Jason B. Ladd

Author | Apologist | Entrepreneur

There is a Time for Everything: Don’t Be Late!


“15 minutes early is on time.  On time is late.  Late is dead.”

These were there words staring down at me from above the chalk board in my junior high school music classroom.  I’m pretty sure there was a skull and crossbones next to the world “dead.”


I never thought it made sense–taken literally and using logic you must conclude that 15 minutes early is dead–but I got the message:

Be early.

One of my son’s favorite Bible verses is from Ecclesiastes. Chapter 3 has a very simple theme:

There is a time for everything.

The following verses are filled with examples describing the different seasons of life:

There is one example I wish Solomon would have included:

A time . . . to be on time!

Every leader knows the importance of being on time.

Tom Hanks preached about the importance of the clock in the movie Castaway before finding himself with nothing but time on his deserted island.

Blogger Chris Edmonds suggests that employees determine what a leader values by how they spend their time (read the blog post here).

This seems like a no-brainer, and it is.

But some people simply won’t buy in.  Some people are content to be late.

Some people are “time takers.”

Time Takers

Time takers are late.  They take their time.  They arrive when they feel like it.

Time takers have not learned how, or lack the discipline to make realistic assessments about how long things take, and how early they need to leave.

Time takers end up taking your time.

Chronic time takers unavoidably project one of two qualities: apathy, or disrespect. Either one can put a strain on relationships.

Time Givers

Good leaders have learned how to be time givers.

Time givers plan ahead.  Time givers make good estimates.  Time givers leave early and plan for unexpected contingencies.

Time givers end up giving you respect.

Military veterans are trained in a culture where instant and willful obedience to orders is literally a matter of life and death.

Here are some possible consequences if a service member is late:

  • They miss ship’s movement (e.g. they’re left on the dock as the ship steams out to sea)
  • They miss their flight overseas (possibly to great expense of the government and the individual)
  • They are considered unaccounted for (this may trigger search and rescue operations)
  • They are convicted of having and authorized absence (leading to possible reduction in rank, pay, or even jail time)
  • They miss valuable training

You don’t have to be a veteran to be a time giver.  And some veterans are time takers.

But whether it’s making a time-on-target to ensure mission success, or simply avoiding unnecessary strains on your relationships,

It pays to be on time.

How do you deal with time takers?


Photo credit: Ian Sane / Foter / CC BY

Photo credit: Pearson Scott Foresman / http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Crossbones_(PSF).png



About Jason B. Ladd

Jason is an author, speaker, Marine, and father of seven. He has flown the F/A-18 Hornet as a Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 (MAWTS-1) Instructor Pilot and the F-16 as an Instructor Pilot. His award-winning book One of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot’s Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview has been optioned for film adaptation. He is represented by Julie Gwinn of The Seymour Agency.

5 Replies

  1. Holly

    Great post– and I agree!

    1. Holly, Thanks for visiting!

  2. How do I deal with time takers? Not with much patience or grace, I’m afraid! To avoid becoming one myself, (with 4 kids it is easy to slip into a chronic bad habit of being late!) I get up earlier, and I set all of our clocks 5 or 10 mins. fast. Even though I know they’re fast, it somehow still helps the family to stay timely. Strange, I know. Since it does ultimately become a respect issue, I guess I’ll just stay weird as long as it works. Blessings to you!

    1. Rebeca, I like the clock setting technique. I’ve heard it said you should add at least 5 extra minutes per child when making time estimates. In then end, it all comes down to how many shoes are missing in action.