Healing in the countryside

Updated: 2014-05-28 09:17

By Guo Yali (China Daily)

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Healing in the countryside

Feng Lili's husband Rong Xiaojie and Tiantian find a better life in Beijing's Wugezhuang village in 2009. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Healing in the countryside

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When their 8-year-old daughter couldn't cope with school and city life, a desperate couple found the answer in a simpler life. Guo Yali follows their story.

Raise the Child in the Countryside is not the kind of parenting book that is written by "tiger moms" or "wolf dads", explaining their way of bringing up children to excel. It is by a mother whose daughter had problems fitting into society.

Author Feng Lili tells the story of how at first she and her husband thought there was nothing wrong with their daughter Tiantian, or themselves, and the problem was with school teachers. How they kept transferring their daughter to a new kindergarten-five in all-because each time the little girl felt too nervous to go. And how one month after she started primary school, they decided to keep her at home for good because she was simply too frightened by the rules-and finally didn't dare to sleep because she said, "when the day breaks, I'll have to go to school again".

The parents quit their office jobs and became proofreaders at a publishing house so they could work from home and spend more time with their daughter. But the girl just ended up playing all night and then sleeping during the day, leaving the two desperate parents exhausted.

These "darkest days", as Feng calls them, came to an end in March 2009, when the family moved to a village in Beijing's Tongzhou district, more than 30 kilometers away from their downtown home. The idea came from their friend Qiao Yankun, an education expert who was living in the countryside for health reasons.

The living conditions in the village were not what they were used to, but they found life colorful. They grew vegetables, and raised chickens, ducks, rabbits and dogs. They even had a little goat.

But best of all were changes they noticed in 8-year-old Tiantian.

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