By Anna Katharine Thomas
Street Sense vendor Phillip Howard just turned 60, and offered to share a few lessons and stories that he has learned during his six decades of life.
Howard was born September 20, 1951 in Washington, D.C. at Georgetown University Hospital. He said his favorite birthday so far has been this one because, Howard said, he finally realized what his mother meant when she told him, “one day you are gonna stop…”
“Through the years, I realized what she was trying to tell me early in my life. And I have outlived my oldest brother, and I have outlived my baby brother, but I still have my three sisters and my one brother—and I love them all,” said Howard.
Howard has lost a lot of loved ones during his lifetime, but through it all he said he has learned how important it is to communicate with others.
“If we don’t communicate, how do I know what you need?” said Howard.
He emphasized the importance of communication, especially within families. Adults should “be responsible and communicate. Give good advice, not bad advice…enlighten one another.”
Howard said a child’s responsibility is to listen to their mother and father.
“They know. They know wisdom. They know strength, and they know love,” said Howard.
He has been with Street Sense since November of 2003, and if there is anything he has learned during his time as a vendor it is that “you can’t demand anything.”
“Be humble. Be kind. Be courteous, and understand. Don’t get frustrated…you are doing a community service. The people are doing a community service by buying the paper,” said Howard.
But in being humble, kind, courteous and understanding we must all remember
that we are human beings. We must treat one another as human beings, and demand that others treat us the right way, according to Howard.
“I’m not the richest guy in the world, or in the United States, but I am happy,”
said Howard. “I am not perfect as an individual, but I humble myself to everyone because I have learned from a wise person. I remember him saying many many years ago, ‘common courtesy
can carry you along.’”
Through all his days of struggle and difficulties, Howard said for his birthday he celebrated by thanking God.
“I didn’t do any parties or balloons I just prayed that thank the Lord for allowing me to see another birthday through my times of struggle,” said Howard. Because “You don’t know what’s gonnna happen to you.”
A few things Howard said he wanted everyone to remember: