Punctuality is one of those character traits that we might be tempted to question. In the grand scheme of things, we might wonder if Punctuality is really one of the important traits. I’d like to submit that Punctuality is a VERY important character trait because the absence of punctuality can show us other character flaws that we might not otherwise catch right away. Punctuality valued or punctuality ignored is an important early indicator of the type of person we are or the type of person we’re dealing with.
I’ve thought of 3 ways someone’s punctuality or the lack thereof will tip us off to a person’s character.
- Punctuality shows respect for others. Your time is your time. But when you consume it in a way that makes unfair demands on others, you demonstrate a “me-centered view” of the world. Everyone values their time their way. You respect others and how they value their time when you do what you say you will, when you say you will do it.
- Punctuality shows management ability. When we’re late, we show everyone we can’t manage ourselves and our time. Excuses don’t count. They’re simply excuses. Either we managed our resources, and our lives, and our use of time in a way that honored our commitments or we didn’t. When we’re punctual we show an ability to manage resources, not just ourselves.
- Punctuality shows what we truly value. If we truly value others, we’ll be punctual, but we’ll also ask punctuality of others. Time is the most limited resource any of us has. Daily, we all have the same amount of it. When we abuse the time of others through lack of punctuality, we show that we fail to value the other person’s resources. We waste their resources for our own lack of diligence or our own lack of care. Our willingness to waste the time of someone else says we don’t value others: either their time or their investment in the relationship.
Punctuality is doing the right thing at the right time. The next time you’re late, treat your lack of punctuality as an early indicator of other attitudes that may be eroding your own character. You may catch a serious character flaw in early development.