February is the month of commemorating two presidents who exhibited compelling character. Character includes mental and moral qualities, integrity and uprightness. Despite their limitations, President Washington and President Lincoln are witnesses to a virtuous life for ongoing generations. They exemplify what columnist David Brooks maintains are “two sets of virtues, the résumé virtues and the eulogy virtues. The résumé virtues are skills you bring to the marketplace. The eulogy virtues are talked about at your funeral—whether you were kind, brave, honest or faithful. Were you capable of deep love?” (NY Times, April 11, 2019). These are the virtues that exemplify character. Undoubtedly, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln are noted for having both résumé virtues and eulogy virtues. Leadership skills enabled them to guide our country through some tremendously challenging times. They are honored even more for their kindness, bravery, honesty, faithfulness, and loving ways. Which virtues are you cultivating?
by Michaela Hedican, OSB