Small issues with a big significance.

When New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman visited Greece at the beginning of the crisis, one of his comments was the following:

If in a few years from now you hear that young Greeks are leaving their homeland, then you will know what the future holds for the country.

I would even add that as long as you see our Greek brothers arriving at their appointments very late, and as long as you see their television news programs begin around midnight, then you will know that there has been no progress on the issue of mentality, hence no progress.

The news which saddened me, first thing this morning, and which gave me cause for this seemingly inconsequential commentary, is the Greek Prime Minister’s arrival at the Posidonia exhibition – the ship industry’s fair- an hour late.

One hour late!

The people, meanwhile, were waiting for the Prime Minister to speak so they could continue with their schedule.

Take note: It doesn’t matter it was the ship owners.

What is important is that the Prime Minister was not on time to one of his scheduled events by one hour.

But, you will say, he is the Prime Minister, he’s busy, he’s justified.

He is not justified at all, at least not in times of peace.

And actually, as the Prime Minister, it is easier for him to be on time – he’s got a thousand sidekicks – than it is for you and me.

Barack Obama is also a very busy man, but anyone who has attended the White House receptions for the celebration of Greek Independence Day can tell you that he is always on schedule.

Being punctual, regardless of who you are or what your appointment is, is a matter of courtesy, decency, professionalism. It is also a matter of esteem and respect toward those you are meeting. Being on time is the sign of a King.

And it is certainly also a matter of productivity.

Consider how many millions of working hours have gone to waste each year in Greece due to delays in schedule.

And also consider what a horrible example it is for society and mainly for young people. The result is a never-ending vicious cycle.

In addition, there are the late night television programs or the late dinners which begin at 9:30 p.m. at the earliest.

Visitors from Greece are shocked to learn that dinners in New York on the average begin at 7:30 p.m. -exactly, not approximately-.

How is it possible for a person to be on time for work the next day and be productive when he / she “goes on” at 9:30 p.m.?

Perhaps these examples might be considered superficial.

They are not. They are of great significance.