”Finland is a Hobbyland. Everyone has a hobby”, said one of our foreign friends recently. Yes, hobbies are valued by the Ministry of Education, by employers, homes and friends. Also, adults have hobbies. Having hobbies is normal.

The Ministry of Education set last year a workgroup to investigate the hobbies and possibilities how every child could have a hobby despite of his/her background or other factors. This is how the workgroup wrote about the importance of the hobbies (translation of the original text by me & Google): 

Clicking the picture takes you back to the origins of the photo.

“Hobbies form a key part of the life of children and young people.

Their significance today is emphasized by the face-to-face social interaction, the self-expression of children and young people, as well as versatile and inspirational activities. Hobbies combine nurturing friendships, self-development, dreams for children and young people, finding their own strengths, interacting with adults, and choosing a child and youth to spend their leisure time as meaningfully as possible. Hobbies can prevent exclusion and be a means of helping the marginalized people.” 

Finnish children have relative short school days and less homework than in most of the countries. Our children have time to have a hobby or hobbies. Depending on family hobby can be unformal and playful or bit more serious, but not too much. Thanks to professional trainers and supervisors they mainly want to promote joy of doing, playing, dancing, making art or whatever the hobbies happen to be.

All children having a hobby or hobbies may also mean, that parents are drivers, caretakers and voluntary workers of different associations and organizations. Some of the hobbies are also expensive.

That is why the workgroup of the Ministry suggests, that everybody could have a hobby if all the stakeholders would work together. School premises are used for hobby purposes in the evenings, but premises could also be used in the afternoon. The different hobby organizations and schools could look for new solutions. Afternoon hobbies would free the evenings for families to be together and relax.

Folkdance was my hobby when I was a child and youngster. It was the best “university of life”. There I learned; to dance and play together with different people, my cultural roots got stronger, I learned to take responsibility and challenge myself, I learned to work in voluntary organizations, I got many life long friends around the world, I had my first romances and parties there safely, I felt accepted as I am, I experienced of joy, laughter but also other feelings…It really was a university of collaboration and growth!

Dancing is still my hobby. Dancing together does so good. I am happier and nicer person when I have possibility to dance. Luckily Finland is a Hobbyland!