This long word, punctuality, means the habit of doing things at the right time. A punctual man gets up in good time in the morning, and is not late for breakfast; if his office opens at 10 o’clock, he is there at that time; he never misses the train; if he says he will meet us at a certain time, he will not keep us waiting. A punctual boy is never late for school; he does not hurry into the class after lessons have begun; he does not keep his family waiting at mealtimes, and he has his homework done in good time.
Punctuality is a habit. We can, if we like, get into the way of doing things at the right time. But it is not easy to do this. It is much easier to dawdle and loiter and laze about. It is much easier to put things off and say we will do them tomorrow or next week. And because it is easy to be unpunctual, many of us get into the bad habit of always being late for everything. And when we once get into this bad habit, it is very hard to get out of it. If we do not get into the habit of doing things at the right time when we are boys we shall go on being late all the days of our life. A good motto to keep before us is, “Do it now.”
An unpunctual person is an enemy to himself, and a nuisance to everyone else. In school, the boy who is always late at school and behind-hand with his lessons gets into trouble and learns little. An unpunctual clerk soon loses his job. A businessman who is late in giving his orders, and who keeps other businessmen waiting, when he has promised to meet, soon loses his customers. And a friend who always keeps us waiting may lose our friendship.
Being unpunctual is due to laziness, or lack of method, or both. And we must cure these faults if we want to succeed.