Lately it seems that I’ve been having the same conversation with my boys every day. I’m rushing them out the door for school, church, or practice repeating “hurry up, we’re going to be late!” Most of the time, they look at me with little or no concern and slowly finish their process of getting ready. This DRIVES ME NUTS!
I hate to be late… period. As a matter of fact, I consider “on time” late. This philosophy works well with being married to the military. With the military, fifteen minutes early is “on-time.” If you schedule a doctor’s appointment, they even tell you to arrive fifteen minutes early or you will lose your appointment.
My boys have become accustom to being early. So, they know that when I say “we are going to be late,” I really mean “we are not going to be early.” I think that is why they have no sense of urgency. We went to an appointment the other day and I found myself apologizing to the man because we were on time. This may sound strange, but let me explain my reasoning.
To me, being late is disrespectful. You are basically saying that your time is more valuable than mine. You may think “I couldn’t decide what to wear… so I put on four different outfits this morning… so, sorry that I’m ten minutes late.” What I think is “I managed to get everyone up and ready… by myself… and managed to get here early… just so I could sit here and wait for you to have a fashion show?!”
Or… “I’m so sorry, traffic was awful so I’m 15 minutes late.” I think “you should always plan for traffic… accidents… trains, etc. in your travel calculations and leave early enough to accommodate for those things.”
Granted, there are times (like Sunday) when I was late for a meeting. My youngest child decided to leave the house ten minutes before we were walking out the door. I drove to five different houses for twenty minutes looking for him. Keep in mind, I was only three minutes late to the meeting because I always plan for “whatever.” The people at the meeting were worried because they know that I am not late.
Sometimes, no matter what you do, you will be late. But those times should not be every day. They shouldn’t be once a week. They should be such a rare occurrence that people are actually concerned for your well-being when they happen.
Are you regularly late for work, church, and appointments? Do people tell you events start thirty minutes early just so you might be on time? If this fits you, instead of thinking “I’m always late, that’s just me,” think about the people who are actually waiting for you at your destination. Think about what they have gone through to get there on time. Ask yourself, why is your time more valuable than theirs?
Then, it’s a matter of getting up earlier, leaving the house earlier, or planning your wardrobe the night before. Whatever you have to do, do it. Because what tardiness says is “I am more important than you.” I’m sure that is not the message that you intended… right?
“Think of others as better than yourselves. None of you should look out just for your own good. You should also look out for the good of others.” Philippians 2: 3b-4