April 10, 2013

Chronic Lateness

Late.
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?

8 comments:

Aaron said...

I just confessed this to one of my Christian co workers today asking for his prayer. I go through seasons of early rising and seasons of seeming inability to rise at all. The result is a recurring cycle of lateness. I hate the way it makes me look to my coworkers. I knowing that deep down I am just taking advantage of the favorable reputation that God gave me with my employers. Gotta stop. Thanks for this extra dose of motivation. Appreciate your prayers as well.

Aaron said...

I just confessed this to one of my Christian co workers today asking for his prayer. I go through seasons of early rising and seasons of seeming inability to rise at all. The result is a recurring cycle of lateness. I hate the way it makes me look to my coworkers. I knowing that deep down I am just taking advantage of the favorable reputation that God gave me with my employers. I know it is a sin problem. Gotta stop. Thanks for this extra dose of motivation. Appreciate your prayers as well.

Aaron said...

I just confessed this to one of my Christian co workers today asking for his prayer. I go through seasons of early rising and seasons of seeming inability to rise at all. The result is a recurring cycle of lateness. I hate the way it makes me look to my coworkers. I knowing that deep down I am just taking advantage of the favorable reputation that God gave me with my employers. I know its a sinful "lazy man" problem. Gotta stop. Thanks for this extra dose of motivation. Appreciate your prayers as well.

Brian Mayfield said...

Thanks for sharing this Aaron. Praying the Lord gives you strength & determination in this area!

Dennis Tice said...

I am always early for everything Brian and thankfully Jeanie is just like me. Over the past 20 years my jobs have been in a leadership role so whether I was punching a clock or salaried I thought I should be early every day to set the tone for the people that worked for me. That was just the way I was wired.

Dennis Tice said...

I am always early for everything and thankfully my wife is the same way. Over the past 20 years I have worked in some sort of leadership role so whether I was punching a clock or on a set salary I felt I should be the first one to work. I felt it set the tone that I was ready to get the day started. It was just the way I was wired. On the flip side I have worked with bosses in the past that thought just getting to work was a great accomplishment and it always drove me crazy.

Aubrie said...

I am completely OCD about not only being on time, but being early. I think like Dennis said it depends on how the standards are set. If my principal put up with teachers being late, we'd be in a world of hurt...and possible lawsuits for negligence! I think it's so important to be on time because you never know who's depending on you to be there...and the consequences for some jobs can be pretty terrible. I knew someone during student teaching who failed student teaching (can never receive a license in Kansas...so $35,000 of school for nothing)because he was over an hour late 5 times in 7 weeks. As teachers, this just can't happen because not only is it way unprofessional, it makes you liable if something happens in your room and you're not there. My biggest question is if you're chronically late, why not just get up 5 minutes early? Or set a few different alarms? But I also need to stop judging because there's stuff I can work on too! Great thoughts Brian!

Aubrie said...

I am completely OCD about being on time, and I can tend to be super judgmental (which is not good). I really like what Aaron said because it gives me a different perspective. Every day I have 3 or 4 kids late to first hour, and I am never sure whether to cut them some slack or let them have it for being late. I really want them to know, however, that the consequences for being late in the "real world" can be pretty awful. I know someone who failed student teaching (can never receive a license in Kansas....so $35,000 down the drain) because he was over an hour late like 5 times throughout the semester. As a teacher, you can never be late, because if you are, not only are you in big trouble, but if something happened in your room, you could be sued for negligence. I think it depends on how the standards are set. If the boss puts up with tardiness, then people are more likely to be late all the time. Great thoughts Brian!