Parenting comes with a huge number of challenges, from helping your kids through their own struggles to not being needed quite as much as they grow up. Parenting from home is hard enough, but a whole new host of difficulties appears when you’re forced, for one reason or another, to parent from afar. Liu Haibin, a father from China, lives and works 730 miles away from his wife and 8-month-old son. Despite the distance, Haibin is still able to play with his son thanks to his impressive technical abilities and a little creativity.
Seesaws hold a special place in Haibin’s heart. When he was a child, Haibin and his dad built special memories around their own seesaw. “Every time I think about my childhood, I remember my father coming home early to play with me on the seesaw,” he told Oddity Central. “This memory always gives me strength, so I want to give my son memories that fill him with love.”
Being so far from his son is an enormous challenge for the 30-year-old dad, so in a stroke of creative genius, he created the world’s longest seesaw (sort of). One end of the seesaw is in Xiamen where Haibin lives, while the other is over 700 miles away in Tengzhou with his son. When Haibin sits on his end, sensors tell the other side of the seesaw to lift.
More important than the motion sensors are the screens. If only we could have told our parents 30 years ago that screens would one day be central to family time – they would have rolled their eyes and unplugged our Ataris. Today though, screens allow Haibin and his son to play on their unique seesaw, (virtually) face-to-face.
Haibin sees and hears his son smile and laugh as he lowers and lifts his end, knowing that even from so far away, they’re able to bond and create memories together.
“My little boy was very happy playing on the seesaw, it was such a long time ago since he smiled at me,” Haibin said. “I believe this will make him happier and everything I did was worth it.”