My Biggest Pet Peeve: When People Are Late

If I am not early, I feel like I am late.

The most important lesson I ever learned from my Dad was the importance of being on time. In fact, on time was not good enough. I grew up with the phrase “Better 30 minutes early than 1 minute late”, etched in my brain.

This lesson applied across the board, going to work, school, meeting a friend for lunch or handing in school assignments. Even when Dad said we had to get to the dinner table in 2 minutes, not a minute more was accepted.

It may sound like my Dad was a harsh man, but in fact, he is a mild-mannered guy (it was my mom you had to fear). He had good reasons for wanting to pass along this skill to his children.

He always said that being on time makes you reliable. After all, it doesn’t take any kind of skill or intelligence to be punctual, just reliability. This trait, as it turns out, is admired by friends, family and employers.

It is disrespectful to be late. If someone is counting on you at 3:00, it is just plain rude to keep them waiting. It says your time is more important than theirs. Dad and mom always made us wait outside 20 minutes early if we were expecting someone to pick us up. I still hear the “You don’t want to keep people waiting”.

When it came to deadlines or due dates, again, the importance of punctuality was impressed. After all, it is inconsiderate to the person making the deadlines. If someone needs money, forms or assignments by a certain date, it is somewhat arrogant not to comply. It is as if you think the rules don’t apply to you. It would seem Dad knew that growing up with deadlines was great preparation for the adult world, where missing deadlines has serious consequences.

Sure, us kids still always tease my Dad about how early he goes to church or the airport. But really, I am so happy my Dad taught me the importance of being on time.

“People who are chronically tardy never understand the many ways in which they screw up the schedules of people who are punctual and “normal”.
Lauren Kate, Fallen

How about you? Are you always on time, or chronically late?

6 thoughts on “My Biggest Pet Peeve: When People Are Late

  1. I used to be always early, and now I’m a little more skin of my teeth. I blame having two kids and juggling my life around naps. Also, it appears the second I’m ready to leave someone needs to poop.
    Can’t help punctual bowels 😉

  2. I’m always early. Tardiness is my pet peeve. 12:30 means 12:30. I view people who are chronically late as either disrespectful or disorganized, neither being a good trait to have people see in you.

  3. I’m an early arriver, but often I have to sit in my car or find something to do for 15 minutes or so. I’d rather do that than be late though. If circumstances are causing me to potentially be late (traffic…), I become uneasy or anxious.

  4. I teach teacher interns who are doing their student teaching. I teach them this chant: Early is on time, On time is late, Late is never acceptable. I want them to understand that tardiness can have major consequences for them professionally.

    Thanks for this post!

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