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Godparents [Aug. 22nd, 2008|11:48 am]
dalekboy
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[mood |contemplativecontemplative]

Sharon and I have been thinking about Godparents. It's kind of hard. In the old days, Godparents were to look after the religious education of the child and took over care in the event it was orphaned. While we have no need for religious education as such, picking people who would be good mentors for bub is difficult.

That's one of the problems with being in fandom, there's a lot of good people who we feel close to and who have a wide range of skills and knowledge. One of the advantages is that those people will play a part in Lex's life anyway.

We're thinking of one of Sharon's relatives as a potential to care for the child in case Sharon dies, and in the unlikely event that someone figures out how to combine the seven bottles of homebrand cola, the duck, and the piece of twine in the right combination needed to kill me. If the relo doesn't take it on, or something happens to them down the track, then it makes the choice of our other Godparents that much more important. It needs to be people we'd trust raising our kid, who we think could cope, and who we think would be actually willing to take on the burden

That's what makes it hard.

There are those who we think, no, they've got enough to cope with with their lives or their own kids. Those who would be fine dealing with a ten year old, but would really struggle with a five-year old. Those who don't watch Doctor Who... and so on. Some of these are some of the reasons there's only one of Sharon's relatives that we're considering. And while I come from a largish family, the two people I would be most happy asking to care for my kid each have partners that there's no way in hell I'd let be responsible for Lex.

So yeah, it's been an interesting process. We're still umm-ing and ahh-ing. What is interesting is the range of people and backgrounds that are being gone through. Artists, scientists, writers, programmers, athiests, Catholics, pagans, Jews, straight, gay, bi, polygamous, lit, media, SCA, furry... And while we're tending to think mainly of individuals, one of the few couples we're considering are both male.

Man this kid is gunna have a broad range of influences in their life.

Which I knew, but it's only once you start listing them you realise just how broad that influence will be. We are so lucky :)
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: mortonhall
2008-08-22 02:06 am (UTC)
being asked to be a godparent for M was one of the happiest moments of my life **beams with pride**

TC and I have taken quite seriously to the role and are ensuring that M's corruption ... err.. spiritual guidance is one of our primary roles.

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[User Picture]From: strangedave
2008-08-22 02:28 am (UTC)
This is almost exactly how I feel about being godparent for Q, in every particular.
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[User Picture]From: callistra
2008-08-22 02:20 am (UTC)
We have lots of grandparents around the place, so where they live in a case of sudden orphaning is OK, and I trust both sets of our parents to sort things out nicely.

I figure all of our friends will be the 'spiritual guidance' they need.
;-)
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[User Picture]From: strangedave
2008-08-22 02:23 am (UTC)
I am the god parent of a young child (a 3rd generation swancon attendee!), a responsibility I take very seriously. While the responsibility of raising the child should her parents die is something we have talked about, the other responsibility we have thought about is the idea of there being someone for moral/spiritual guidance. I think it is valuable for a child to have someone that they know they can talk to about that sort of thing, but who isn't their parents (there are always going to be some issues you just don't want to discuss with your parents). I promised her parents that, when the time comes (she is still only a toddler), that I'd try to ensure she got a real moral and religious education, from Nietsche to Voodoo.

So I just wanted to say that I agree that, even though a lot of us don't want someone to fill the traditional religious education role, that godparents are valuable even for people that don't see a need for the traditional 'god' part, and I think it is great that you are thinking hard about it.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2008-08-22 09:24 am (UTC)
It's worth thinking hard about. I've known of people who just chose Godparents based on whim. My request to anyone who was religious who ended up looking after the child would be that they can teach them about their beliefs, but I also want them to hear about as many of the others as possible as well.
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[User Picture]From: transcendancing
2008-08-22 02:49 am (UTC)
K and I have discussions on this occasionally too - I can't imagine how we will ever make a decision...

*much love*
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[User Picture]From: smofbabe
2008-08-22 03:35 am (UTC)
I think that if you substitute "values" for "religious education," you'll hit it pretty close. My feeling is that the idea is for the godparents to be people whom you can trust to establish the same values in your child that you intend to. I can see where the problem becomes geometrically more difficult once you have to consider partners and people's current stage in life re: housing, employment, and so on. I have known cases where the godparents were not a pair, that is, there was a godmother and a godfather who were not connected. (Mario Puzo jokes aside :-> ) Best of luck with this difficult and important decision!
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2008-08-22 09:26 am (UTC)
Well, we're certainly looking at Godparents who aren't connected. Mum commented that we needed a couple, and we said we don't because people get divorced, so it ends up no different to chossing two separate people.
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[User Picture]From: kaths
2008-08-22 05:16 am (UTC)
I'm not clear - are you thinking of the godparent/s as being the same as the guardian? It doesn't have to be the same person/people. So you could eg name one person in your wills as the guardian, and have 10 completely different godparents :)

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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2008-08-22 09:32 am (UTC)
We're aiming for the Godparent/gaurdian thing, partially since first main choice is a relative, and it would mean a lot to her to be an actual Godparent, rather than guardian. That said, we don't know yet that she'll want the responsibility, hence our other thoughts.

