoria Thompson

Being chosen as a Godparent is a special honor in a person's life. It means your close friends think the world of you and want to include you in the life of their child. In a way, you become family without the huge obligations. Don't stress, you won't be asked to contribute to little Susie's college fund, unless of course you have money to spend like that. A Godparent isn't an actual legal guardian, but she spends time with the child whenever possible. Maybe you'll even be included in some family photos.

1. Spend Time Together

An important part of being a Godparent is to get to know the child by spending time together. Let her familiarize herself with you, so she knows you're part of the family. If you're always hanging around, she's already used to you, so go out for ice cream or bake cookies together. Make sure that you are involved, since being a Godparent isn't just a title. Parents put careful thought into the decision. When you show up for a family cookout, you don't want your Godchild to away when you try to hug her screaming, "Stranger danger!"

2. Give Gifts at Celebrations

Celebrate special family holidays and accomplishments by giving gifts to your Godchild. The gifts don't have to be extravagant like Mommy and Daddy's gift, but just to acknowledge that you care. You don't want to out shadow the parents, so it's a good idea to find out what their gift is. After all, this isn't a competition and no one wants to deal with a spoiled child anyway. Show up for birthday parties and school functions to be that permanent fixture in the little one's life. You don't always have to present a gift when you show up. You'll know when the time is right or you can ask the parents.

3. Step In For Parents

At some time during your permanent reign as Godparent, you'll be called upon to step in for the parents. Perhaps Mommy and Daddy need a date night, so volunteer to babysit for an evening, free of charge, of course. Don't hand them a bill at the end of the night. Remember, this is your duty. If there's a function that the parents can't attend, step in as parent and take your Godchild. Families have become so busy, that it's always great and sometimes needed to have a third parent around to take up some of the slack.

4. Positive Role Models

As the child grows, she'll look to you more and more as a positive role model and mentor, if you are one. When she's around, you do need to be careful to behave responsibly, because she'll probably want to emulate what you're doing. She may come to you with problems that she hasn't expressed to her parents, so you may become a liaison between herself and her parents in later years. Right now, she probably just sees you as fun to hang around and that's fine. It's always great to be the fun one that can play with her and give her back to the family.

About the Author

Based in North Carolina, Victoria Thompson has taught middle school for the past 15 years. She holds a Masters of Education in middle school instruction from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She teaches English daily to English as a second language students.

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