“Rick, what’s the matter?” Tess asked at dinner that night.
“Sure there is,” his dad commented, “you’ve been glum as long as I’ve been home.”
His mother put her hand on Rick’s shoulder. “What’s bothering you?”
“I got a letter saying I won’t be considered for Trailblazers’ Camp counselor this summer because I sent my application in two days late. It doesn’t seem fair.”
His dad looked up from his meal, “Why don’t you think it was fair?”
“I was only two days late. How much difference can that make?”
Tess wanted to know why he was late at all.
“They required an essay, and it took longer than I planned to get it just right.”
This started a conversation that lasted many minutes. His dad told Rick about how he himself had missed out on a college scholarship by sending his application a day or two late, and it taught him a lesson he never forgot. Mrs. Williams commented that she has to be at school before classes start each day, and that deadlines are important. She said she is strict about deducting points for late papers in her classes.
Tess thought the camp was being too strict, but both parents agreed that deadlines are needed and that it is not fair to those who mailed their applications on time to let others send them in late without penalty.
Mr. Williams commented, “The other thing about this is that you either did not give yourself enough time or you fussed over the essay too much. While it is good to do careful work, nothing is ever quite perfect, and sometimes close enough is good enough.”
Mrs. Williams offered to help Rick with the next essay he needed to write, but Rick said he did not want someone else to do what he was responsible for, although he would appreciate it if she read it over once he was done, to help him catch any errors.
By this time, Tess and Tim were feeling left out of the conversation, and they headed into the living room to watch television. They were sorry to see that the long dinner conversation meant that they came in late for their favorite program. T and T both agreed that next time, “On time…or else!”