Dreaded Tardy Bell

Dreaded Tardy Bell
Dreaded Tardy Bell

Dreaded Tardy Bell!

Who is scared of the dreaded tardy bell?  Me!  That’s who!  It haunts me!  I can still hear the sound – ringing that long, loud bell!  Ugh!  I have many negative memories of the tardy bell.  Everyone who knows me knows that I am pretty much a night owl.  Therefore, morning isn’t always my best friend.

When I was growing up, we lived directly across the street from my high school.  I thought I was pretty clever.  I would sleep until the very last minute and listen for the first bell as I got dressed for school.  I would time it so that I could leave my house just in time to sit down in my desk in my first period class…just…as…the…last…bell…rang. Sweet system, huh? Well, not so much!  Some mornings I wouldn’t hear the first bell.  I am not sure how I missed it. Maybe I was blow drying my hair or had my stereo too loud.  But anyway – as ridiculous as it sounds – living directly across the street from the high school – I was suspended for being tardy…hmm…oh, I’m so ashamed…twice.  Try to explain that to your parents.

Then, I grew up!  I had children of my own and I dropped them off at school most days.  I enjoyed taking them to school.   We would sing or talk about all kinds of things.  But, then there were those days when things just did not go our way and we got off to a late start.  Now, keep in mind there were years that the 3 children had to be dropped off at three different schools.  If we didn’t time it just right, traffic would be backed up.  My stress level would elevate and ugh, you guessed it – the dreaded tardy bell rang and they received tardy slips.  That was not fun for any of us.

I thought all of that was behind me.  I am self-employed now and set my own schedule.  I am not responsible for getting anyone to school anymore.  Whew!  Those days have passed.  But a few Monday’s ago the sound of that bell began to haunt me all over again.  As my daughter, Jessica and I stood in my other daughter, Megan’s kitchen, she began to tell us about her morning.  She and my granddaughter, Macie had overslept.  (It happens to everyone, right?)  When they arrived at school no one was outside to receive Macie – so they had to go into the office.  Macie was very upset that she was late and started to cry.  Megan said, “I felt so bad because she had to get a tardy slip.”  Without even a second’s hesitation, Jessica laughed and replied, “Of course you did, look who your mom is.”  UGH!  How the truth hurts.  I hate that tardy bell! (Jessica runs late sometimes too, by the way.)

But…that made me think about that dreaded tardy bell long and hard.  I was tardy as a child.  I was tardy as a mom.  I still battle it today.   What’s the deal?  Well…I guess it is MY mother’s fault.  Right?   No, I am just kidding.  It is my fault and there are many reasons or excuses I could list – procrastination, disorganization, trying to do too much, and on and on.  But the bottom line is I need to lead my example and plan to be places on time.  Why?

Why is it important?

Well, I cannot find a commandment or a scripture that says, “Thou shall not be tardy!”  So, does that mean we can have a pass on this one?  Well…I don’t think so.  Although God has not commanded us to be on time, He has commanded us to some other things.   First, God has commanded us to love one another.  In I Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV) God describes love this way…

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

Some versions instead of saying “does not dishonor others” it says “does not behave rudely”.  Let’s all be honest and admit that being late – is behaving rudely and dishonoring to others and their time.  Being late is also self-seeking. Ooh!  I’m starting to sweat a little.

Then there is Philippians 2:3 that tells us…

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”

Running late is selfish.  Expecting people to wait on us is selfish.  When we make it a habit to be late we are not esteeming others better than ourselves. We are not being considerate of their time. We are assuming that it is all about me and what time I can get there.  Okay!!!!!  I am convicted!  No more running late for me.  (I bet Tom will be very happy when he reads this post.)

So instead let’s cling to scriptures like Ecclesiastes 7:1 where God tells us that a good name or a good reputation is precious.  And Colossians 3:17 which tells us…

“Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

The bottom line is that everything we do matters.  And every single thing we do – what we say and what we do – we should do with excellence.  Everything we do should be done in love and with care for others.  Everything we do should glorify our Lord.  And we should do all these things with thanksgiving to our heavenly Father.  Will we be perfect? No!  Will we mess up and run late occasionally? Yes. But, when we do - we should accept responsibility, be apologetic and commit to do better next time.

Thanks for sharing this journey with me.  Gotta go…can’t be late. Have a BLESSED day!