Children and Family Resources

Punctuality – Character Materials for Children

Faith Committee, Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky


Contributed by Trudy Pettibone
Cincinnati, Ohio

November 7, 2001

Punctuality – Character Materials for Children


Showing esteem for others by doing the right thing at the right time

I Will:

  • be at the right place at the right time.
  • prepare for unexpected delays.
  • do my work ahead of time.
  • plan a daily schedule and keep it.
  • not fall into the trap of “just one more”.

Following are some ideas of ways to encourage children in punctuality. Reading can be done by the child, if older, or can be done for the child. Activities should be done together and, as much as possible, should be full-family activities. If the Scripture is given as one block, break it down into small segments to fill the entire week.

Week One: be at the right place at the right time.

The tragic events of September 11, 2001 brought out many stories of people who seemed to have been at the “right” place, which was actually the wrong place, at a time which kept them from being in the WTC when they normally would have been. These stories are a good case for not being punctual, but they are also anomalous. Do not allow the child to use exceptions to prevent them from being punctual. We show respect for others by being where they expect us to be when they expect us to be there.

Memory: Psalm 56:3 Jesus is always where we need Him when we need Him.

Scripture: Esther 2:5-10; 3:1-6; 3:7-11; 4:11-17; 9:1-5.

God arranged for Esther to be in a high position in the palace at Susa so that she could save her people. This is much the same as Joseph, whom God placed in Egypt so that he could save the family of Israel. God is not mentioned in the book of Esther, but it is very evident that He is at work.

Parents: Encourage the child to see that circumstances which we so often refer to as coincidences are actually God at work. God’s timing is perfect, even when it does not go along with our timing. Encourage the child to remember events that may have been called coincidence. Help him or her see how God may have been working in that situation.

Help the child examine his or her activities throughout this week to see how close to schedule they run. Are they always on time? How many times were they late? If the child is chronically late, challenge them to make a special effort to be on time for one event this week. Next week, expand this to a second event. Do not allow the child to revert to tardiness on the first week’s project, but encourage promptness on a new endeavor each week.

Encourage the child to imagine or recount some things that could result from tardiness at different functions, such as school, church, soccer practice, etc. Then help the child recognize some of the benefits of promptness.

Week Two: prepare for unexpected delays not fall into the trap of “just one more”

Memory: Psalm 70:5 or Psalm 119:60 Scripture: 1 Kings 18:42-46: The prophet Elijah had told King Ahab that it would not rain until he (Elijah) said so (vs.17:1). Elijah had just won a great victory for God by defeating the prophets and idols of Baal worship (18:20-40). He could now further show the power of God by allowing rain to begin. Elijah gave warning to Ahab that he should not delay in going down from the mountain. Ahab had time to avoid the delay that could be caused by the downpour of rain.

Genesis 24:54-59: Abraham’s servant had found the woman that he thought was perfect for a wife for Isaac, Abraham’s son. He did not want to give the woman the opportunity to change her mind, or allow for unexpected events. He wanted to get Rebekah home to his master as soon as possible.

Genesis 45:9: It had been many years since Joseph had seen his father. He knew that his father was getting old, and if he delayed much longer, he believed his father might no live to make the trip. By having his family brought immediately, Joseph was preparing to see his father as soon as possible.

Acts 25:14-19: The people who hated Paul because of the message he taught about Jesus wanted Paul to be found guilty and punished as quickly as possible. There was a fear, well-founded, based on Festus’ speech, that delay in prosecution could mean that Paul would go free. If Paul had not been determined to take his cause to Rome, he would have gone free.

Genesis 19:15-26: We see the importance of not wanting “one more” in this passage. Apparently Lot’s wife did not want to leave Sodom. As they left, in disregard to the angel’s warning not to look back (vs. 17), she looked back and was turned to a pillar of salt. She had to have one more look at her beloved city. And of course Lot’s delay in this situation could have caused he and his family their lives.

Parents: What kind of “time cushion” do you encourage your child to build into his or her schedule? Help the child understand some problems that could arise due to doing things at the last minute.

Help the child see that time is an important factor in many circumstances. In our verses for this week, we see the urgency of time in physical protection, relationship building, family reunions and pursuit of self-interest. Time is a factor in obedience, activity preparation and many other things.

Week Three: do my work ahead of time.

