Atoke’s Monday Morning Banter: My Godchild is Cooler than Yours

Posted on Monday, November 25th, 2013 at 9:33 AM

By Atoke

A few weeks ago, I took a leisurely ‘scroll’ down the streets of InstagramVille. It was a regular day on Instagram – photos of partying with Nigerian celebrities; food and the accompanying work out by members of #FitFam; and selfies with plenty prominence to booty. Same ol’ routine.  Then I saw a photo posted by one of my friends. It was one of her with a baby and the caption was something along the line of ‘my goddaughter is cooler than yours’. A few photos down, another friend  had a photo with another baby. ‘my cute godson’.
Then, the realization settled. “Oh my God! I don’t actually have a godchild!” It wasn’t a realization that came with a lot of pain. I figured the reason why I didn’t have a godchild was either because I’m generally not a very nice person or the fact that I’m poor.
I came to this conclusion about the poverty reason because I had heard one of my friends in a really bitter lament about the different parents of her godchildren.

You see, Sherifat has 4 different godchildren. With each of these children, she has been harassed by their parents for gifts and favours under the auspices of this esteemed position . She has heard all sorts. ‘What kind of godmother are you? Your godson has started walking. Won’t you send any gift?’ or ‘it’s your goddaughter’s birthday and you didn’t put her picture up as your display picture’. My favourite – and the one which riled her up the most- is ‘What souvenir are you making for your godson’s party’.

After laughing at her, I asked her why she didn’t renounce the ‘appointment’ when it was made. She said for some of them she didn’t even know she was godmother until she went visiting and she heard ‘Meet, Nifemi’s godmother!’  Her biggest issue was how little time she was spending with the actual children and the amount of money she was having to spend… just to keep her title.

Seeing as I don’t have godparents, I had to look up the meaning and their function. According to theFreeDictionary.com, a godmother is a woman who sponsors a person at baptism. 2. One that has a relationship to another person or to something that is the equivalent of being a baptismal sponsor.

Wikipedia defines godparent as… someone who sponsors a child’s baptism. Today, the word godparent might not have explicitly religious overtones. The secular view of a godparent tends to be an individual chosen by the parents to take an interest in the child’s upbringing and personal development.

The last definition lifted the veil of religious constraints. Technically Sherifat couldn’t plead ‘Estoppel by Religion’ as a clause with which she could wriggle out of her new found responsibilities. By definition, the godparent of your child is someone you’ve chosen to take an interest in the child’s affairs. I wondered if this was something one could say ‘No’ to. Or if it was like being asked to be a bridesmaid and you’d just have to say ‘Yes’ because you should feel honoured that you were asked in the first place.

What are the actual responsibilities of the godparent? When do those responsibilities end? Surely it has to be more than posting photos on Instagram. Does it end when you’re appointed as ‘Chairperson’ at the child’s wedding? For those of you who have children, how do you decide who is godparent to your child? How important is it that your child has a godparent? Did you have godparents? What roles did they play in your upbringing? Share some of your special godparent moments with us; and finally what are your general views on the role of godparents? Or is it one of those things that is the New Cool with our modern day Nigerian parents?

Have a beautiful week ahead. Smile and don’t let anybody hold you back.

Peace, love & cupcakes!
Toodles!

Photo Credit: picstopin.com

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  • 47 Comments on “Atoke’s Monday Morning Banter: My Godchild is Cooler than Yours”

