Should You Have Godparents?

So in our Five Minute Fatherhood Facebook group, and if you’re not in there, you should jump in there. Where we debrief a lot of these conversations and people can ask whatever questions they want. Dan asked this great question, I think just today, maybe. He said, “The question is about whether or not to have godparents for our son. I’m not familiar with anything biblically in support of that idea, but I know a lot of families traditionally have godparents for their kids. I never had godparents growing up, so the concept is foreign to me. However, my wife did and it is something that is more traditional for her family. Her godmother asked if we had given him godparents yet and this is where it started, something we never considered or discussed until now.”

So I’m very familiar with this concept because of a movie called The Godfather. Very good. Yeah, but seriously, the way that … so there’s a couple of things, I’ll give you guys two ways of thinking about this topic. I’m curious, Jeff, what your thoughts are. So the first is, we have very close family friends that have done this very, very intentionally. Like 10 out of 10. So for each one of their kids, they would pick a godparent. So if they had a son, it would be a man that’s a big part of their life. If they have a daughter, it’ll be a woman. And they honored that godparent constantly, right when the baby was born, that person would pray over them. They would constantly set up scenarios where that person could invest, pour wisdom into their children. And now that their children are actually like teenagers, are now getting older, they each have a special relationship with that godparent. And so I just was blown away by how thoughtful they did it and how they just stuck with it for now 20 years into this. They’ve really seen a lot of value from that relationship.

So that’s an example of maybe one reason to do it is if you really want to see discipleship flow from one of your friends, into the life of one of your sons or daughters. Then basically establishing that kind of relationship from the moment they’re born could be really cool and I think could really bear a lot of fruit. So that’s one example.

I’ll tell you guys how I thought about this. And one of the things that I struggled with a little bit is that we’ve moved around a little bit. And so there’ve been times where our relational networks have changed pretty dramatically. So like we were in Seattle when Kelsey was born, we were in Boston when Jackson was born, we were in Kentucky when Sydney was born. I wasn’t quite sure if I established one of those kinds of relationships when they were born, which is usually when this happens, when a godparent is brought into the life of a baby. That relationship would necessarily be the most strategic for that son or daughter when they really need it, which is, I think oftentimes that gets leveraged really well when they become a teenager.

So what we’ve done is, as our kids are getting into stages where a godparent or somebody who is discipling them, mentoring them, investing in them intentionally. When that would begin to become very strategic, we get really intentional about that relationship. So for example, this guy named Brent, we kind of connected Brent with Jackson and Kelsey has had multiple women that have really invested in her, that she’s been very connected to. We just watched these relationships, so we’re constantly introducing our kids to our adult friends. Especially the friends that we’re discipling that are a little bit closer to their age. So we have friends that are in their late twenties, early thirties, 10, 15 years older than my kids. We start to see a relationship develop, then we just inject intentionality into that and say, “Hey, we would love for you to spend time.” Like Brent actually trained Jackson how to drive. And then in the course of that, they had all kinds of spiritual conversations.

And there’s been many relationships like that, that all of our kids have had. But I think that that’s the principle behind god parenting. I think in a day and age where everyone grew up in the same village, maybe that idea that I could pick a relationship at birth that my children will really enjoy for the next 10, 15, 20 years of their life. I love that idea, but if you have a fairly transient kind of relational network, at least in the early stages of when your kids are young, that could not be super realistic. You could salvage that like my friends did and basically protect and nurture that relationship no matter where you live. That’s awesome. But those are kind of the two options I’ve seen where this idea is really has paid big dividends, finding ways for your friends to invest in your kids. But yeah, Jeff any thoughts about that idea?

No, I would just echo and kind of synthesize the big overarching concept, which is like totally a cool idea, super fun idea, can be super intentional and like spiritual and like basically pseudo mentorship. But not like a necessary biblical idea, if that makes sense. And so I think like, yeah, I totally know some people who like, we don’t have any godparents and like that. I know some people who, like you said, are just full on like the mentorship level. Then you got to take into account the transient nature of where you live, how you live. So, yeah, I think it’s totally cool, fun idea.

So just make sure you’re interpreting from that, it’s just like, “Should we do this? Do we think it’s a good idea for our family culture?” Not necessarily like, “Do I have to, or do I not have to?” If that makes sense.

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