I’m the Godfather to a 2 year old child, and I was wondering if anyone can offer some advice as to how I can be a positive influence on her as she grows up. Her parents are very good people, and excellent parents, but they just don’t seem very interested in religion. I think it’s important to start teaching kids about religious things from a young age, but I don’t want to seem like I’m trying to parent the kid myself or being overbearing. How can I have an influence on her life without seeming like I’m looking down on her parents for deciding not to attend mass? I was thinking of getting some children’s books on saints and giving them to her for her birthday? Anyone else in this situation? What worked for you?
Get on your knees - literally - every day and pray for the family, say a Rosary each day for your Godchild.
Visit the Blessed Sacrament weekly and pray for them.
Prayer is the most powerful thing a godparent can do!
I would say you are already off to a good start with actually giving a hoot about your godchild. I have four children and only one godparent(my sister) does anything at all (that means seven individuals do nothing and some don’t even acknowledge their role.) So Bravo.
Being that your godchild is so young, I would keep things simple. Books and videos are perfect right now. Shop around and you will find some really cute ones that would be age appropriate. Even if the parents don’t seem interested in religion, I am sure they respect you enough to make sure their child understands who the gift is from. They are her first educators of course but that doesn’t mean you can’t send something to acknowledge the godchild. He/she will know in the future that you always sent something.
My sister is godmother to one of my daughters (she also has taken my son under her wing and will send him something small too as his godmother does not wish to see him). I am godmother to her daughter so here are some things we have done over the years:
We usually send these things during a baptismal date or a first communion date.
Make a CD of religious songs (a big hit for a pre teen)
My sister sent a book of Saints to my son that she received when she took her first communion with a note saying what she felt about it when she received the book.
Prayer cards are something nice to throw in a card…ones of saints and why you like that saint. I put in St. Theresa of Avila in a card one time explaining that she was the saint I chose for my confirmation name.
A rosary bracelet (very pretty).
A video…lots to choose from.
a picture bible with some chapters of scripture marked and what significance that held for you (For me, John Ch. 6 is really special to me and I would mark that with a note saying why. When godchild stumbles upon it while reading the bible, it’s a like a little gift inside a gift. Make sense??)
My DH gave a Baltimore catechism that someone had given him years ago to his godson for his first communion. He wrote a letter in it explaining how the Church played a role in his life and what it meant to receive communion. His godson may not appreciate it fully now, but in the future, he will have an example of how a grown man views his faith.
Share your life or a small story of what that particular item means to you…it doesn’t have to cost alot of money.
Hope these things help you. Like I said, just knowing you care, that godchild is already blessed.
Thanks for the suggestions. I guess ultimately it’s up to prayer and trusting in God’s mercy, and also giving a good example of living a Christian life as she grows up. The thing that makes it seem so difficult is that our society is so much more secularized than even twenty years ago. One of the things that made coming back to the faith easier for me after many years away was all the little things I remembered as a kid, like saying grace before a meal, or an advent calender at Christmas, or a picture of a saint at my grandmother’s house. I didn’t know anything about the faith, but when I started learning about it as an adult, everything seemed so familiar, like it was there all along waiting for me. Imagine kids today, where almost every mention of God has been expunged from the public square. If they don’t hear about the faith at home, they’ll have a pretty hard time picking it up on their own.
**Wonderful! It is an honor and a blessing to be chosen for such a position, godparents/godchildren can be a special blessing in one’s life if the bonds remain nurturing, constant, and pleasant. **
**At this time in her life, it is important for her to know whom you are, and that you are thinking about her, and that you are generally around. It is the pious nature you represent to them that is more important, though. So yes, the books are great, but I think it is better when you read it to them animated when they are learning to read or can grasp the stories well.
** Some religious things to keep in mind on the long run: A childrens bible, ( I have a precious moments bible) a catholic childrens bible is BEST! It is important to show for Christmas and her birthday every year. It’s normal to get clothes, a toy, or create your own college fund for her for these occasions, but it is important as a Godparent to add a touch of a religious relic to a gift once a year. An example would be anything from a prayer card to a Gold charm of the holy family (nothing over the top, just enough to make sure she understands how important faith is).
At certain stages of her youth, make sure she understands how to do a rosary, a novena, a divine mercy…, etc…, as they are not only holy , but tremendously cathartic and meditative, very calming to the soul. Also see if she can memorize more than just the typical Apostles Creed, Hail Mary and Our Father, not that they don’t incorporate everything we usually need to believe, but there is so much out there I wish I had at the top of my mind when I needed it. In time, you will come to see what she is interested in faith-wise, and be content that you helped build that for her.
**Disciplining your godchild when they have lapse Catholic Parents, hm, uh wow. Here is my suggestion. I would call up the parents on a weekend that you might know they are free or no obligation to events, and ask them if they would like to go to mass with you, if they say no, ask if it would be alright if you could take your godchild to mass, and then take her for ice cream or some time at the park after mass. Even if you do it once, they remember later on, the more you do it, the more you are a part of their life, and you are on their mind.
Some pointers: Go over any intention of faith building with the parents first, you do not want to step on their toes or their authority. If there are other siblings, make an effort to take all of them with you, so as they do not feel you only favor the godchild over the rest, even though you do a little, but best to mask it as much as possible.
In the end, you are the person that looks over her life, if God forbid, anything happened to her parents, and it is the job of a Godparent to teach them faith and be supportive of their positive decisions and goals as time goes on. In any case I would push the quality time and religious teaching, no matter what!**
Congratulations and God Bless your faith journey together!
I dont’ have much time to read all the responses but here are a few ideas:
Be a presence and good example in her life.
As she grows call or send a card on her patron saint’s feast day.
Try to accompany the family to mass once in a while. If they don’t attend regularly offer anyway and tie it to an activitity like going out for pizza (after saturday evening mass) or something like that.
First of all, she is very, very lucky to have you as her godfather! First of all, as a godparent, it is your responsibility and your right to do what you can to help raise her religiously… so you are doing wonderful wanting to help! But, like you said… you aren’t her parents, so there is a fine line of what you can and can’t do as it won’t be of any help if you upset them and they don’t allow you to see her. I have a 3 1/2 year old and a 1 1/2 year old and there are actually tons and tons of ways to surround them with religion! They make many different types of children’s rosarys that my daughters absolutely love! They even make ones that are safe for babies to put in their mouth and everything. There are beautiful religious books that are fun too. My daughters have different picture books that explain pretty much every religious holiday and they love getting ready for them and getting a new set of books to enjoy. There are picture book and board book bibles, there are board books with important bible verses, there are picture books with saints… etc. There are also religious jewelry you can get for little girls. My younger daughter is just getting old enough to actually wear them, but my older daughter loves jewelry and she has different saints medals, crosses, and crucifixes that she loves wearing. And she loves that they each have meanings and stories behind them that we can talk about while she wears them. Its an easy way for her to learn about her faith and really enjoy it. Like others said, personalizing the gifts would make it special. On her patron saints day, you could give her a card celebrating and something having to do with the patron saint, whether it was a card, medal, book, picture, or just a note from you mentioning it. At Christmas you could give her a book about the real meaning of Christmas and what we are celebrating as a present. And the most important thing is just going and seeing her or keeping in contact as much as you can. Giving her a role model that she knows she can always go to and ask questions of is priceless. The ideas about inviting her and her parents to mass is also wonderful! Good luck and enjoy the opportunity you have.