    Comments
    • @BUBBLYHEAD November 25, 2013 at 9:48 AM

      HMMNN LOL I BELIEVE IF YOU AS THE MOTHER GAT A “BESTIE”.. THE “BESTIE” WAS THERE AT THE WEDDING, AND ALL, EVEN WHEN THE CHILD WAS BORN AND EVEN IN US BAPTISM “TRADITION”, THE GOD MOTHER OR/AND FATHER HOLDS THE BABY DURING BAPTISM, YOU ARE PUT IN CHARGE OF THE BABY, MAYBE IF (GOD FORBIDS) ANYTHING HAPPENS TO THE REAL PARENTS, YOU’RE MORE LIKE THE BABY’S OTHER PARENT(S), BECAUSE THE PARENT(S) TRUST YOU..AND IT IS NOT LIMITED ONLY TO SINGLE FRIENDS OF THE PARENT(S), THE GODPARENT(S) COULD ALSO GAT THEIR OWN KIDS, IT IS PRETTY INTERESTING AND YES, YOU AS THE GODPARENT SHOULD BE READY TO DO AND SPEND FOR YOUR GODKIDS (LOL) BECAUSE THEY WILL BE ABLE TO GROW UP AND SEE YOU AND YOUR KIDS AS WELL, JUST LIKE THEIR 2ND FAMILY…#JUSTMYPOINT

      • ij November 25, 2013 at 10:36 AM

        good point but why shouty capitals na?

        • Special K November 25, 2013 at 2:04 PM

          walahi – couldnt read it

        • @BUBBLYHEAD November 26, 2013 at 5:35 AM

          SOME PEOPLE JUST LOVE TO WRITE IN CAPS..#THATSALL

    • anon November 25, 2013 at 9:53 AM

      i have a God mother i can vaguely remember, and that was for the sake of my baptism/confirmation some 24yrs ago….I do have a daughter and she has no God parent and i wont be giving any of my other kids either…i Have friends that have up to 5 Godchildren, the thing is now like competition sef….i am not a Godmother to anyone and dont plan to be.. funny thing is some ppl impose it upon themselves, telling their close friends that ‘hope you know i am going to be your baby’s Godmum’…its mostly women that like it, most men cant be bothered.

    • nana November 25, 2013 at 9:56 AM

      The God parent issue is one dat baffles me,i for one have 2 abi na 3 God children,the funniest one was one time sm1 asked me to be her daughter’s God mother i obliged but 3 days to the time, she called me ,and said that the Reverend didn’t approve me because i am catholic and not Anglican. I was so delighted she was gonna use someone else,fast forward 2 days later she called me that she would get sm1 who is Anglican to represent me,that it is my name that is registered as the Godmother i was so shocked! One of the parent accused me not caring about my God son,me i never take care of myself finish na to take care of person abegi,i told her.

    • natty November 25, 2013 at 9:56 AM

      Whaat!! you mean some god parents send their god childs gifts at every milestone in their life. I feel so cheated, Its time I have a serious heart to heart chat with my god mother, all the milestones she has missed out on can be compensated with a brand new Audi Spyder.

      • Mz Socially Awkward... November 25, 2013 at 12:28 PM

        Hahahaha! You go thief, oh :-)

    • Hadassah November 25, 2013 at 9:57 AM

      Yay!! Atoke is here!! Strange enough I feel guilty that I hAve been away and unable to do much for my God daughter. I really plan on making it up to her as soon as I can. In other news, I can now go to sleep. It’s 2:57am

    • Bekah November 25, 2013 at 10:03 AM

      me i sha don’t have any Godparent o, I wsh i had though, cos back in school, i had friends who there Godpeeps always sent stuffs to them

    • daiva November 25, 2013 at 10:12 AM

      yipee…well as a God-Parent u are responsible for d child upbringing wat d parents do u also do and even more,so yes gift and Love is essential but d real reason is u have a responsibility to God and man.can’t wait to be one

    • DJ November 25, 2013 at 10:12 AM

      Wow I’m actually the first to comment.

    • dobz November 25, 2013 at 10:18 AM

      I’m catholic, so I have to choose God parents for my kids, and I chose them based on how close I am to them. And as people I could trust to take care of the kids if I wasn’t around. I don’t care about dp pix and gifts. What I feel, like everything else, nigerians Have turned it to a status/ cool thing

    • Iyke November 25, 2013 at 10:26 AM

      I have 4 cute godsons …….am sure the parents have their respective reasons and expections …….However, whatever the responsibilities are, am not willing to measure the sum of my patience spent in idle entanglements…..expectations…. borrowed fragments of over exercised events that cloud the course of reason…But since we are only as good as the shoulders that hold us up and give their best so our best is better measured, I have no problems offering my shoulders, for that is what life is all about ……But NO PRESSURE!!!!

