Me,“Punctuality is a hill worth dying on.” Tip 9
I think punctuality encompasses respect, responsibility, ethics, consideration, standards, expectations, relationships, trust and even more.
Punctuality is objective, achievable and measurable. It is important personally, academically and professionally. Time matters, yours and mine.
If we highlight and enforce punctuality we will be presented with hundreds of teachable moments. We can demonstrate appreciation when time is kept, disappointment when it isn’t. We can reward our children with extended times and consequence them with reductions when time is not respected.
If five minutes doesn’t matter, then why would ten?
Five minutes did matter in our home. It was monotonous to have a conversation about five minutes; however, I was aware of the long-term impacts should Michael feel times were negotiable. Overall they are not. They are not negotiable in the real world and that is where he was heading.
Punctuality also develops expectations and trust. It is a foundation for consistency which in turn provides a sense of safety and security. It demonstrates discipline andrespect.
I explained all of this to Michael at a very early age. He was aware we were working toward independence and understood punctuality to be a part of that. This was not at all about power and control, but about respect and integrity.
Punctuality has been called, “a homely, but solid virtue.” It’s not something that will not bringexternal praise or recognition, but it will build self-confidence, rapport, andin some cases may even improve the behavior of others.
Enforcing punctuality in our home sure did improve my behavior. I knew if I were to expect it I would have to practice it. This is another not-so-easy expectation to uphold, but oh so important and far reaching.
“The habit of being prompt once formed extends to everything — meeting friends, paying debts, going to church, reaching and leaving place of business, keeping promises, retiring at night and rising in the morning, going to the lecture and town-meeting, and, indeed, to every relation and act, however trivial it may seem to observers.” –William Makepeace Thayer, Tact and Grit, 1882
To this day, if Michael is late he will call on, or before, expected arrival. He has not had to devote time an energy into justifying or rationalizing why he is late. I think upholding punctuality has made his journey a little smoother and his character a lot stronger.
Now that punctuality has been firmly established he has a lot more wiggle room (but don’t tell him that).