What's the point of Godparents anyway?

Fairy godmother, anyone?


Michael Jackson is Nicole Ritchie’s. Brad and Angelina chose U2’s Bono for the twins. Beyonce chose Oprah, (reportedly to Gwyneth’s disappointment). Elton is to Brooklyn Bekcham what Lady Gaga is to Elton’s son (and totally random fact: Jamie Lee Curtis is Jake Gyllenhal’s).

What is the new game of Celebrity Trivia we’re playing? Its called Guess the God parents, and its all about that important but impossible to define role even Posh and Beyonce agonise over who to choose for their off-spring.

I have recently been in the fortunate position of choosing God parents for my son from a pool of equally fabulous but slightly (entirely) less famous friends.  Just like most girls have fun considering who their bridesmaids will be prior to becoming engaged, my husband and I had fun mooting names and options of potential candidates while I was pregnant.  “Well, such-and-such is a definite, she’s my BEST FRIEND”. “Well, if we have such-and-such,  then don’t we also have to have so and so?”.

Suddenly we were “ranking” our friends then pairing them as appropriate God father/mother matches with the same intensity that some families use when arranging marriages.  Our discussions ranged from light hearted to quite serious. Who would be the fun one that baby could go to to get in or out of trouble? Who would happily play for hours with him at birthday parties but also still be around by the time of his grade-ten confirmation? Is there anyone we would want to raise him if anything every happened to us?

After some serious deliberation and semi-serious confrontation, we had to stop and take stock. Was this conversation even relevant? With the plethora of helpful and loving grandparents around there’s no chance our children would live with anyone but family.  Fun-loving childless friends usually only end up fostering children in rom coms after all, not “real life”.

Beyonce chose Oprah to be Blue Ivy’s godmother

We weren’t even choosing who would pick the tike up and take him to Church every Sunday in his finest. Given the decrease in time the average Australian spends observing their own spirituality, it seems unlikely that the modern God parent is obliged to sponsor a child’s Christian education.   Although I myself have the privilege of being God mother to some gorgeous children, I can’t say I have spent much time fostering their religious observance other than trying to given them really cool presents on Christian holidays (so on this note I think Beyonce, as always, made an exceptional choice for Blue Ivy’s God mother in Oprah…. ).


So what then is the significance of a God parent?  Is it an important addition to a child’s life, or is it a role about as relevant (but decorative) as the Governor General – you know, a nice title to wear around in return for dressing up and posing at important events in the little one’s life?

Like any modern interpretation of traditions such as marriages, families and education, God parents can take many shapes and forms.  From best friends, to grandparents to even nominating God himself, the options are endless in terms of gender, quantity and relationship. Just as Miranda took a red pen to the wording of her son’s Baptism in Sex and the City, Churches these days seem quite flexible in return for the patronage and hope of more bums on seats on Sundays.

Personally we decided not to ask relatives to be God parents as they already have an important role in the child’s life – being “fun Aunty” or “Crazy Uncle” has just as much kudos and bragging rights.

Instead, we decided on special friends of ours who we know will “go the distance” and who each have unique talents and characteristics we hope they can impart on our sons’ live. And if the unthinkable were, however, to occur…there’s a cracker movie-in-the-making starring a hard-partying dentist, nomadic actor, property developer and the 30 year old version of Maggie Beer.

 Julie Alexander is a former lawyer, stay at home mum, documentary producer and wannabe Alpha Wife

What is the criteria for choosing a god parent? Do responsibility and spirituality even matter or is it just a case of choosing your BFFS to stand next to you in Church?

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