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Introducing...the Guideparents!

Welcome to my first blog post. If you have stumbled across this blog, then chances are that you have recently welcomed a new addition into your family and are perhaps considering a humanist naming ceremony. Huge congratulations to you!

They say it takes a village to raise a child. As with other kinds of ceremonies to welcome a new child into the family, you can nominate your closest friends and family as supporting adults to be there for your child as they grow up.

Who will you choose? Your baby’s auntie and uncle, your best friend from school, a lovely couple you met at your NCT class?

Q. What can I call my supporting adults and how many can I have?

There are lots of names you could call your chosen supporting adults, such as:

· Guideparents

· Mentors

· Sponsors

· Sparents

· Fairly Odd Parents….!

If you prefer, you can choose to call them godparents too since this is a familiar term.

In terms of numbers, there’s no set limit – you can choose as few or as many as you like; the average is around 4 or 5 as a ballpark figure. You can choose individuals or couples/groups who can share the role between them.

Q. How can we introduce our supporting adults to our guests?

Before they make their promises to your child, we can introduce your child's guideparents to your guests. We can talk about:

· Where did you first meet them and what do you like doing together?

· How have they supported you since your baby was born?

· Why did you choose them as one of your baby’s guideparents?

· What special qualities or talents do they have that they can pass on to your child?

For example: “Emma, Orla’s Mum, first met Carly on their first day in Year 7 in their tutor group at Kingsdale High. They have been there for each other through all of life’s big milestones and Carly was Maid of Honour at Emma & Matt’s wedding three years ago. Carly was so supportive when Orla was born – her parents especially appreciated all the banana bread she brought round in those early weeks! Carly and Orla already share a special bond, and Emma and Matt are sure that Orla will be able to go to Carly with any problem, big or small, as she grows up.

Q. What kind of promises can our supporting adults make to our child?

If your guideparents aren’t sure about what to include in their promises, encourage them to think about:

· How will they support your child throughout their life?

· Do they have a special skill or talent to teach them?

· What kind of activities will you do with them when they’re a little older?

Remember, they can be a combination of serious, funny and silly promises!

An example promise: “Joe, we promise to be there for you in times of celebration and when life just isn’t going your way. We promise to let you stay up late when you’re staying over at our place and to buy you a pint on your eighteenth birthday”.

In terms of the promise format, there are three main options:

1. The guideparents read out their promises in full (if they’re saying them as a couple/group, they can read them together or alternate between lines). This is a good option if they’re comfortable with speaking in public.

2. ‘Wedding-style’ promises: where the celebrant says one line at a time and the guideparent repeats it back.

3. The celebrant reads out the promise in full and the guideparents respond with “I/we will”. This is a great option if you have a guideparent who really doesn’t like speaking in public.

Remember, the most important thing is that they are meaningful to them and to you as a family unit and to enjoy the moment!

Who will you choose to be your child's guideparents?

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