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John Howard, Ph.D.: Time Is Something That's Precious

Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Sociology, Purchase College, State University of New York

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John Howard, Ph.D. is a Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Purchase College, State University of New York. He received his doctorate in sociology from Stanford University and a law degree from Pace University School of Law.


My name is John Howard. I'm Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus, which means I'm retired, from Purchase College, the State University of New York. I want to say a few things about time. There is a song, there's some lyrics from a song called "Speak Low." And the lyrics go, speak low when you speak love. Our summer days wither away too soon, too soon. And then there's another part of the song which says love is pure gold, and time a thief. Very, very poignant lyrics. But lyrics really capture the sense of time that's limited. Time is something that's precious, that's dear. I think one way of looking at time, the way that I look at time is as a gift, as a gift given to me and a gift that I try to give to other people. Because when you give something to other people, you feel good yourself. And I think times that I've shared with other people, as for example, years ago, when my daughter was about five or six years old, we spent some time at the beach and she built sandcastles. And I remember her great, great joy in building sandcastles on the beach. And that was time. The gift of my time to her, and really of her time to me in a way that I still remember. And then I remember almost like six weeks ago, four weeks ago, spending some time New Year's Eve, into midnight. You know, all of us were senior citizens, but we stayed up well past midnight, sharing that time together. It was a gift that we gave each other. And so the way that I try to think of time now is as a gift that I give to others, a gift that people give to me, and a gift that I share with other people.

Last Updated: August 15, 2022

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