When I wrote a few days ago about a student of mine who broke her arm, I didn't tell the whole story.
During the trip where Sami broke her arm, her mother also sustained a serious concussion in a skiing accident. The next day, on the way home, the entire family was involved in a car accident. Their car was totaled.
I've just returned from teaching these three children their lessons at their home. It's against my policy to teach anywhere but at my studio. So why would I break my own rule? Because it was the kind thing to do. It made their lives easier. I could do it without much trouble. I even offered to do it next week if the mother isn't feeling better. (She'd been to the ER last night for an emergency CT scan because she was still having serious symptoms a week after the concussion.)
I bring this up because I want underscore how important it is to be flexible and reasonable.
Here's how I thought about this one:
- I teach three kids from this family.
- The mother was unable to drive and too ill to leave the house.
- They'd all just been in a traumatic car accident.
My rule? Any time another family has a broken limb, a concussion and a totaled car, I'll go to their house for lessons.
I reserve these large gestures for difficult situations. I had an adult student with leukemia and during his chemotherapy he didn't want to be around the kid germs at my studio. I didn't want to take a chance on him getting sick while his immune system was down so I went to his house weekly for a while.
My rule? If you're having chemotherapy I may be able to teach you at your home. It's never come up again, thank goodness.
It makes it easier for me to break my own rules when the rule-breaking has its own formula.
Here's what I ask myself.
- Would I want to do this for any other student in this situation?
- Could I set a precedent that I would be willing to do this for any other student in this given situation?
If the answer is yes, I do it.
Having a great studio policy and running a tight business doesn't mean that I'm a heartless and money-obsessed. It means that I have the freedom to be loving, kind and generous when it's the right thing to do.