Thief of Time

Scouts, how do you feel bout punctuality? You know, I never thought much about it. It’s not something I am very good at. I am usually late to just about everything. I try hard enough to get places on time, but other things just seem to always prevent me actually doing it. Traffic is too tough, I had to get something for somebody, I had an important phone call, etc. There is always something. And I rationalize my lack of being punctual by saying well, that’s just me.

In the psychiatric hospital where I work, one of the doctors talked about “self analysis”. He said that it was important that everyone take the time to sit down and look at themselves as others see them. Look at the things that, if changed, would make us better friends, more productive members of the community, better leaders and followers, better students. He said that there wasn’t much about yourself that you couldn’t fix, if only you wanted to fix it.

I had the opportunity to sit in on a job interview. The interviewer asked the potential employee, “What do you think about punctuality.” The job applicant said “Well, I guess that is a good trait to have.” The interviewer responded, “No, that is an essential trait to have. Because if you don’t have it, you are stealing.” He explained that when you show up late and other people are waiting on you, you are stealing their time. He said that it was a total lack of consideration for others and one of the most discourteous things you can do. Then he turned to me and said “Don’t you agree, Bill?”

I nodded in agreement, thinking to myself that I had never thought of myself as a thief before. As I drove home from work that night, I did some self analysis. I decided that one of the main things I needed to change about myself was to become more punctual. I’m nearly sixty years old but I think I still have enough time to change this negative behavior into one that will make me a more productive part of whatever team I am on. Work, church, Scouts, whatever, will benefit if I can change into a more punctual person.

Scouts, I think being late is a habit that people get into and then rationalize it will all kinds of excuses. Learn now to be punctual. Plan ahead. Take traffic into consideration. Figure out how much time you will need to get to where you are going safely and on time. Don’t get into the same habit I find myself in. Be punctual.

“Don’t be a thief of time.”

© Bill Shaffer 2004