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Being Late

Some people are late to everything. I am not talking about being late to class, although that can a problem for some students. If a student is late to class because of work or school, or some other good reason, it is no problem. But if a student is always late because he is lazy and does not want to help clean up, then it is a problem. If a student does not want to help clean the dojo, he should quit.

But people are also late to other things. Let's say there is a dinner. Some people will always come late. Why is this? Of course, there may be many reasons. But there are some people who come late to get attention. If you go to enough events, you will start to notice this (with respect to some people).

My wife is usually a little late to parties, but this is for cultural reasons. My mother is Japanese and I think/feel like her when it comes to time. If a party is at 7:00 p.m., I want to arrive at 6:55. I do not want to be late because it is shameful and causes me stress (because of Japanese time values).

However, if we are going to a Filipino party (my wife's parents are both from the Philippines), the time expectations are different. Depending on the party, it is probably OK to be 15 minutes late. If you were to show up 5 minutes early, the only ones there would be the Japanese (and the hosts). I don't mean this negatively. I have been going to Filipino parties for over 30 years. I feel half-Filipino and have mestizo children. It is just that I think "Japanese" when it comes to time.

What about Karate functions? Here I think it depends on your seniority. If you were going to a Karate meeting, you should probably arrive early if you are a junior. That way you can help set up or assist seniors as they arrive. A junior should not arrive late. In the worst case, the meeting might be delayed because the group had to wait for the junior. Being prompt is a sign of courtesy.

Should seniors be late? Of course not. Seniors should be as demanding of themselves as they are of juniors. But if anyone might be forgiven for being late, it is a senior.

But being late all the time, that probably reflects a deeper problem. Try to keep track of this for a few months. You might find that the same people are always late and always act the same way when they arrive.

Personally, I find it easier to be prompt.

In life, being a little behind or a little ahead does not involve that much difference in effort. But it is much better to be a little ahead.


Charles C. Goodin