A couple of weeks ago I dropped my children at school and I had to deal with urgent messages on my cell, so parked my car at the school. I heard the morning bell was ringing and was astounded at the number of children that a) were being dropped off at this time, b) how the children were dawdling into the gates despite the school prefects standing guard ready to dish out debits and c) some parents were walking their children to the gate with no sense of urgency. Seeing this really stirred something in my chest…what are we as parents teaching our kids?

Dropping your primary school children to school late is teaching them bad habits from young. When they get to university they will think it is ok to be late for their lecture. Then when they get to their first job, they will think it is ok to be late for work; then late for meetings; then being late for anything becomes acceptable behaviour, because this is how it’s always been, and what they’ve been taught.

Last week I drove up Chamberlain Road at 08h00 and noticed a huge commotion outside one of our High School’s, it seemed the gates had been locked and there were many kids demanding to get in, some didn’t seem to care and were quite happy to hit the road to nowhere. Later I heard that the ongoing issue of late coming had become a huge issue at the school and the children were warned on many occasions that the school will be locked and won’t allow late comers in, as it is very disrespectful and disruptive to teachers and students who were already in class busy with lessons.

This again stirred something in me, so I decided to jot down my thoughts.

As a manager, a habitual late employee always leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Always. It reeks of disrespect, of entitlement and of sheer disregard for anyone but themselves.

Punctuality is a choice. You can choose to leave 5 minutes earlier. You can choose to be at the meeting on time. You can choose to be late or on time. Understandably, unforeseen situations do arise, such as a traffic jam or sick kids, and for the most part these things are forgiven especially when timeously communicated, but when this becomes a pattern and the norm, there is a problem.

When you are late for work or for a meeting, you are taking away people’s most valued thing…time! Time is limited, and when it’s wasted can never be given back. Do you want to brand yourself as the late-comer? Valuing others’ time and earning their respect is important and should not be taken lightly.

So…pick up your socks, recognise you are playing with people’s time, and start running into the school gate to avoid being late or what used to be dreaded…the debit (also known as a disciplinary hearing in the workplace!).