This post has been a very long time building up in my head, years in fact. It’s all about choosing god-parents or guardians for your kids. I can imagine no harder job than this one.
As Chris and I are not religious it is not about finding someone who will offer them spritual guidance and ensure their souls are led on to a higher plane. For us it is all about the very practical task of choosing who will be best to look after your children if something were to happen to you. It’s all about choosing your replacement. Freaky decision and yet so very important.
Chris and I are the guardians of three kids:
- One is Chris’ cousin (yes his aunt and uncle are not much older than we are) and he is now 11 years old, but he lives overseas and while we try to stay close, how close are you really to a child who doesn’t live in the same country. But I often feel as though Chris and I are so close to being on the same page in terms of child rearing principles to his parents.
- The other is my oldest (longest standing) friend’s daughter who is approaching her second birthday. We have never met her and in fact she has four guardians, so I am not really clear on whether we would get custody of her if something were to happen to her parents or whether this is just a symbolic role offered to me in light of our long standing and deep friendship. Surely it’s not at all cool that your child’ guardian is not clear on what the responsibility actually is?
- The third is our niece, also approaching two now, who we see every week and who’s life we are very invovled in, yet in her two years we have only been allowed to baby-sit for a total of two hours on one single occassion, seems odd you would leave your child to someone who you don’t even allow to babysit?
And this is where we get into a sticky space. You see what criteria do you use to choose guardians? What is essential and what is just nice to have? What is a deal breaker?
Chris feels very strongly that whoever it is should be very involved in your child’s life, should be someone your children spend lots of time with, so that should the dreaded happen and they have to become part of someone else’s family they are not also having to learn to get used to someone they don’t know very well. And I don’t think he is wrong, but…
I think that almost as important as them knowing the person who they go to, is finding someone who will bring up your kids the way you would. Someone who has the same principles in mind about how kids should be brought up and what is important. I think it matters what kids are fed, how they are disciplined, whether they have routine in their lives. I think it matters how your kids are taught responsibility and consequences and how to manage their lives as they grow older and independant.
I also believe that kids should grow up in (as far as possible) a stable, loving, unconflicted home with two parents who love each other as much as they love the kids. Now I know life doesn’t always work out that way, I grew up with divorce (both my parents and my step-mom and Dad) but would you choose to give your kids into a home you know is not stable?
Chris and I have ideas on what morals kids should be brought up with, ideals on how and what they should be taught about religion (while we don’t 100% agree on this, we are on the same page). Would you choose to hand your kids over to someone who has very drastically differing religious views from your own.
And does ANY of this actually matter more than simply ensuring that your kids are loved and cared for??? Please provide any feedback on this, I am going around and around in dramatic circles.