”Make your parents cry” may not have been the assignment, but it was definitely the result of this important lesson.

Japan, famously, puts a lot of educational pressure on its kids. Between their regular courses, cram school classes, and highly competitive entrance exams for private secondary schools and universities, some kids are studying almost constantly.

But while it’s important for young children to nurture their minds, all of that time spent in pursuit of academic improvement can sometimes leave kids with little time to spend interacting with their parents. That’s an imbalance that the teacher of Twitter user Marie’s elementary-school age daughter wanted to address, which led to a very unique homework assignment.

On Monday, the younger of Marie’s two daughters came home from school, and when asked what sort of homework she had, told her mother that she had no arithmetic drills or kanji-writing exercises to do that day. Instead, she and her classmates had been given these instructions by their teacher:

“Hug your parents for one full minute.”

It turns out the teacher had a touching reason to encourage this sort of physical affection, explaining:

“My mom died when I was in elementary school, and even though I wanted her to hug me one more time, we didn’t get the chance, so all of you make sure to get lots of hugs.”

Online responses have included:

“I can’t wait for my kids to get home so I can hug them.”
“What a wonderful teacher.”
“I think this is the kind of educator we need.”
“I totally understand. I lost my mom when I was in the sixth grade.”

It’s an important reminder that for as much time as kids have to spend with their nose buried in a textbook, we shouldn’t forget that sometimes they also need to spend a minute wrapped in their parents’ arms.

Follow Casey on Twitter (but make sure you hug your loved ones first).

Source: Jin