Weekly snapshots of family life in 2016
We spent last week in Amsterdam. I was hesitant to go at first, partly because I wanted to minimize travel with fear of growing violence and terrorism everywhere in the world. It’s so easy to get caught with headlines of growing xenophobia and nationalism from the UK to the US. Reading the papers and news sites on the internet often leave me with the feeling of wanting to crawl under a big boulder and hide from the rest of the world, biding my time until things go back to normal. But what good will that do, right? Living in fear and giving up on some of our freedoms mean that the other side (whatever that means) has won.
Going to Amsterdam was a good idea because it was a quick plane ride from Paris and an easy city to navigate. Practically all the Dutch we met spoke English so language was not an issue. Amsterdam is also a city that is full of diversity, in terms of ethnicities and lifestyle, as well as history, from the Dutch mercantile past to the famed Anne Frank’s house.
Visiting the city puts many things in perspective for me because a few things came clearer at the end of our trip. First, whatever happens in the near future, things will be alright. Seeing Amsterdam’s long history of growth and decline as well as learning how it bounced back from WWII restore a bit of my faith in humankind, that goodness will always prevail over the bad. Second, seeing fellow travelers in Amsterdam also make me believe that no matter how extremists and xenophobes want us to be fearful of one another, there is a group of us who treasure and respect the differences in each other. We must not lose our openness, tolerance and love for one another no matter how different we may all be and how difficult circumstances can become. Hating is the easy thing to do; loving and showing compassion, which can be more challenging, are so much more rewarding and lasting in the end.
Hoping for a better world for us and our children!