Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Being late

At 7:50 this morning, I dropped my youngest child off for carpool. Ok, fine, it was actually 7:51. I was ready in plenty of time. We even left in plenty of time. The problem was that everyone else in the area was also on the roads at that hour and traffic was Stacked Up all the way to my friend's house. I hereby pinky promise to leave the house at least 5 minutes earlier for carpool from now on. I hate to be late. I hate the rushing and anxiety I feel. I hate how grumpy I get with everyone who causes the smallest imaginary delay. I hate finally screeching into the parking lot and rushing through the door. I hate seeing anyone having to sit and wait on me. Do you realize how rude it is to keep someone waiting on you? What you have just said with your actions is, "My time and my desires are far more valuable than yours. You are not a priority in my life and you and your needs are not important to me. My promises to you mean less than an extra 10 minutes reading Facebook." Would you ever say that out loud to someone's face? I can't imagine anyone who would! But your actions speak louder than words. Now, people are usually incredibly gracious. No problem, they say. Things happen, they agree with a smile. I love that my friends are generous and forgiving on the (hopefully) rare occasion that I'm late to something. I find myself extending the same grace to others because I understand that sometimes traffic is bad or a child needs something important just as you're trying to leave. I truly don't mind waiting a few minutes. It's really just the people who are *always* late that test my patience. I know a number of people who are chronically late to everything. Everyone knows to add at least 10 (or 20 or 30) minutes to whatever time they said they would be there. They come breezing in with a smile, exclaiming "Oh, you know me! Always late!" as if it were some badge of honor or cute personality quirk. They get angry if you have started an activity without them or they make you derail and spend several minutes catching them up on what they missed. It is the ultimate example of selfishness. Now when people poke fun at me for being early to things (and it happens), I just smile. Yes, I'd rather leave 20 minutes early and have to sit in a parking lot reading, waiting until it's a decent time to go inside than run the risk of being 5 minutes late. When I pickup a friend's daughter for school, I make sure to give myself plenty of time to make the left turn out of my neighborhood through heavy morning traffic. I set my alarm early and have taught my children to get up and moving and be ready to go when I say it's time to go. There have been times in my life that I have set my clocks ahead a few minutes to trick myself into getting out of the house in time. I remind myself that being on time is showing respect. So next time you're meeting a friend for a movie or getting ready to herd your family to church, set an early alarm and give yourself plenty of time to get everything and everyone ready and out the door. Heck, set several alarms - one to get up, one 15 minute warning, one to get out the door, whatever it takes. Wouldn't it be nice to have a stress-free morning and get to school with everyone still smiling? To walk into Starbucks without having to apologize and explain why you're late again? Thursday when my alarm goes off again and I have to drive my youngest to her carpool, I'll have already packed her backpack and her lunch and reminded her of the dress code. We'll have located her shoes and we'll be ready to jump in the car at 7:30, just in case we have to wait even longer to make that left hand turn.

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