I live in the so-called land of mañana. When I moved here I had no idea what they were talking about or why they called it that. I learned–quickly! Here in the deep southwest, people have a different pace to their lives. Time means less and schedules mean next to nothing. On the surface, that sounds like a great thing…trust me, I’m a micro-manager of seconds. But when you live here and that different way of life impacts you, it has a different meaning.
It means that someone else’s time is always more valuable than your own. That your time doesn’t matter. Let me explain. If I tell you I will show up at 10 am and I wander in at 10:35, then my time must have been more valuable than yours because I kept to my personal time-table and left you to waste your “invaluable” time. Have you ever looked at it that way? Most people just show up late wherever they may be going with not a word of explanation. Some apologize for their tardiness, others laugh it off or give excuses. Some people at least call to inform you that they’re going to waste your time by being late, as if asking for permission–which they really aren’t.
I ran an office by a 5 minute schedule, which I kept extremely well (I guess you have to take my word for it!). Anyone who understands scheduling knows that it only takes one person to be late to have a domino effect for the rest of your day. You have to recoup that wasted time so that the next people can, hopefully, be greeted on time. Let’s turn that around and look at it a different way. When’s the last time you went to the doctors/lawyers/wherever office and were seen at your appointed time? I’ve spent 3 hours waiting for my “appointment” at my own doctor’s office. Everyone is quick to blame over-scheduling or coffee breaks or whatever (and unfortunately they are correct sometimes), but have you considered that the people before you showed up late because they just assumed it would be “fine.”
I bring all this up because our time is precious to us…and there never seems to be enough of it anyway. I don’t think any of us really enjoy wasting what little of it we have waiting on someone who thinks less (or doesn’t think at all) about our time. Maybe if we consider what other people’s time and feelings mean to them, instead of ours to us, we’d be more considerate. Maybe we wouldn’t have to wait 12 hours for the cable repair guy (I wish I was joking!). Maybe we’d be more productive and get home earlier to spend more quality time with our families if we didn’t waste it waiting on each other’s lack of respect.
I’m really not complaining, just trying to open our eyes to a new perspective, another way of looking at things that would, hopefully, make this world a nicer place. A more thoughtful place. Maybe.
“…In humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Phil 2:3-4