Memory: Proverbs 20:18Scripture: 1 Chronicles 22:5: David had really wanted to build the Temple for God, but God had made it clear that this would not be his responsibility. So David made as much preparation for the building of the Temple as he could. He laid the groundwork so that Solomon could begin this project as quickly as possible.

Luke 10:39-42: I guess we could assume that Mary had done all the necessary work so that she could sit at Jesus’ feet and hear his teaching. We want to avoid negative examples, but Martha, with a little bit of planning, could have had more time to learn from the Master. It is important not to be too critical of Martha. Jesus was there because these people were his friends, but he was probably also there for a meal.

Proverbs 6:6-8: Ants do not put off their work for a more convenient time. They instinctually know what needs to be done and do it. They are great examples for children of industry and diligence.

Exodus 12:33-39: This is an example of a tradition arising out of unpreparedness, so we might see this as planned unpreparedness, on God’s part. The unleavened bread is an integral part of the Passover celebration.

Parents: The key word for this week’s activities is planning. Help the child organize a way to get the important things done first, so he or she has more time for the things that might not be quite as important, but more enjoyable.

Week Four: plan a daily schedule and keep it.

Scripture: Exodus 16: 13-31: The people of Israel had daily responsibilities that were part of their worship and daily life. One of these activities was the collection of the manna that God provided for their nourishment. While the schedule described in this text is more weekly than daily, it is still important to show the child the importance of doing what you are supposed to be doing in a regular routine. On Sunday through Friday, the people were to go out and gather the manna in the morning. On Saturday, the Sabbath, they were not to gather. They always had just enough, and God did not honor those who violated His schedule.

Parents: Have the child chart his or her activities for a week. Then, write out a weekly schedule with the child, based on what the child has charted. Try to keep the activities as close to the necessary time as possible, but be sure to build in cushions. Then try to get the child to schedule one day’s activities, even if only in his or her head. Writing out the schedule should help it become more concrete for the child. It also provides opportunity to check off things that are completed.

II. AN OBJECT LESSON FOR PUNCTUALITY (Based on the definition).

Setup: Scripture: Deuteronomy 6:18a.Teacher Materials: Bible marked at scripture passage; a variety of objects that remind us of other people (photo album, scrapbook, dollar bill, etc.).


Members of God’s family have shown their esteem for others by doing the right thing at the right time, as God led them. Their actions encourage us to show our love for God and others by doing right things when God leads us to do them. It is important to remember what others have done, so we can follow their example.

Present object talk:

Ask Who is an important person in your life? What are some good things they have done? What is something you can do to remember that person and what they did. Let children respond. Display your objects one at a time and discuss them.


What are some ways that we can learn about and remember people in the Bible who did the right thing at the right time? Offer some names such as Esther, Abraham, Jesus, Joseph. Let children respond. They may talk about reading the Bible or drawing pictures of the Bible stories.


When people are obedient to God, God helps them to do good things at just the right time. God knows when we need to do things. Many people in the Bible listened to God and did some very good things when God told them to. Lets pray and ask God to help us so things as soon as He tells us to.

[Modification of lesson taken from “52 Celebrate & Worship Kids’ Sermons and Object Talks” Gospel Lights Publication, Page 35. ]


Several Songs: 1 recommendation: How ‘Bout You? Ronnie Caldwell, SESAC, HAVE FUN PLEASE GOD CD.

Object Lesson on punctuality: Create your own or see above

Song -recommendation: Promises, Kids on the Rock CD, or God’s Big Picture CD.

Bible Lesson: Based on Luke 10:25-37:

Ask Have you ever felt that you were in the right place at the right time? Allow responses. Our Bible story today talks about a man who was in the right place at a very important time for another person. Introduce story by reading vs. 25-29. The story I am going to tell you is a story Jesus told some people to teach them who their neighbor was. Read verses 30-32. A man was badly hurt by robbers. Two men came by and saw the hurt man, but did not do anything to help him. Maybe they were too busy, or did not like the man. Read verses 33,34. The Samaritan was not a friend of the man. The hurt man was a Jew, and the Jews did not like Samaritans. But this man helped the injured man anyway. Even though other people were there at the right time, only this man did the right things. Read verses 35-37. The Samaritan not only showed his esteem for the injured person by taking care of him on the spot, he followed up and saw that he was properly taken care of until he could get back on his feet. By doing the right thing at the right time, the Samaritan showed that he was the neighbor of the injured Jewish man.

Closing prayer.



This material is published by the Faith Committee of the Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Reproduction and Adaptation is encouraged.