I Do not Want to be a Ninong

In the past, being a ninong or ninang (godfather or godmother) is a big honor and responsibility. Being a godparent in those times entailed that the person is being trusted to be the second mother or father of the child that is being baptized. That aside from sponsoring the child’s baptism, the godparents are given the responsibility to help the parents in guiding and caring for the child to become a God fearing-person when he/she grows up.

Those were the days. Being a godparent nowadays is equivalent to being a money-machine every Christmas. Every December 25th of every year, kids (who you do not see for a whole year) will pop in front of your house, will greet you a “merry Christmas and a happy New Year,” linger for a while and pretend that they are enjoying their visit until you (the veritable ninong or ninang who decided not to hide this Christmas season) give their much anticipated “ampao” or gifts. Then they will leave and you will see them again next Christmas day.

With that, the true essence of god parenting was trampled upon. What is the sense of being a second mother or father of a child if you can only see them once a year? In the current set of things, ninongs and ninangs are being equated to money in the eyes of the children. The materialistic and set of things rendered the children to expect “ampaos” and gifts from their godparents every 25th of December.

I believe that in the times of old, godchildren visited their godparents because they genuinely wanted to see their second mothers and fathers. Godparents, on the other hand, give presents to their grandchildren because they genuinely love their “adopted” sons and daughters. In those times, the central theme is love. The love between the children and their godparents. Gift giving was just in the sidelines.

Sadly, as the time wore on, that love was relegated to the sidelines and gift giving was placed in the center. This phenomenon is coincident with the commercialization of Christmas wherein Jesus was replaced by the materialistic white-bearded mascot named Santa Claus.

With these things, I am not comfortable in become a ninong. I do not to become a money-machine every Christmas. I want to be a true godparent, someone that will help in making a child a respectable and God-loving person.

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  1. Oh? Not easy/cheap to be a Ninong there eh? That's becoming a godfather or godmother at a child's baptism, right?

    Here, it is ok. One does not become a Ninong so many times, maybe one or two...and it's only for spiritual guidance more than anything else.

    Unless you're very close, they do not come round during festivals expecting this and that. Instead, some may actually come to give you a cake for Christmas or your birthday or and ang pao for Chinese New Year. Not so bad being a Ninong here.

    1. :-) Such a difference in culture STP.

      Here in my country, it is expected that grandparents will give something to their godchildren during Christmas. That's why the perennial joke here every Christmas is the "ninong or ninang hiding from their inaanak."

      I have no problem in giving gifts to my godchildren. As long as they are not strangers to me. I really want to be a godfather in the Christian sense of that word. I want don't want to be a ninong who is just remembered by my godchildren during Christmas.


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