Being asked to be a godparent is an honor and a responsibility. When someone asks you to be a godparent to their child, they are entrusting you to take an active role in that child’s religious upbringing and spiritual development. But exactly how long does the commitment last? Here is a quick overview on the godparent role and how long you can expect to fill it.
What Does a Godparent Do?
A godparent has two main duties:
- To represent the Christian community and provide spiritual guidance to the child as they grow up
- To take responsibility for the child’s religious education and ensure they are prepared for important sacraments if the parents are unable to do so
So in essence, a godparent serves as a mentor and advocate for the child’s faith journey. They should be a source of knowledge, set a good example and provide moral and spiritual support to the child.
How Long Are You a Godparent For?
The godparent role and commitment lasts for the lifetime of the godchild. It does not end when the child reaches adulthood or at any other age. Of course, how a godparent fulfills their duties may evolve as the godchild matures, but the spiritual relationship remains.
Here’s an overview of what the godparent commitment looks like at different stages:
Baptism Through Age 12
In the early years after baptism, the godparent’s role is to:
- Check in regularly with the parents and offer support
- Give religious gifts for christenings, first communion, confirmations, etc.
- Celebrate important faith milestones
- Provide religious instruction if needed
- Set an example of Christian values
During these formative years, the godparent should make an effort to bond with the child through regular contact and shared activities. They can begin imparting religious knowledge, stories and traditions.
In the teen years, the godparent can:
- Offer guidance about challenging moral decisions
- Discuss ideological and spiritual struggles
- Suggest youth religious programs and retreats
- Introduce resources to strengthen faith
- Provide perspective on questions about identity, relationships, purpose, etc.
This is the time for thought-provoking conversations about spirituality, ethics and God’s plan for the godchild’s life. The godparent should be a trusted presence who listens without judgement.
When the godchild reaches adulthood, the godparent may:
- Check in around important life events and transitions
- Provide wisdom and advice when requested
- Suggest spiritual books, retreats, small groups, etc.
- Remind the godchild they are loved by God and the church community
- Answer faith-related questions
- Pray for the godchild
With a light touch, the godparent can continue to nurture the godchild’s spirituality, values and connection to their faith.
In adulthood, the godparent may:
- Continue to touch base and show interest in the godchild’s life
- Provide support during major life events like marriage, births, deaths, etc.
- Suggest ways to deepen spirituality
- Share spiritual resources
- Remain available for guidance, reassurance and spiritual discussions
- Pray for godchild and family
- Set an ongoing example of Christian faith
The relationship now centers around mutual Christian love, spiritual encouragement, life-stage support and an enduring familial bond.
In summary, the godparent commitment lasts for the lifetime of the godchild. While the activities and interaction may change over the years, the godparent continues serving as a guide and advocate for their godchild’s faith journey from baptism onwards. It is a profound spiritual relationship that endures through all of life’s seasons.