    • Neo November 25, 2013 at 10:26 AM

      Estoppel by religion? Really Atoks?

      Souvenir ke? I am self campaigned and self appointed godmother to my friends kids and they’ve never asked anything of me in return. I think you do things for your godkids bcos u want to not cos their parents see it as some levy for the title. So uncool. just cos im godmother of my friends kids doesnt make me any more inportant than i choose to be as compared to our other mutual friends.

    • kaylah November 25, 2013 at 10:26 AM

      I am not a god-parent yet but my partner has about 8-10 god-children…lol….we have stopped counting sef

    • Endo November 25, 2013 at 10:36 AM

      My nephew is also my godson so l get to spoil him anyway. I also “imposed” myself as god mother on some of my close friends’ kids as l simply adore children!

      Pls share your endometriosis stories @ endochallenges.wordpress.com. Let’s beat endo together!

    • Idak November 25, 2013 at 10:54 AM

      Since I don’t believe in child baptism, no need for godparent in the ideal sense. For the other purposes, that is why they will have uncles and aunties.

      • Mz Socially Awkward... November 25, 2013 at 12:35 PM

        But you have to admit there’s something extra-special about
        tagging the words “mum” & “dad” to titles like this which
        take them a few notches of uniqueness higher (and confers more
        significance upon the appointee’s shoulders) than your average
        collection of uncles and aunties. Yay? Nay?

      • TA November 25, 2013 at 4:56 PM

        @ Idak,me too!
        On a side note,I think parents should be a bit discreet when asking or demanding for gifts from their friends or relatives for their children. Maybe its just me o,but I know children are very impressionable so when they see or overhear their parents asking for stuff on their behalf,its one kain o. but that’s just me sha. Methinks giving should be spontaneous o,no one should be held to ransom,nor be by force.

    • whocares November 25, 2013 at 10:58 AM

      oh I think I am in trouble. I honestly had no idea this much hassle was involved in being a godparent. I have been calling dibs on future “godparentship” with my friends. im going to undib right now. lol. my idea of a godparent is that you are godparent to your very good friend’s kid and you loved the kids like your own. therefore if gods forbids something happened to the friend you would be considered to be the child’s guardian and play a role in the child’s life. of course this role comes with the occasional gifts etc but that wouldn’t be a problem because you love the kid, and it wouldn’t be an obligation either. it would be something you did out of love for the kid(or kids as the case may be for some people). point is if the parents are not dear to me, I cant be god parent to their child.

    • Uc November 25, 2013 at 11:02 AM

      As a catholic i remember i had a God mother during my baptism…..when she wanted to travel out she opted to using my sis as her daughter to get d visa….cant say we have heared from her in over 20 years lo .I guess its for the religious sake nothing more

      • Iris November 25, 2013 at 10:28 PM

        LOL…wait she used you guys to go abroad? That’s a hot
        mess right there.

    • Mitchell November 25, 2013 at 11:16 AM

      I have a godmther who’s face I vaguely recall cos my mum pointed her out to me when I was little. Haven’t seen her since then. I think. Don’t know what informed my mum’s decision n I haven’t asked her about it since. She was my “sponsor” in my infant baptism. I’m Catholic. As far as I know, a Godparent has more of a religious duty. S/he has to see to the spiritual development of the child. Hence the prefix “God”. If I’m ever made a Godparent I’ll show more interest in my Godchild’s spiritual well being more than my own Godmother showed in mine sha.

    • Nomy November 25, 2013 at 11:27 AM

      I have one god-daughter and she’s incredibly cute. I am also not rich, actually right now am back at school but I take a serious interest in her and I take my responsibilities very seriously. I do not want more godchildren though, I want to give my best to the one I have. Another friend asked me very recently and here reasons were that I had depth and I was trying my best to be a good Christian so she thought I was the best option. Sadly, I couldn’t take it up because I was far away during the babies baptism. But I know the people who have asked me did not ask me for my money, because I don’t have any right now!

