Christening Your Child: Is It Really About the Religion?
As a choice that is incredibly common throughout religious circles, making the decision to christen your child is something that has changed over the years. In most religious families, once you go through the emotional process of greeting a new baby, you’ll then decide to either opt for a Christening or a Baptism. This gives parents the opportunity to have their baby recognized and accepted by God.
Although Christening will always have a background in religion, there are plenty of other reasons as to why parents may opt for this ceremony to be performed early or later on in their child’s life. Many of which seem to be controversial throughout religious communities.
1. Sticking to Tradition
Many families may not have the idea of bringing their children up into a religious household, but they still want to stick to the tradition of having their children Christened. This is particularly true if relatively everyone in their family has experienced some type of religious ceremony to welcome them into the world.
This can be concerning, as making the decision to Christen a child isn’t something to be taken lightly. If you’re opting for the ceremony just because everyone else in your family has done it, it’s important that you consider your own religious affiliations and whether it’s truly necessary or not.
2. Assigning Godparents
The idea of having a group of Godparents surrounding your children throughout their entire life can be comforting. This is especially true if you wouldn’t want to leave your children with immediate family members in the event of a traumatic accident. The one major concern that parents have with Godparents is the child first needs to be christened or baptized in order to have legally binding guardians in the event that you and your spouse both pass away.
Again, this may have absolutely nothing to do with practicing faith, but instead to give parents peace of mind. It’s advised that you talk to a family lawyer to determine if there are any other avenues you can take to assign guardians to your parents, particularly if you’re not a religious family.
3. Hosting a Celebration and Party
As one of the more strange reasons as to why parents may opt, to have their child Christened is to be able to take advantage of planning a party after the event. However, it is important to note that you can plan a party for any major milestone in your child’s life, without having to get them christened.
Parents love the idea of finding adorable dresses and suits to dress their children up in, hosting a huge bash for friends and family, and being able to mingle with everyone for a couple of hours enjoying drinks and food. Although a christening is typically something that you would celebrate in terms of your child’s relationship with God, it’s certainly not something you should do just to host a party.
4. Getting into Good Schools
As one of the largest problems in most countries around the world, there is a strict divide between the education given through religious schools and public schools. Throughout history and even in today’s day and age, people believe that their children will get a far better education when they’re put in private schools versus public schools. In most circles, religious schools are as close as you can get to private school without having to pay outrageous annual fees.
Now, you may be wondering how that has anything to do with getting your child christened. In order to be granted admission to a religious school, your child has to have either been christened or baptized. These rules are for strict compliance and must be followed; otherwise, your child’s application won’t make it through the front desk.
5. Familial Pressure
Even if it’s not particularly tradition for people in your family to have christenings, you might find that religious family members will begin to pressure you to have the ceremony completed. For example, if you’re not the most religious person in the world but your parents are, you may be bombarded with questions about when your baby is going to be christened. This in itself can become tiring and as a result, you may find yourself looking into what needs to be done in order to have the ceremony performed.
Another common way for family to pressure you into hosting a christening is based on traditional clothing, which may sound strange but is far more common than you think. There may be a christening gown that has been passed down through the generations and every child is expected to wear it when they are being christened. This means you’ll not only feel like you have to host a religious ceremony, but you’ll also need to do it before your child is too big to fit into the traditional gown.
Be Prepared for What is Involved with a Christening
Regardless of your motives, it’s important that your family is prepared for everything that comes with opting to have your child christened. It is a relatively lengthy process that is going to require you to pledge your faith to God in many ways. For example, if you intend on assigning Godparents they may be required to attend church classes before the ceremony, though this may depend on your church.
You may also need to consult with your religious leader to determine how the ceremony will progress and what you and your family will be responsible for. At times, churches may do “mock-christenings” to give parents an idea of where they should stand, when to hand off their baby, and what’s involved with the process.
It’s important to remember that christening your child is more than giving you the ability to host a party or giving your kid the opportunity to attend a religious school. It is a serious commitment that shouldn’t be taken lightly. In the event that you want to protect your child throughout their life, consider other alternatives that might fit your family better. Such as adding clauses to your will that ensure they’ll be sufficiently protected by a trusted friend or family member in the event of an accident.