And a long August day it has been here on the Baltic Sea, near the arctic. My wonderful husband Kit and I have just finished a nap after a 3 1/2 hour guided walking tour of Helsinki. There was an exhibit works of Tove Jansson, creator of the Moomins, creatures whose motto seems to be: All of us are a bit strange in our own ways — and that’s just fine! (See Trolls at left.)
That seems to sum up the Finns — and perhaps the Nordic culture. As our guide said about an upscale store, “We don’t go in there. That is just for tourists!” For the Finns, she said, things must be useful, simple, comfortable and maybe even bright enough to cheer a short winter day. And Voila! In the 1950’s came, Marimekko, maker of distinctive fabrics!
Marimekko and Moomins . . . two delightful Finnish gifts to the world.
But what really struck me about Helsinki were the little girls! One two year old walked by — some distance from her mother — with a lollipop in her mouth. I turned to a friend and said, “Such APLOMB!” And our friend said: “The next president of Finland!” And, as I looked at the families out for a Sunday walk in the park, ALL the very young girls seemed totally assured. Perhaps these little girls really will become future leaders and be an even bigger gift to our world!
Ah, God, we need more leaders who care about the simple, useful and workable. More leaders who are not interested in Money and Power and More. More of everything!
Hmmm. Maybe leaders are more our followers than we want to realize.