Finnish education gets a lot of global praise and for a reason. The schools in Finland are outstanding and the system works.
However, when I think my own upbringing, I feel that there is more to it than just the excellent Finnish school. This is a personal story which I feel a bit insecure to share. I hope nobody gets offended by it.
As I mention in the About-section, I am from the countryside. My home village, Kuhmoinen in Central Finland, has less than 3000 people. The older I get, the more I feel that I was raised and educated by the whole village.
Psst… If you want to add a bit of Finland to your life, come and follow me on Instagram! I’d love to share my world with you!
Näytä tämä julkaisu Instagramissa.
The Touch of Depression
In the 90’s, the depression hit hard on Finland. Many companies went bankrupt, huge amounts of people lost their jobs and in the worst case, their homes too. Finns describe this period understandably cruel and horrible. I was around 5 years old. Luckily, my understanding of it all was comparable to a size of a Barbie’s shoe.
I remember that my family had a big vegetable patch, apple trees, strawberries, black currant, and raspberry bushes. The cellar was packed with roots, vegetables, mum-made jams, and juices.
Our grocery shopping days conveniently correlated with the expiring days of meat packages and thus, we bought them half-priced. As I played between the aisles, my mum quickly memorized the dates for the next visit.
Then, 400 grams of minced meat was enough for four people for four days. Nowadays, with Finnish meat-eating habits, the same amount feeds three mouths at a dinner.
I remember my family made a year’s heating supplies from the neighboring forests. My little sister and I spent hours in the woods watching our parents carrying timber. For the breaks of that hard labor, we had a bag of cinnamon buns and a bottle of mead to enjoy.
My Childhood Heroes
I remember that on sunny, misty mornings in the autumn, I ran on the fields to scare hazel grouses up in the air so that my dad could shoot them. By the way, my dad would still ask me to do this if we lived in the same village.
I was lucky to have a full-of-life, just-graduated teacher when I started school. She made our class a tight pack through new methods like night school and camping. She used music as a tool for therapy, presentations skills, and creativity.
When local taxi drivers spotted me on the side of the road, walking from school, they took me home countless times for free. Everybody knew everybody in my village so it was perfectly safe.
The doors were rarely locked and friends visited without informing. I could tell instantly who was visiting us from the rubber boots left outside on the porch.
I was spending so much time in my best friend’s house that their pets (and most likely neighbors) thought I was living there.
My Experiences about the Finnish Education
From this memory lane to present day, I had the most comforting incident this autumn. I decided to visit a beach where I spent summer days as a child.
On the way there, a taxi driver spotted me and stopped to greet. He still remembered me. And the beach wrapped me with the same loving arms as 15 years earlier.
I believe that the open doors and co-naturalism* still exist in the Finnish countryside.
Furthermore, I believe that I wouldn’t be the same me as I am today, without all these kind people in my childhood. They gave me my Finnish education.
* Yep, I am pretty sure I just invented that word. If you know a word to describe “gardening, hunting, farming, fishing, making woods, enjoying and co-existing with nature” could you please write that in the comment box? To me, “self-sufficient” lacks some emotion.