    • Fashionista November 25, 2013 at 11:58 AM

      Lol Atoke, are you sure you don’t have God-parents? ask your parents. As for me, one of my nieces is my God-daughter, so the spoiling is epic! though I spoil both actually. Really, God -parenting nowadays has been reduced to gift-buying and spoiling the kid with gifts generally. My sister’s God-mum when we were growing up spoilt her silly – ice cream every week; swatch watches; chocolates, you name it! My own God-mum who was my mum’s sister was just a dry God-mum, no treats, gifts, nothing. I used to jealous my sister well well. lol.

      The koko comes when God-forbid, the parents become indisposed or ill and ask the God parents to be life time guardians, that’s when you would see some God-parent’s disappear. This was the case in a movie I watched.

    • Fashionista November 25, 2013 at 11:58 AM

      Lol Atoke, are you sure you don’t have God-parents? ask your parents. As for me, one of my nieces is my God-daughter, so the spoiling is epic! though I spoil both actually. Really, God -parenting nowadays has been reduced to gift-buying and spoiling the kid with gifts generally. My sister’s God-mum when we were growing up spoilt her silly – ice cream every week; swatch watches; chocolates, you name it! My own God-mum who was my mum’s sister was just a dry God-mum, no treats, gifts, nothing. I used to jealous my sister well well. lol.

      The koko comes when God-forbid, the parents become indisposed or ill and ask the God parents to be life time guardians, that’s when you would see some God-parent’s disappear. This was the case in a movie I watched.

    • Mz Socially Awkward... November 25, 2013 at 12:21 PM

      Yassss!!!! Godparents RAWK!!!! And I’m talking from both
      the receiving end and the giving end. I had a baptismal Godmum who
      I know little to zilch about, fact is she really should have had
      her title revoked because all I’ve ever known about the woman (who
      is still alive and hearty) is what my mum tells me (although mumsie
      insists that we shared a close relationship when I was a baby…
      umm, okay). Then in comes my Confirmatory Godmum during my pre-teen
      years, who was gifted to me thanks to catholicism (did I spell that
      right? I don’t think I did) and its religious obvervation of
      sacramental rites (baptism, holy-communion, confirmation, marriage
      & death… I think). And she is simply the best thing,
      EVER. Her hugs were always accompanied by clouds of
      delicious-smelling perfume (you’ll be surprised at how this makes a
      lasting impression on a young gal’s mind), she was wise beyond
      measure and had a way of making sense to me when my own mum didn’t
      (I still love you more, mum!), she was constantly in my life for
      every event (finishing secondary school, repeating secondary school
      to re-taking SSCE, being a worry to my parents in Uni, finishing
      Uni, finishing law-school, leaving for my LLM, getting every job
      I’ve ever had, getting promoted in every job I’ve ever had)… she
      is easily my second mum and I looooooooovvee her to bits
      *sniff-sniff* (makes mental note to call her today…) Then, on my
      own part in the role, I was surprised with the honor of being named
      as the godmum of my friend’s son last year. *squeals* It’s an
      amazing experience but it’s also co-shared because the little
      darling has got two godmums constantly vying for his adoration. And
      he is such a cutie who can do no wrong that I can’t help but take
      my godmum duties to heart. I spoil him with gifts (and lots and
      lots of kisses), love him as my own and both of us god-mums came
      together and threw a special 1-year old birthday party for him
      recently. I will note one particular feature about having godmums
      and being one myself – I think the impact a godparent has in the
      child’s life is mainly due to the relationship the child’s parents
      have with the godparent in question. My 2nd and much-loved godmum
      is actually my mother’s best friend (they were maids-of-honor at
      each other’s wedding and the friendship has lasted over 30 years,
      so go figure). And it’s the same way that I’m really close to my
      godson’s mother, so I see my influence in his life continuing over
      his growing years. Therefore, I would advise parents to choose
      godparents with a view to what kind of continuing relationship
      they’re going to have with the individual in question. Sorry for
      the long essay, I just felt that I should share :-)

