Do you find yourself excitedly wandering in the kids’ section of the department store, window shopping and looking for future gift ideas for your nieces and nephews? Do you remember their birthdays and most favorite things like they’re written at the back of your hand (sometimes better than their parents)? Do you often remind your spouse, brother or boyfriend about getting his godchild an appropriate token for an upcoming birthday? Well, then, these are signs that prove you are a doting tita or ninang at heart.
Being a godparent can be wonderful, especially if you enjoy being around kids, but you have to understand the function, privilege and value of your role. Kids grow up too, and soon you will realize that god parenting -- if taken as it should-- goes beyond the cool presents on birthdays and Christmases, and beyond the somewhat challenging game of a ninang or ninong’s attempt at winning a child’s affection, admiration and alliance.
Strong Bonds There are friendships reinforced at baptisms. This can be traced to Hispanic families which usually choose compadres and comadres (essentially co-parents) from their trusted friends to become the god parents of their child. Once this invitation to become a god parent is accepted, the parents of the child and the god parents are now considered “god sibs” or god siblings. The traditional concept of god parenting made the co-parents equally responsible for ensuring the child’s healthy upbringing according to the child’s religion. This also made them the child’s guardians should s/he be orphaned. It is no wonder why parents of Filipino married couples often call each other comadre and compadre.
In modern understanding; however, a god parent need not be of the same religion as the child; neither is the god parent’s influence limited to the religious education of the child or inaanak. As the bond between the child’s parents and god parents is cemented, the role of guardianship is understood to extend to the child’s personal development, schooling, career, business, and family. It is not uncommon for a child to have the same ninong or ninang in his baptism, first communion, confirmation and wedding.
And so this is why parents must choose co-parents wisely. And so this also means being asked to be a god parent is an honor and a privilege. It means your would-be comadre and compadre see you as trust-worthy, responsible and a good influence on their child’s future. In many ways, it’s an invitation to be an extension of their family.