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Single mom spends 29 years raising son with cerebral palsy, now he is at Harvard

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-05-19 10:46

Mom as a mentor

Thanks to his mother's intense nurturing, Ding graduated from the College of Environmental Science and Engineering of Peking University, and then enrolled in the Law School of Peking University in the same year.

In March 2016, Ding was admitted by the Law School of Harvard University after working as a lawyer for a year.

"I've never dared to apply for Harvard University, but my mom always encouraged me to give it a try. Whenever I hesitate, she is always there guiding me," said Ding.

In terms of educating children, Zou thinks parents should respect their children while at the same time being prepared to learn new things themselves.

Zou has always treated Ding as an equal and likes to discuss important decisions with him. Ding acknowledges that their treating each other as equals is the foundation of their healthy relationship.

"A lot of parents show strong ability and eloquence at work, while they turn bewildered when it comes to educating children, either spoiling the kids or lacking patience, failing to discuss with their kids in an equal and earnest way. My mom convinces me with arguments and stories when we have different opinions," said Ding.

"Ding Zheng's mother is one of the most patient parents I've ever seen, with so many methods to communicate with and enlighten her son. The boy showed a little bit of a strong personality and tended to stick to his own ideas. There were several small disagreements between us, and Zou would always help her son open up to me," Xie Yingshui, Ding's head teacher at Hubei Wuchang Experimental High School, told Xinhua.

In Ding's opinion, Zou is his mentor, while Zou regards herself as her son's sincere friend.

"I've never thought of myself as a great mother. I'm just a mother who would like to achieve continuous progress for her son," said Zou, adding that she would read books and prepare for any difficulties Ding might encounter whenever he entered a new school.

Even though Harvard University has provided financial aid accounting for three quarters of Ding's tuition fee, the remaining quarter poses a huge burden for this single-parent family.

"When I was a kid, I had been expecting to achieve some success when turning 30. Now, I'm 29, still financially relying on my mom. I want to work harder and make enough money to guarantee my mother a better life," Ding told Xinhua.

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