Staff Spotlight: Our "Good Deeds"

Before we launched the “A Good Deed in a Weary World” tour to the public, all of President Lincoln’s Cottage staff had the opportunity to participate. We each walked through the house, read, reflected, and wrote our “good deed” we hope to accomplish in 2019, then left them flickering upstairs for all to see.

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“Lead the effort to organize a community greening day at our playground to spend down the remaining funds raised by our playground committee.” – Jeff Larry

“My good deed is to fight injustice, disinformation and hate wherever I can. And that starts right here at the Cottage.” – Zach Klitzman

“My deed for 2019 is to spend more quality time with loved ones, and to facilitate enlightening and genuine conversations with others. Spending time with people is only as valuable as the amount of care you put into it, so quality time face-to-face (even over FaceTime, since so much of my family is back home), is important to me. I also want to have good conversations with people. Not just intellectual conversations about politics and current events, etc. but deeper conversations to strengthen bonds between friends and family members. I’m excited to put this in place for the new year!” – Lydia Miller

“My good deed is to stop using single-use plastic altogether. I’ve been pretty good about keeping my stainless steel straws in my purse and bringing my reusable bags to the grocery store, but I need to step it up. In my opinion, being sustainable should inconvenience you a little, and the stakes are so high these days! Violet (my kid) recently watched a short video about plastic in the ocean and how it affects marine life, garbage island, etc. and it really freaked her out. I wanted to comfort her and tell her that the issue isn’t as scary as the video made it out to be, but I couldn’t. Global warming will affect her generation more than any other to-date. So I want to take more steps to show her how we can do our part to curb what sometimes feels like impending environmental doom by rethinking how and where we shop, how we can avoid creating unnecessary waste, and how we can reuse what we already have.” – Asia Bostock

“In 2019 a goal of mine is to try to let things go a bit more, to not hold grudges or engage with negativity. I’ve been trying to embrace the mantra ‘Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates. Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?’ This quote is often attributed to a variety of people, but either way, it resonates with me. When I do make the choice to let something go, or simply omit a negative comment, it usually feels freeing.” – Jenny Phillips

“I want to spend more time with my mother. Although I’m a local and see her pretty regularly, I often feel like I don’t spend enough quality time with her. I’d love to learn a recipe from her every week and surprise her with her own cookbook.” – Sahand Miraminy

“My good deed was to ‘call my grandma every day’ because the farther away I am from home and the less frequent I visit, I find it all the more important to give her a call just to check in! Even a two-minute chat makes all the difference.” – Jason Molihan

“My good deed is going to work towards empathy by giving people the benefit of the doubt. Often I assume too much about others’ thoughts and actions. It can become negative quickly, and I don’t have time for negativity in 2019.” – Michelle Martz

“My good deed in a weary world is to be a better communicator. Sometimes this means knowing when to let my opinions be known, and when I need to think on them more. Sometimes this means explaining why I’m doing something and not just what or when. Sometimes this means being more vulnerable, which is particularly difficult. But being a good communicator involves knowing when to listen, and to actively participate in listening, which is one of the hardest parts of communicating well. It also means knowing when to prioritize others in communication, to not try to operate in a vacuum, but to embrace this new community I’ve very thankfully developed in Washington, D.C. Over the past year, I have spent a lot of time parsing Lincoln’s interactions with people, the way he communicated. Recently I’ve begun to question if I offer myself the same opportunity for earnest criticism, and the space to contextualize my own successes and failures. I try to frame my ‘Resolutions’ as questions I can ask myself throughout the year. It started when I was seventeen, when I started asking myself, ‘am I being the bigger man?’ Then it was, ‘Am I being patient?’ ‘Am I prioritizing correctly?’ ‘Am I being kind?’ Well, this year, its ‘Am I being a good communicator?’ I’m very thankful for the new program for giving me the space to reflect on this year’s question, that I hope improves my experiences this year, and the lives of every person I have the luck to come across this year. ” – Kevin Lukacs








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