A naming ceremony should not be confused with a Baptism or Christening, usually associated with Christian or other religious rites. It is a ceremony that introduces and welcomes a new member into the family and into the world, while leaving the child free to choose or not to choose Christian or other religious directions in life when she or he is of an age to make such decisions independently.
Baptisms and Christenings traditionally include the appointment of ‘godparents’ to help guide an infant child. There is, of course, nothing at all wrong with or unusual about the continued use of the term ’godparents’ in naming ceremonies or the privileged roles extended to those nominated, but it is not uncommon now that they are identified as ‘life mentors’ or ‘life guardians’.
Whatever the title, the ones who are offered and accept such roles are trusted advisers. Independently of each other, the words ‘trusted’ and ‘advisers’ have their own meanings, but together they represent the values, responsibilities and roles anticipated of them.
Recognising the important roles of parents, grandparents and other family members is also important in helping children find their identity and their inner security, as well as building a special relationship of mutual trust and enjoyment. Extended family members are the link in any child’s understanding of their lineage, their history, culture and values. Their importance in the child’s development should never be underestimated.
In addition to a personalised ceremony and a commemorative Naming Certificate, symbols or other traditions can be incorporated into the celebration if you prefer.
Naming Candles, for example, continue to be popular:“The light and warmth from this candle is symbolic of the light (name) brings into your lives and the warmth of your love for (her/him). Each year, perhaps on birthdays or other special days, the candle can be reignited, but as it becomes shorter over time, the love that is expressed in the candlelight about you will become stronger.”