Recently one of my student's parents made the difficult decision to separate. Needing to control what she could, Jenny decided to stop taking piano lessons. We said our goodbye over the course of the last few lessons: each a little less structured and more directed by her. It was clear that we were saying goodbye a little at a time.
At her last lesson I said, "Jenny, you can always come back to piano lessons: in a week, in a month, in five months, in a year, in five years, when you're 50 years old. I have a student who's 81 years old! You will always be welcome here. You have lots of choices. Play a different instrument: guitar, trumpet, anything you want! The decision you're making today doesn't mean you can't make a different one later on."
A few minutes later when her father came into the studio, Jenny jumped off the bench and ran over to him.
"Dad!" she said. "Guess what? Diane says I can come back to piano any time I want!"
I was so glad I'd said it.