Permission to Run Late

A guest post by Mike Berry

My wife excels in challenging me. Sometimes, it takes a while for me to digest what she says, but it’s always good for me. And it always helps me grow.

Lately, she has shared some things with me that challenged me more than I realized…and I needed it!

She read an article a few weeks ago that talked about the permissions smartphones (particularly iPhones) give to society. The  permission to run late stuck out to her.

Run Late

Permission to run late.

Hey. Sorry, I’m stuck in traffic… I’m a little late!

Really hate to do this, but I think we need to reschedule our 1pm. Not gonna make it. Lunch appointment ran over.

Im almost there. Hitting every light…

I’ll arrive about 5 minutes late. So sorry! 

Well here I go again, running late! Really sorry bro!

I bet you’ve sent a few of those yourself. I know I have. In fact, I’ve sent all the above texts over the past 2 weeks. I cringe as I read them.

I cringe, because 10 years ago I wouldn’t have sent text messages like these. I couldn’t. Texting didn’t exist, at least not widespread like it does now. I either had to face the awkwardness of showing up to a meeting late or get there on time. I only had those 2 choices. But not today. Today I can run late and not give it a second thought.

Because of today’s technology, we have given ourselves permission to run late…to everything!

And we’re okay with this. You’re okay with this. I’m okay with this. Our whole society accepts running late.

For some reason, I find myself having this sick belief that since I sent a text message a few minutes before the start of the meeting, providing an explanation of my lateness, it excuses my lack of responsibility. The person I planned to meet with (who most likely planned a portion of their afternoon around this specific time) will understand the fact that I am running late.

Wrong! So wrong! This is my fault.

Here’s where it truly hit home — I keep doing this to my daughter. A lot, actually. Ouch!!

I can’t count the amount of times I have left her standing outside of her school waiting and wondering — watching other classmates get picked up by their parents on time. Truthfully, it makes me sick.

I have given myself permission to run late. Because of a luxurious device, I allow myself to fail at scheduling. I quit monitoring my time responsibly, so that I get to my next appointment on time (or maybe even early!). More over, I have given myself permission to disappoint my daughter.

She expects me to run late.

And not just her! My wife…my other children…the people who seek me out for help…

I’m not doing my part. I’m supposed to show up when I say I’m going to. More importantly than that, I’m a husband and a father — the most important roles I play. It’s my duty to show up when I say I’m going to show up.

In my heart of hearts, I hate it when I run late. I hate it so much that I could scream. So why do I haphazardly text someone when I’m running late to meet with them? It’s just not acceptable anymore!

It’s time I stop giving myself permission to run late, and start requiring myself to do what I say I’m going to do when I say I’m going to do it! This rings true with the people I meet with daily, but most importantly with the little girl who calls me daddy.

Maybe it’s time for you to do the same thing? What do you think? What convictions have you had regarding your schedule and commitments? Let me know in the comments below.


Mike Berry is a husband, father, author, blogger, speaker, and leader. He and his wife Kristen have 8 adopted children and have served as foster parents for 8 years. Along with blogging and writing, he is also a speaker and Parenting Consultant. 
– @itsmikeberry