      • Mz Socially Awkward... November 25, 2013 at 12:26 PM

        Hahahahaha! See why I had to “re-taking” SSCE?? Typo identified – should have been “to re-take SSCE”… also delete “repeating secondary school” and replace with “repeating SS3″…

      • slice November 25, 2013 at 3:24 PM

        what a nice thing to read this morning. i hail your godmother

      • TA November 25, 2013 at 5:27 PM

        Lol! Nice read ;-) No such ‘godperson’ in my life o! but I can totally relate with those sweet smelling aunties that are just wonderful,yes I can.

      • Ty December 1, 2013 at 11:07 PM

        I can totally relate to your relationship with your Godmother. Mine was very similar – My Godmother played a phenomenal road in my life at a point when I was at crossroads and has always been my first mentor, guardian, friend, “spoiler”, teacher and everything. My mother raised me but my Godmother shaped my perception, trimmed my excesses, spoiled me
        tremendously, groomed my character, sharpened my knowledgeQuantis tv module and taught me an awesome lot of things. Strangely enough, family members wonder why I’m the only one who understands my strict Godmother totally, and I’m glad for her influence in my life.
        So, it’s not always about money, it’s about shaping a child’s destiny, whether the parents are alive or not. And no, it’s not a social title, it comes with loads of responsibilities and we’ve not chosen one for my daughter yet. If I get to be nominated a child’s Godparent, I’d know exactly what comes with the turf because I was shaped into a true man by mine.

    • corolla November 25, 2013 at 1:51 PM

      What about multiple births….twins,triplets etc. Do the
      parents choose one person to be the godparents of all the
      kids?

    • Magz November 25, 2013 at 1:54 PM

      I have 3 cute god-daughters. Didi their parents appoint me?
      No! Did I appoint myself? Yes! Do the parents take it serious to
      this point of definition? No! But i try my best to take care of the
      babies when I’m around (be if gift-wise or any other means). The
      parents have never put any pressure on me whatsoever, I do whatever
      I do because I want to do it.

    • adelegirl November 25, 2013 at 2:48 PM

      Oh Lord! I am the worst godmum on earth. To be fair, I live
      in a different city from my god-daughter but even when I make
      fleeting visits to their city, I don’t visit. Haven’t seen her in
      person since her 1st birthday and she’s about 3 or 4 now. (Sigh!
      Can’t even remember exactly how old she is). Gosh, I am so ashamed.
      I have got to make up in a big way this Christmas. Baba God, be a
      Generous Provider and give me more than enough to make up for my
      ways. :-(

    • jennietobbie November 25, 2013 at 3:23 PM

      ” the best man holiday” yasssssssssss!!!!!!!!

    • CONTESSA November 25, 2013 at 4:09 PM

      I have a Godmother who sponsored my baptism. She ONLY buys me religious gifts. lol. She got me my 1st rosary, bible, and a lot of christian books. I do not have a God child. I’m expecting my 1st child at the moment and this article has got me thinking about a suitable God mother for my child. All my best frds are not catholic :(

      • Cancel Reply November 25, 2013 at 7:12 PM

        Only religious gifts?? LOL!

    • Naveah November 25, 2013 at 4:36 PM

      The role of the godparents is as a surrogate parent. The godparents are supposed to be there for the child just as a parent would just without a direct responsibility, they are supposed to spend time with their godchild (if they live in the same city), help rear, advice and guide them, and remember all the milestones in their lives. There ought to be a relationship where by the child can go to the godparents to talk about things just like they would their parents. It is a very serious responsibility because the godparents should also be able and willing to step in to raise the child IF God forbid something were to happen to the parents and no immediate family member is willing to take on the responsibility of raising the orphan.

