By Aaron Berhane November 2007 A Habesha woman planned to marry a German man, and they both asked their parents to show up for the wedding at 2 p.m. T...
By Aaron Berhane
A Habesha woman planned to marry a German man, and they both asked their parents to show up for the wedding at 2 p.m. The parents of the groom arrived on time while the parents of the bride came at 4 p.m. The bride excused her parents’ behaviour by saying, ‘it’s our culture to come late.’ She had to swallow her shame.
The majority of us might endorse the attitude that ‘lateness is a part of our culture’. That’s why we are not able to avoid this bad behaviour despite the fact that we live in a country where everyone is extremely punctual. We come a half or one hour late to meetings. We arrive two or three hours late for weddings, and we don’t respect the appointments we set with those among our own community. This is our habit for any event we organize.
Instead of following our schedule for events, we allow events to dictate our schedule. If people show up, we start the meeting, but if they don’t, we wait. Punctual persons may become victims, and they may arrive late the next time.
Most of us say, ‘it is not necessary to arrive early at meetings or any community event if most people arrive late’. We maintain the attitude that ‘lateness is a part of our culture’ and spend our time accordingly. We never try to change it.
But the punctuality we show in areas outside our community is surprising. We get to work on time and we respect our appointments, meetings, or events organized by those outside our community. We finish our tasks on time. We don’t allow any room for lateness. We really act like Canadians.
Why don’t we apply this good behaviour with members of our own community? Is it our lack of respect for one another, lack of responsibility, or lack of discipline only when we deal with our own community?
Whatever the reason is, we have to be aware that time is as precious to members of our community as it is to anyone else. The good behaviour we exercise elsewhere should be reflected in our community too, and this will help us to bring about the changes we wish. We must be conscious about our behaviour. If we respect ourselves, then we will respect members of our community too. If we disguise them, that’s a disguise to ourselves as well.
Culture is learned behaviour. Therefore, let’s change our excuse of saying, ‘it’s our culture’ by undergoing a time revolution. It is about time, too.