Father’s Day – a celebration of the man whose strength upholds his household, whose perseverance empowers his children, whose faithfulness encourages his peers and whose love unites his family. A father’s role is precious in the life of his child, regardless of race or background. But a Haitian father who stands beside his child is invaluable. In a culture discouraging men from fulfilling their God-given roles, a father seeking to provide is worthy of recognition.
At first glance, it isn’t difficult to assume Haitian women are the backbone of the country. The sides of the streets are filled with female market vendors, selling a product in hopes to make a few dollars to feed their children later that evening. And their responsibilities often extend beyond providing an income, including cleaning, cooking, washing, tasks which could span the length of an entire day, but are accomplished in the hours between their shifts, on their days off, or whenever they find the time. And as a result of this, Haitian men have been negatively labeled, appearing lazy and unmotivated. But these stereotypes do not accurately depict all Haitian men, many who have the desire to be the provider. What if these men wanted to be seen in a new and different light but the misconceptions of the culture prohibit them from realizing their potential?
Their stories are unique, the men who not only claim their children, but who rise every morning in an effort to support them, emotionally, physically and financially. There is the man who, when the mother of his child abandons him, remains out of his love and commitment. There is also the man who not only stays, but who chooses to marry the woman with whom he shares his children, building a family and a life with them when he could choose to walk away. There is the man who works odd jobs and multiple jobs just so his family won’t have to worry whether or not they will eat that day. There is the man of courage and integrity, the man who seeks to do what is right even if it means sacrificing what is comfortable and easy. There is the man who defies the odds and the labels, the man who is motivated and who does work hard. This man deserves to be known and seen and heard. He deserves to be celebrated for who he is and for who his children will become because of his labor and example.
To be a good father requires much. To be be a good father in the Haitian culture requires more. At Papillon, we are proud of the men who choose to fight for their children, who dedicate their time to give their families a better life and who battle the stereotypes into which they have been categorized. Their efforts do not go unnoticed and their value is not overlooked. Happy Father’s Day to all fathers. May you feel celebrated always, but especially today.