A child traditionally has three godparents: a boy has two godfathers and one godmother, and a girl has two godmothers and one godfather. While tradition also dictates that a godparent is expected to become the legal guardian of the child should anything happen to the parents, this scenario is unlikely today. If this is the intention, the parents should make a formal statement of their wishes in their wills.
Careful thought should go into both choosing godparents and considering whether to accept the role. Being asked to be a child’s godparent is a huge honour. Before accepting, ask yourself honestly whether you are prepared and able to fulfill the role. Try to understand what the parents want from you. You must be ready and willing to have regular contact with the family: don’t enter into this relationship knowing that you will be one of those godparents who no one has seen for years.
Ask yourself why you were asked to be a godparent in the first place – what makes you different from the parents and other godparents: culture, glamour, sporting prowess, sociability? Play up to that reason. As godparent, you can be in the uniquely gratifying position of being the child’s first grown-up friend and confidant. Treat them as your equal, and never judge or nag your godchild. Make yourself accessible; when they’re old enough, give the child your mobile number and let them know that they always can call you for a chat. Never, ever forget a birthday or Christmas. Send postcards from holidays; always let them know that they are in your thoughts.