6/7/10

Godmothers of the Non-Fairy Variety

A week ago, Blake's aunt was telling me about an article in the New York Times about the modern prevalence of neglectful godparents. I can only assume that she spoke of this article by Bruce Feiler, posted on May 28th...

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/30/fashion/30FamilyMatters.html?pagewanted=1&sq=godparents&st=cse&scp=1

Our discussion called to mind a previous conversation that I had had with my mother about the role of godparents. After my last post, you're probably aware that I'd like to wait a while to have children; that doesn't stop me from considering the many people close to me who I hope will be actively involved in the lives of my and Blake's future children.

Feiler observes the trend of asking friends, qualified or unqualified, to be godparents. While honoring a friend in this right, I see it as a great disservice to the child if the godparent knows not what he or she has agreed to. Traditional godparents, dating back to pre-medieval times, are responsible not only for moral and emotional upbringing, but spiritual guidance and modeling as well. Choosing friends or family members who are aware of this great responsibility is imperative.

I haven't been brought up in the Catholic Church, nor do I hold heavy importance in the act of infant baptism (aside from the statement that the child will be brought up under God), but I do see great value in giving a child godparents. For my own children, I hope that their relationship with their godparent/s will be primarily spiritually-based. I hope, also, that the relationship will be one of trust, allowing the child an additional adult confidant with the same principles and priorities as Blake and me.

Ultimately, I hope my children have the kind of godparents that I had - my Uncle Mike, who was constantly a part of my life, and my Aunt Mary, who has been a support at every major event in the process of my growing up. She and her daughter, Jenna, recently drove up from New Jersey for one of my bridal showers. In front of the many women who surrounded me that day, she prayed a special blessing on my upcoming marriage. The sentimentalist in me was at the verge of tears.

I felt those tears again today as I received a package in the mail from this godmother who took her job very seriously. Inside that package was a beautiful bracelet, and a note of congratulations and excitement at this new stage of my life. I am reminded of the tremendous blessings that comfort, shape, and inspire me. It appears that I am one of the fortunate few.

My Aunt Mary and I, circa 1991:

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