      It boils down to personal preference. My best friend didn’t believe it so she doesn’t have any for her children. In my family, we never really had any but in my husband’s family, it is a must and it is always chosen within the family but I turned the table on them on that one. I have two god children of my own, I don’t get to see my godson much because he lives in another state but I never forget his birthday or xmas, my god daughter is a twin so I take care of both of them. I don’t give her without giving her twin. I see her a little more than I see my godson. I get savings bonds for them that they can cash when they are 18, I go to the kindergarten graduations, birthday parties etc. I hope to be there for their big milestones like 16th, 21st birthday, high school and college graduation, their weddings etc.
      I do believe in Nigeria that we do not take it as seriously as people do in the West. In Nigeria, people make themselves godparents which is really rude, it is an honored that is supposed to BESTOWED on a person, it isn’t brass ring that you just grab. You just don’t walk into someone’s wedding plans and declare yourself a Maid of Honor, you have to be asked so the same applies to being a godmother. I think in Naija people want to collect godmother title like they are collecting shoes.

      For my twins, we picked two people within our family and two people outside of the family. We looked at the people’s commitment to their spiritual life, their ethics and moral values and also their financial status. If God forbid something happens to us, we want to make sure that our children are being raised the way we would have wanted them to be raised but also don’t want to burden anyone financially IF they can’t do it because children cost money.

      The seriousness of the role depends on the individual but my thing is this DO NOT TAKE ON THE ROLE IF YOU ARE NOT READY TO DO WHAT IT TAKES! It is “cute” to say you are a godparent but then what are you doing?

      • Olori Tari November 25, 2013 at 5:34 PM

        Wow..this is serious…I would never had thought the word ‘godparent’ has so many connotation. Nice write-up !

    • alldatallure November 25, 2013 at 4:45 PM

      Hmmnnnn…..lmao @ all of your funny comments.
      Well, i have two godmothers…one is my mum’s best friend and the other is my Dads supposed wife( and she loves me more) lol. I guess they both gave me one each to avoid quarell. lol
      I am actyually surprised to read here that Parents now impose responsibilities on their childrens godparent, cos i’ve always known it to be something you do out of love for the child or for the child’s parent.
      I don’t have money now o, but when i do, i will be a godmum to any child that is fine and intelligent with plenty hair on their had…..#potential parents, u better take my number now….book for ur unborn child. Cheers

      • whocares November 25, 2013 at 5:32 PM

        *cough cough* whats your number? Lol. I love how “plenty hair on their head is a criteria”. should we be worried about your demands?

    • tobee November 25, 2013 at 8:17 PM

      This is a sensitive topic and mite not apply to some pple whose denominations are different.most pentecostal churches I know including the chrch I attend don’t baptise infants but wud rather have dem dedicated to God @ birth so dey can choose to be baptized when dey re grown ups. Godparents as described in d dictionary by the writer is som1 who sponsors a child @ baptism. On the other hand,after going thru the comments,a reflection was made on my part to always care fr children nephews,neices,cousins or any child I knw not only when one is a godparent. Thnks Atoke fr bringing ds up again.

    • Sphoenix ;) November 26, 2013 at 12:27 PM

      Atokezzzzyyyyyyy I totally and completely Love You!!!
      LOL @ “Estoppel by Religion”

    • Katriel November 28, 2013 at 12:27 PM

      I have a god son and god daughter. my god son isnt in the same town as me but make it a point of duty to g twice a year to spend time with him. I think the responsibility of a godparent should include being a mentor to godchild, someone they can look up to and like a second parent. Giving gifts comes with it and for me doesnt have to be a milestone event before i do sth. In most cases as my god kids are in formative years I tend to invest into educational gifts to empower them mentally and sometimes get other treats. Praying for my god kids is sth i always ddo asking od to bring them upi to be the best they can be on this earth. I do not have kids of my own yet and also see it as a training ground for when my children come adn consider someone entrusting me to be a god parent a privilege.

    • rootwoo.com November 30, 2013 at 1:09 PM

      God parents shld be a mentor and a friend. My godmother actually spoiled me a little whenever i go spend my holidays with her. When she died, i was given my own canopy. I intend to make every 1st child of my siblings my godchildren.