All too often I concentrate on talking about problems to be solved, but something occurred the other day that pointed out the value of a virtue too often ignored by students and others.  My wife the voice professor had a series of voice juries – the performing equivalent of a final examination – and one student didn’t make her jury.  That’s usually an automatic failure, but this student has always been intelligent, hard-working and so dependable that my wife’s immediate assumption was that something had happened.  And it had – a freak snowstorm south of us and just north of Las Vegas – had closed the interstate through the Virgin River Gorge for almost a day, trapping hundreds of motorists and trucks there, including the student – and, by the way, there’s no cell phone reception there. Obviously, this was something beyond the student’s control, but there was no doubt on my wife’s part, even before she knew the reason, that something out of the ordinary had happened to the student… and the jury was rescheduled.

There are other students who have an excuse for everything, and then when something truly exceptional happens, professors are dubious, to say the least, along the lines of the old fairy tale about the boy who cried “Wolf!” too often.

What tends not to be realized, particularly by young people, is that, in a very real sense, dependability/reliability is a form of personal insurance. If you’re always reliable and dependable, when something happens truly beyond your control, that dependability may just prove very useful… or at least mitigate the consequences.  Obviously, it won’t save you from the physical consequences of automobile accident, where someone else broadsides you, or from the physical results of the flu – but if you’re not one to take sick days at the drop of a hat, your employer or professor is going to be far more inclined to give you break.

The same thing is true in terms of work products.  We all screw up somewhere or some time.  But if you’re always conscientious and almost always turn in a good solid and workmanlike result, if once you don’t, you just might get some allowances, as opposed to the door.

And besides that, the more you concentrate on being dependable, the more you will be, and the less likely things are to go wrong… and that makes life easier and a lot more enjoyable.

1 thought on “Dependability”

  1. Keilani Ludlow says:

    I keep trying to teach this principle to my children. That being said, I now know that my parents worked to teach it to me, but I don’t think I really got it until the point in life when I began to be impacted by the excuses and lack of personal responsibility in others lives. When I had employees, when I had children, when I worked on committees.

    Now that I’m back in school to complete a degree, and trying to balance that with all the other responsibilities that come in life, I see things differently, especially my one year of lackluster college.

    I think my teens are picking up on it to some respect at least. Perhaps better than I did in some areas, and in others I just sigh and shake my head.

    Thank you for the thought.

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