miðvikudagur, desember 07, 2005


Iceland is a place full of kids. What I realized after a couple of months here was that I was seeing and interacting with kids on a daily basis. Whether it was coworkers' spouses bringing kids in for an end-of-day visit, kids wandering the aisles of the Nóatún while their parents shopped, or kids doing high-dives to splash into the hot tub right next to me, kids are unavoidable in Iceland.

This was in stark contrast to living as a young professional in Boston, where kids were few and far between. There, the kids of coworkers were safely ensconced in suburbs. The Stop and Shop was full of twenty and thirtysomethings like me, and there were no real public gathering spots that embraced the whole community (teens, yuppies, families, and retirees) the way the swimming pools do here.

Well it turns out that Iceland as a government and a society provides a lot of services for parents and kids. Yesterday I read an excellent article on the benefits available to families in the Land. Some of the benefits include subsidized prenatal care, home care visits for new parents, nine months of combined and paid maternity and paternity leave, day mothers, and special family support for children with disabilities. Iceland is apparently so good in this area that some families have moved here just to take advantage of the nice environment for family raising. It seems to me, at least anecdotally, that my coworkers with families here have an easier time than families of my coworkers in the States.

It's funny, coming of age in 1990s America I associate the phrase "family values" with conservative Republican code for "we don't like homos, and educated folks, neither". It's refreshing to live in a society that uses less code words and seems to care about true family values without making a big fuss about it.


Anonymous Nafnlaus said...

fellas - glad to see you reworded your holier than Christ, err, all inclusive holiday spirit, parting shot.

Anonymous Nafnlaus said...

You think Iceland is good, try Denmark. Kids are money machines and everybody is having them!! (every icelander that is...)


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