"Is Amsterdam Bad?" (Updated)

That is the question my ten year-old son asked on our way into the city from our long weekend getaway.

I want to point out a simple truth: kids tend to frame questions based upon what they hear around them. And kids tune in way more than adults realize. So think of the myriad of adult conversations throughout the city and its environs on the city and pause to reflect upon how that gets processed by a kid. Is it any wonder the question gets asked.

So my question to you is: how should I have answered?

Update: Here is a summary of my answer:

Well, there are some bad things– crime, bad people , bullies, run down buildings– and there are some good things — your friends, your family, the parks, baseball diamonds. Every place has some good and bad and the reason you may have heard Amsterdam is bad is that the city used to be better a long time ago. But things change and now it’s difficult for Amsterdam to be what it once was. A lot of people try and want the city to be better but some people don’t want to change so it just takes a long time to make it better.

Amsterdam’s not perfect but it’s not totally bad either; it’s good, bad and in-between just like everywhere else.

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