Current plan is for three Godparent/potential guardians, but that may all change. Of the people we're considering as potential guardians, we're mainly looking at people in Melbourne, since that's where the rest of the child's family would be. That said, there are people from other states that we're also thinking hard about.

We'll just have to see where we end up.
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[User Picture]From: emma_in_oz
2008-08-22 06:28 am (UTC)
i set up a will with abyelvis and bigjobbies as guardians in case i die. i love my folks but they are way too old to take on a baby
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2008-08-22 09:40 am (UTC)
That's our thought. Wouldn't be fair to strand Shaz's parents with a baby, and there's no way in Hell we would even think of my mum as a possiblity.
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[User Picture]From: emma_in_oz
2008-08-22 12:19 pm (UTC)
they'd be well into their 80s by the time she graduated. not that they are going ti make old bones.
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[User Picture]From: baby_elvis
2008-08-23 10:21 am (UTC)
terry and i am the nominated future guardians for em's pearl and sue and julian's twins. we gave it a lot of thought before accepting. we've asked terry's sisters (who are both younger than us) to take care of our blinky if the worst happened.

not being religious, we haven't had a christening, but i am godparent 4 and terry is to 2.
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[User Picture]From: magnapops
2008-08-22 06:41 am (UTC)
I am still very happy with our selection of godparents (for want of a better word) for Jess. Even though their circumstances have changed.

Our thoughts were looking for friends with partners as bringing up a child , (if we both passed away before she reached a certain age), is hard enough without dropping the responsibility on a single person. That was how our thought processes went anyway.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2008-08-22 09:44 am (UTC)
Yeah, have thought along those lines, but at the same time, people split up, move, die, so we're concentrating on good mentors with consideration to how they would cope. There have definitely been people who have only been knocked out of the running because we feel it would be unfair on them in their current situation, and while that may change, we don't want to rely on it changing.

We've been discussing this for weeks now :)
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[User Picture]From: magnapops
2008-08-23 11:48 pm (UTC)
All you can do is the best you can do at the time. We sat down and did a serious think about it when the godparents circumstances changed, (He passed away), but in the end, it has worked out well. Jess and her godmother talk a lot about stuff she doesn't feel she can talk to us about, whatever that is.

So in the end, all you can do is pick the person or people that you would feel comfortable leaving your child with if you both happened to be hit by a bus right now.

If we had a crystal ball we would all be rich.
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[User Picture]From: mireille21
2008-08-22 07:32 am (UTC)
Of my godparents, one is in Canada, and the other one went insane back in the 70s. So really, not a whole lot of guiding going on there.
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2008-08-22 09:44 am (UTC)
What the fuck did you do to them?!!
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[User Picture]From: vegetus
2008-08-22 08:11 am (UTC)
Hmmm, in terms of guardianship people's situations change alot over time. Someone who would be very capable and willing to look after Lex this year might not be able to down the track.

But having an adult person around who is willing to support a child, yet isn't parent-y is very good and it sounds like your extended family will be wonderful for them. I had to find my own older person to talk to growing up and I think if a child needs to and has access to lots of different people they will find the one they are the most comfortable with (one of my childless aunts turned out to be fairly cool and she wasn't my godparent either).
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[User Picture]From: dalekboy
2008-08-22 09:59 am (UTC)
That's what makes it such an interesting process - really thinking about the costs and benefits to all involved, and trying to allow for reasonable changes to their lives.

But that doesn't stop them spontaneously combusting in the middle of watching Swan Lake, and leaving you up in the air all over again.

And while the kid may develop a good relationship with a Godparent or guardian, they may well pick someone you'd have never thought of to be the person they turn to.
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[User Picture]From: purrdence
2008-08-22 02:22 pm (UTC)
I never had godparents... *feels left out*
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[User Picture]From: ariaflame
2008-08-22 05:00 pm (UTC)
If I had any I never got told about them. But I probably didn't as my parents figured if I wanted to get baptised I could do it when I was old enough to make up my own mind. And when I got old enough I figured I didn't.

I know you don't technically have to get baptised necessarily to get godparent equivalents but I don't remember any particular mentor type figures apart from grandparents.
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[User Picture]From: baby_elvis
2008-08-23 10:22 am (UTC)
me neither - but i was neither christened or baptised.
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