Friday, November 25, 2022

Godparent Gifts: Do Parents Have the Right to Demand From OFWs?

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The issue of parents expecting or demanding godparent gifts for their children can be a polarizing topic. Opinions may vary depending on who you talk to. If I ask you what’s the definition and scope of responsibilities of a godparent, is it someone who provides guidance and advice to godchildren as second parents? Or is it someone who plays the role of Santa Claus and shower godchildren with godparent gifts during Christmas and their birthdays as well as sponsor their birthday party?

This story is derived from a sentiment shared by an overseas Filipino worker in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. In her Facebook timeline, Rachelle Claire Melchor posted about her disappointment in being invited to be a godmother as an excuse to demand gifts and favors.

In the Philippines, we are often told not to refuse an offer to be a godparent as these innocent ones are little angels that need our guidance. Is it to counter the evil thoughts of their parents who are stubborn enough to make excessive requests based on unfounded assumptions?

It sounds cliche, but OFWs have to remind others that it’s a wrong perception to assume that once you are working abroad, your salary is already significant. (Big is subjective, and different people have different definitions.) Needless to say, whatever OFWs like Rachelle earn overseas is the product of her effort and sacrifice. Ask any OFW, and he or she’ll likely say life is not easy working abroad.

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The problem is that some people feel privileged that they can easily make demands no matter how subtle they sound.

“My shoe size is 8” “My shirt size is L” These phrases are sometimes mixed into the conversation between an OFW going for vacation soon and a friend back home — as though they invested sums of money or time to offer advice on the job application process.

Rachelle’s message resonated with many other Facebook readers that her post generated over 36,000 shares in just a week.

Expecting Godparent Gifts for Birthdays and Christmas

OFWs are typically generous people as they also remember where they come from, and look back to return the favor to folks they used to hang out with. But once in a while, you’ll encounter shameless people who only approach you when they need support. Worse, if you can’t help them, you’ve become the villain. Or greedy. Or whatever label they’d like to call you.

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Some people pick OFWs as godparents of their children. There’s nothing wrong with that as long as the role of a godparent is observed in terms of the provider of guidance and occasional gift giver. But it does not mean parents have the license to demand something in the guise of godparent gifts for children as if it’s their right to do so.

To better understand this story, we’ve shared what Rachelle posted in chronological order.

A parent demanding godparent gifts
A parent demanding godparent gifts

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