Our flightless friends have relationships all figured out.
Several weeks ago, we returned from the expedition of our lifetime together. We spent ten days on the continent of Antarctica. While we learned much from the couples we interviewed that live and work in Antarctica, the most important lessons we learned about love and relationships came from the penguins of Antarctica — particularly the gentoo, the adelie, the emperor, and the chinstrap.
And, as it turns out, penguins and humans have a whole lot in common. With that in mind, here are the top 15
we learned from the penguins of Antarctica.
1. Look out for each other.
Like humans, penguins live in towns and villages called rookeries, because it’s easier to protect each other from predators and from the cold weather in groups. And what’s really nice is that most have a short commute to work finding food.
2. Have fun and play a lot.
Penguins, like humans, love to gather with friends and family to have fun and play. Hanging around with their family gives them particular joy.
3. Communicate effectively.
Penguins talk and chatter a lot to each other, just like humans. Communication is at the heart of their relationships with each other, just as it is with us.
4. Be a responsible adult.
As they grow older, penguins learn to spread their wings, and even though they will never fly, they grow up to be responsible and productive adults. Almost all become parents at some point in their life. Sounds like a familiar human story to us.
5. Build your support network.
Sometimes, penguins take trips together with their extended family. Like us, penguins know that friends and family are an integral part of their support network.
6. Show love to your children.
Like us, penguins kiss their babies a lot. Their love and affection for their young is always in evidence.
7. Smile often.
Penguins are certainly a happy lot! They rarely get discouraged and almost never give up on their goals. We humans are like that as well.
8. Watch out for danger.
Penguins know the world is full of danger, but you can always count on them to be prudent and careful for their safety, and for the safety of their family and friends. Humans teach our children to look left and right before they cross the street, and we do so at a very early age.
9. Shout your love to the heavens.
Penguins shout their love for each other by screaming it out loud. They aren’t shy about expressing their love for their mate. Saying “I love you” is just a normal part of their day, and they’re willing to express their sentiments often. We humans could learn to do a better job of this.
10. Keep your body clean.
Penguins love to bathe a lot, especially with each other. They will race to get to the water first. Sometimes a refreshing swim makes them jump for joy.
11. Be faithful to the one you love.
Penguins are monogamous, often having one mate for a lifetime. Death of their life partner is about the only circumstance that causes them to search for a new mate. Maybe younger humans should pay attention to the penguin’s model.
12. Stop and smell the roses.
Frequently, penguins just stop and admire the view — what we humans would call “stopping to smell the roses.” They often stand together to admire the view from where they live and travel.
13. Share the parenting responsibilities.
Like humans, penguins share in the nurturing, feeding, and parenting of their children. It’s remarkable how penguins demonstrate that birthing, protecting and raising a child is a shared responsibility of both the mother and the father. You can count on them to work together to build a comfortable nest for their children.
14. Express your love often.
Penguins often dance for joy at the sight of someone they love. They sing their love for each other. Penguins are certainly not shy about expressing their love. Like humans in successful relationships, they find that hanging out with their partner is the greatest joy of life.
15. Argue fairly and don’t hold grudges.
Penguins squawk and often times engage in lively discussions and arguments. They get in each other’s faces, but they usually resolve their differences in a positive fashion. Like human couples, penguins argue. There’s nothing wrong with that, but they’ve learned to argue fairly, effectively, and almost never hold grudges.
It is clear that penguins and humans have a lot in common when it comes to marriage and relationships. They have mates, love to be around family and friends, and dearly love their children. They may live at the end of the world, but in the end, we’re all very much alike.