Saturday, November 22, 2008

Who is The Godfather?

So, what caught your attention? The headline or the idea that I was going to write an article about the movie, "The Godfather," well its neither. I thought it would be good to talk about what the meaning of Godfather and Godmother really mean to an Italian or Italian American. No, its not the idea you think associated to a stereotype or type of person based on history. Its actually the person chosen as your guardian, who takes a vow to God to take care of you in all circumstances in life, during the ceremonial and traditional Catholic baptism.

The reason I think of my God parents today, is because I actually had lunch with my Godmother today. There is something to be said about an Italian true God parent, like mine. She's over 80 years old, but can run circles around me. She's kind, loving and would give you the shirt off her back if you needed it and I can always count on her to tell me to hurry up and get married so she can buy me a china set. (She's funny.)

This is an incredible woman who embodies the goodness of being a beautiful person. (Pretty deep) OK, so lightening it up a bit, I think the misinterpretation of the term "Godfather" is very distorted here in America. For instance, a friend of mine asked me what I was doing for lunch, I said, "I was having lunch with my Godmother," she replied with a snark comment about being Italian. It didn't offend me because I understand that most people just don't know any better because this is what they've been taught to believe and as Italians we probably tend to spend more time with family than most people.

So, who is the Godfather..??My Godfather, is actually my uncle. He too is a man who would jump through fire to make sure you were happy or just OK. I feel like as an Italian American, we have to make sure we understand what the term "Godfather" means and not just associate it to a mainstream negative stereotype. Look, history is history and we can't deny that, but we should always know the differences and not be confused by the distortion of negative images. The term Godfather or Godmother can't be defined by words or images, its unspoken but understood.

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