Coming or remaining after the due, usual, or proper time.
I grew up believing that arriving somewhere on time was the proper thing to do. In fact, I'm fairly certain my father taught me that 5 minutes early was on time. The reasons behind this were many, but the most important being that other people's time is valuable. And when I'm late, I'm implying that their time isn't valuable. And when I imply that their time isn't valuable, essentially what I'm saying is, neither are they. I'm wasting your time. You're not valuable. That's the message. Don't get me wrong: that doesn't mean that every time we're late getting somewhere it's out of disrespect or selfishness. Sometimes the kids spill milk all over the kitchen. Sometimes the dog eats a pack of gum and you spend an unexpected hour at the vet. (Don't get me started on that one.) For new parents, you actually have to go through a whole period of reorientation. You will no longer get ANYWHERE as quickly as you used to. And sometimes life just happens. That's not what this post is about. It's about what I only know to refer to as Chronic Lateness.
Now some will argue that this is a personality trait or some form of genetic wiring, like the way I have hypoglycemia or mild ADHD, others are born with chronic lateness. While I admit, I hold no scientific data in my hands to debunk this idea, I'm firmly convinced it's because there is no scientific data. Much like I regrettably allowed myself to become harsh - to ignore for years that a fruit of the Spirit was gentleness, and that God could teach & transform me in that area - many have allowed themselves to become late. And in an attempt to better understand this, I have some questions I'd like to ask:
Are you late for work? If so, do you understand that this is probably affecting the way your coworkers look at you and is sending a clear message about your work ethic? I would dare say your boss has possibly noticed as well. And if you ARE the boss, what does this say to those you're leading?
Do you make other people in your family late? I coached a kid in sports that I knew would NEVER be on time to a practice or game. Was it his fault? Nope.
Are you late for movies? When you've paid $9 to see a movie, do you get there late? I'm going to bet you're there for the previews.
What about sporting events? When I go to Tennessee Football games, we get there 2-3 hours before kickoff. We don't just go for the game, but for the whole experience. I know people who start tailgating 5-6 hours before games. It seems that this could possibly be a reflection about priorities and what we value.
Do you show up late for dinner parties? Birthday parties? Parties that are actually in honor of someone other than you? But by showing up 20-30 minutes late, make it more about you? Or is it actually more about you?
I'm not asking these questions to condemn, but because I seriously want to understand. I want to know if it's something you're working on or if in all honesty, you just don't care. I want to know if I should give you the benefit of the doubt and wait to begin, or I should just start without you. There's an incredibly significant amount of the population that sits. And waits. And waits. For you. How much longer should we wait?
If you have any desire to work on this, any desire to eliminate the rushing around, leaving in haste, forgetting something important, and annoying people when you finally show up, here's a great article that I think can provide some solid tangible help: 7 Tips If You're Chronically Late. And here's more great insight in an article on WebMD: Help For the Chronically Late.
We want to know.
We want to help.
But we are really getting tired of waiting.
What are your thoughts?