A Few days ago, I asked 62 African Students at Rutgers University in Newark New Jersey to think of the most recent event they attended and tell me if they were on time for that event. Only 3% of this group of students could boast of being on time.
Yes, it is true. Africans have a problem that has plagued them for many, many, years. It is a cause for concern. In some cases, it is fashionable to be late and lateness actually works in our favor but in most cases, it doesn’t. This has fast become a part of our daily livelihood and desperately needs to be addressed.
Is it life-threatening? To some degree-NO. Is it a habitual problem? YES. Does it benefit us as a community? I say – Absolutely NOT.
Sometimes it is referred to as “African Time” but I will label it a disease and name it “African People Always Late Syndrome” (APALS). This disease runs widely through the African community. Do I hear a guilty chuckle? Are you one of those that fall in the 97% group diagnosed with this syndrome?
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Think about it …
- How many times did you wake up at 6 am (giving yourself an extra hour) to get ready for work and did not leave your house until 7:55 am despite the fact that you have to be at work at 8 am?
- How many times did you ever have the pleasure of seeing the bride and groom actually walk into the church at the beginning of a wedding ceremony?
- Do you ever make it on time to your doctor’s appointment?
- How many times did you tell a friend or date that you were on your way when you know darn well that you still needed to hit the shower?
- How many times have you shown up for a party 2 or more hours later than the time it was scheduled to begin?
- Lastly, how many flights have you missed and convinced yourself it was traffic when you know you could have planned better?
I could go on and on but I think you get the picture. This is not to you Africans who are almost always on time but I can bet that your boyfriend, husband, girlfriend or wife, brother or sister should be reading this article. Yes, I mean the one who runs late to almost every event.
APALS poses a potential problem in our African community and hinders our growth in a society where time is money. Imagine not being chosen for a lead position at your job because you are always 2 minutes late for work. Do you think people don’t notice? They do.
Imagine always coming late to church. Do you think it’s cool to make a grand entrance? Not in the eyes of God! Imagine arriving late on your first date with a friend or someone of interest. It leaves a bad taste in the mouth. How about that job interview? Being late could easily ruin your chances.
What we owe each other Is respect
We cannot keep expecting that everyone else will be late for a function. No matter how you see it, it is a bad habit. We need to reflect within ourselves in order to fix this problem of time and lateness and not dwell on the fact that Africans are always late so it’s acceptable because it is not.
I don’t know about you, but I hate waiting on people so I don’t make them wait on me. This is about respecting someone else’s time. If you say you will meet someone at 3 pm, be there at 3 pm. If you show up at 3:30 pm, then you show no respect for the other person’s time. They could have been doing something else other than waiting for you.
It is time we realize that little things such as APALS can lead to bigger issues that might not be solvable. I will like to challenge all of you to read my viewpoint to go to your next event on time. Do not be late. I share many other vibers will like to learn about your on-time experience so drop a comment when you have one.
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