Wang Yuanzhuo and his wife, Lü Junjie, live in Beijing's Haidian District. Wang is a researcher with the Institute of Computing Technology, under the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Lü is a professor with the School of E-Business and Logistics, under Beijing Technology and Business University. They both supervise Ph.D. students. They have two daughters. Nowadays, many parents feel — sometimes extreme — anxiety as they raise and educate their children. Wang and Lü, on the contrary, do their best to ensure their daughters feel warmth and joy, and the encouragement to be creative. They provide their children with high-quality companionship, and they guide their girls in ways that will ensure they grow up in a healthy way.
Opening a Gate to Science
"I once told a joke to my husband. I told him that he could be the one who draws best among scientific researchers, and the one who does scientific research best among artists who draw and/or paint." Lü recalled that comment she made about Wang, and she added she believes her husband has discovered a special "chemistry" between scientific research and drawings.
In 2019, Wang and Lü watched The Wandering Earth (a Chinese film directed by Guo Fan) with their daughters. It was difficult for the two girls to understand the scientific theories reflected in the film. Wang drew five illustrations to help his daughters seek answers to questions, such as: "What are the differences between the earth and other terrestrial planets, if the earth's humidity drops sharply and the earth's atmosphere becomes much thinner?" and "Is real-time communication available on the wandering earth (as depicted in the film)?"
To Wang's surprise, his drawings became very popular after he uploaded them onto his WeChat Moments. Media outlets reported on his drawings, and netizens gave Wang a nickname — "hard-core scientist Dad."
Wang was impressed by ordinary people's approval, and by their desire to receive scientific education. Since 2020, Wang has written two books, in which he has combined drawings and science knowledge depicted in science fiction films. As a consultant, he has participated in the production of several science fiction films. Working with the China Computer Federation (CCF), Wang has participated in the publication of a series of books on science, the establishment of CCF's science education bases, and he has encouraged other scientific researchers to promote science among the public.
Wang's daughters are proud of what their father has done. Wang is glad the girls have developed an interest in science.
Wang believes children's participation is necessary for a good education. "Take science education as an example, we cannot simply teach our children everything. It is more important to inspire children's interest and creativity, and to help them get involved in various education activities," Wang explains.
Creativity can be improved through various practices, such as making crafts, drawing and painting, writing articles and conducting scientific research. Wang was passionate about inventing when he was a middle school student. Now, he guides his daughters as they make small robots. When he stays at home with the girls, Wang teaches them scientific knowledge based on the books they read and/or the films they watch. His daughters sometimes draw illustrations with him.
Lü has helped her daughters develop an interest in reading since they were little girls. During the past four years, Wang Yuexin, the younger daughter, has read more than 3,000 books. She has learned a lot from the classic literature she has read. She is always keen to study something new.
In addition to science education, Wang Yuanzhuo and Lü focus on teaching their children moral virtues. They have educated their children to first love the Communist Party of China (CPC) and their motherland. Wang Yuexin tells her schoolmates stories about the Party's revolutionary history. She once led other students as they recited the students' speech delivered during the ceremony marking the centenary of the CPC (held on July 1, 2021).
Wang Yuanzhuo and Lü also ask their children to inherit traditional Chinese culture. Every year, the family follows the Chinese tradition of celebrating the Spring Festival. They clean their house together, do paper cuts for window decorations, and write Spring Festival couplets, to create a festive atmosphere.
Wang Yuanzhuo and Lü have rented a garden in a suburb of Beijing. They have taken their children to the garden, where they have taught their daughters to plough the land, sow seeds, cut grass, fertilize the land, and grow and harvest vegetables. By working in the garden, the girls have come to realize it is not easy to grow vegetables; as such, they have a greater appreciation for the food they eat every day.
"We hope our children will discover joy while they explore their daily lives. We hope they will feel the power of love and sow a seed of happiness at the bottom of their hearts," Wang Yuanzhuo says.
Wang Yuanzhuo's family was selected a National Most Beautiful Family in 2021. In May this year, the family received the National Five-Virtues Family award.
Photos Supplied by Interviewees
(Source: The Department of Family and Children's Affairs of the All-China Women's Federation/Women of China English Monthly September 2022 issue)
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