My wife and I welcomed our second child into the world exactly two weeks ago. If I was still teaching in the U.S., I’d be back in the classroom by now.
In Finland, fathers are granted 18 days of paid paternity leave. When our first child (Misaiel) was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I took three personal days away from school. At the time, I thought this was a fair-sized chunk. And then, nearly two years later, I experienced life in Finland.
From three weeks of paid paternity leave to free health care to free higher education, I feel as if I’ve moved to a different planet. But these social policies, although generous, aren’t the things that have most impressed me about living in Finland.
More than anything else, I’ve been refreshed by the Finnish approach to balancing the demands of work and life. Finns work hard, but they work within limits and pace themselves.