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“Ei puhu eikä pussaa”

The title of this entry is exceptionally in Finnish due to the nature of the topic. It translates into “doesn’t speak, doesn’t kiss”. This is traditionally (or archaically) attributed to Finnish men.

This writing comes from a rather different perspective. As a mother to one young “Finnish man”, I am astonished it has turned out he is probably less Finnish by nature than either of his parents. He is a little gem who loves to talk, cuddle, compliment others and be cosy. He is 7.

It turns out, for the environment he is in (school in Finland), he is a little too a-typical. He receives negative feedback for being too emotional. He compliments his teachers and tells them he likes them. He also shows affection to his fellow students, naturally in ways we don’t exactly know since we are not there during the school days. Perhaps the teachers put cameras on him during breaks? Or he is a true menace in class.. This is at least what the feedback makes us (parents) think.

You fear, as a parent, the day the little ones have to embark on a journey towards being member of the society. You hope they don’t turn out to be psychopaths, sociopaths or hurt themselves or, god forbid, anyone else. Then you receive the first feedback: He is too affectionate! What should you think?

I cannot but reflect on the ‘good old days’ at daycare, or the ways I see the nursery teachers here treat the kids: they are complimented, hugged, their hair is braided in understandably close contact with the teachers, and they love it! What happens when suddenly they are to start the ‘real’ school.. the boundaries come up. Don’t come too close! Seems to be the message. Learn the ways of the ‘real’ society early or else.. don’t bother others by being too sensitive. Sigh. I just wish it weren’t so!

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