Editorial- Penguin Daddies

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The female lays the egg, and then the male takes care of it while she goes hunting. For about 62 days, he is the one responsible for the egg’s survival. That is the way of the penguin.

Many men resemble penguins, who, due to the circumstances of fate, have had to take over the reins by themselves, without the support of a female figure. There may be many reasons, but the commitments are extensive.

The Voice of Guanacaste’s photojournalist documented the lives of four single fathers who struggle day after day to help their children get ahead. The idea was to pay them tribute for Father’s Day, but when starting the interview process, sad stories also came to light, devastating memories of broken families, with inspiring as well as devastating stories.

During the interviews, it was hard for these fathers to relive the moments of loss, whose love stories did not finish with a happy ending. Although three, four or ten years have passed, the memories linger under these families’ roofs.

Family is the fundamental element. It is perhaps the social gear that has the most impact on a person’s life. We exist because of our families, we behave in certain ways and repeat patterns, but what do we call family? Is the family dad, mom and children? The answer, instead of a resounding “yes,” should be “but also.”

These penguin daddies believe that family should not have to fit certain rules or stereotypes.  They know it is not easy for their children to feel complete since society has stipulated that a woman should be present under the concept of mother, but they decided to care for the egg against all odds.

Naturally, the woman has certain qualities that it is harder for a man to display when it comes to raising a child and taking care of a home, aptitudes like gentleness, tolerance and sacrifice. On the contrary, the Guanacaste man doesn’t cry, is strong, rude and does not get involved in taking care of the home. He doesn’t know how to cook or wash his own clothes. These are women’s things, not men’s.

But we must be realistic and when it’s your turn, it’s your turn. The labels of “poor guy” are set aside. There’s no time to cry or feel defeated, because under the same roof, there are people who need that strength.

In this world, there are men who abandon their children and there are also men who struggle, who do their utmost for them. While the rights of single mothers should always be fought for, we should also applaud these men who set the example and take on the role of two. That’s why today, we honor these penguin daddies. Happy Father’s Month.