You've taken the decision to have a celebrant-led naming ceremony for your child, but where on Earth do you begin with the details?
A naming ceremony almost always involves the parent(s) making some promises to the child, a bit like wedding vows. These can be simple or complicated. They can be extended to include guide parents or siblings, and the only limit is your imagination!
1. Define your terms
When you begin to write your parental promises, you need to think about the vocabulary you are comfortable with. Some people feel awkward about using flowery and effusive language of love and affection, so they need to find their comfort zone. You don't have to speak in Shakespearean sonnets to get across a heartfelt and sincere message.
In fact, unless you're an accomplished public speaker, simplicity is probably best.
2. How will you deliver your promises?
There are a few different ways that you could deliver your parental promises. You can speak separately, speak together, or just respond "we will" to statements that the celebrant reads aloud. Again this is just a case of going with whatever you're most comfortable with.
3. What will you say?
Here are some examples of wording. You can use them as they are, or use them as a starting point and get cutting and pasting with other ideas.
Examples of Structured wording:
Parent(s) respond "I/We do" after each question. You can treat these like a pick-n-mix. Keep just the ones you like.
Do you promise to respect NAME as an individual, and to help them develop their own thoughts, beliefs and values?
Do you promise to teach NAME by your own example so that they grow up knowing right from wrong and truth from dishonesty?
Do you promise to guide NAME as they learn, and to be there to unconditionally support them when they face difficult challenges?
Do you promise to help NAME to take their place in the world as a good and caring member of society?
Do you promise to laugh with NAME, cry with them, learn with them and they go through life's adventures?
Do you promise to encourage NAME'S curiosity and adventurous spirit so that they will be capable of dealing with life's experiences with quiet confidence and fortitude?
Do you promise to dedicate yourselves to the upbringing of NAME and to put their needs above your own?
Examples of Freestyle wording:
I/We promise to keep you and clothe you, shelter and protect you, love and support you as long as you need, to the best of my/our ability
I/We will surround you with love and affection, make as sure as I/We can that no harm comes to you, and throughout my /our lifetime, always be there for you whenever you need me/us.
I/We promise to love you with all our hearts, and always be here for you when times get tough. I/We will try to help you learn from our experiences, but I/we realise that sometimes you will have to make mistakes and learn these things for yourself. Lastly, I/we promise that even when you have tested every boundary that I/we will remember that you are my/our boy and there is no one I/we would rather have as my/our son/daughter.
I/We promise to love you unconditionally. And to teach you the difference between right and wrong, and the importance of kindness. I/We will encourage you to see what the world has to offer, and always have a safe place for you to return home to, and I/we promise to always be here for you with a hug.
Our promises to you are… To love and support you. To listen to you and respect you To cherish and guide you. To help you learn right from wrong. To show you how to respect others and the world around you. To be there whenever you need us. To create a welcoming home for you and your friends. To give you my/our love unconditionally as I/we welcome you into our lives. To teach you honesty, generosity of spirit, and tolerance of others. To be realistic in my/our hopes for your future and to accept the choices you make as you grow up. I/We promise to be the best parent(s) possible.
I hope you found some useful ideas in this article. If you want to chat informally, please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org