Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper: A Reflection on this Historic Moment
“All the possibilities of your human destiny are asleep in your soul. You are here to realize and honor these possibilities.” — John O’Donohue
The other morning, I picked up a copy of my local newspaper and simply stopped and stared at the front page. Right there staring back at me were the pictures of multiple women running for president. The cover story was about how each of them is pursuing the highest office in their own way. But before I could even read the article, I had to pause and take in the historic nature of their photos.
As I stood there at my kitchen counter, I thought back to myself as a young girl. What would it have been like for me to see that photo back then? What must it be like for young girls to see that now? I also thought about my mother and all the women who blazed the trail that has allowed so many women to be taken seriously today. We owe them our gratitude.
Over the last few days, I’ve also been thinking about what it must be like for any young boy or girl or LGBTQ or person of color today to look at the field of candidates and see someone who looks like them? It’s really quite remarkable. We have the most diverse field of candidates ever (with Sen. Cory Booker being the latest to announce his run) and I, for one, think that is very exciting and promising.
These candidates are not only embracing the path to the presidency in their own way, but they are also entering the race with different backgrounds than what we have seen before. Most are married, but a few are not. Some have children, but not all. A few are divorced.
Just a few days ago, I watched the film “The Basis of Sex,” which tells the story of the relationship between Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her husband, Marty, and highlights the case they took on that changed the law regarding gender discrimination. They had one fascinating partnership.
Marty was a superstar in his field, but he was also a man who took extraordinary pride in his wife’s intelligence and drive. Not only was he not intimidated, but he pushed Ruth to realize her dreams and he stood proudly by her side when she ascended to our Supreme Court. His story reminded me of that of my own father, who achieved many great things during his time but also never stopped marveling at my mother’s power, drive, fierceness and tenacity. He also never stopped helping her change the world.
As I stood there the other morning, still looking at the photos of the women running for president, I also started to think about the gender stereotypes that exist. What does a candidate need from their partner? Do they need one at all? What does a woman running for president need from her family and from her partnerships and is it more complicated than what a man might need? I think the answer to that last question is “yes” in many ways. We have certain expectations for the role of wife and First Lady, but we don’t have clear expectations yet for what a First Man or Partner might mean.
The good news is that, just as there have been many strong women who have stood by their husbands’ sides, there are also many men like Marty Ginsburg and Sargent Shriver out there — men who have built partnerships grounded in mutual respect, mutual intelligence, mutual fire and mutual drive. I hope the men standing next to our future female leaders can support them in the ways they need. I also hope that we as a society can allow them to step into the role of First Man or First Partner and define how it works for them.
And, if our future president is gay or single, may we support their significant other as well, or simply let them stand strong on their own.
Overall, I am really hopeful that we as a culture and society can stop pigeon-holing politicians and their partners into preordained roles. I’m hopeful that we can see the women, gays and people of color who are running for office today as leaders who are capable of moving our country forward and representing us all, not simply as candidates who are chasing the votes of others like them.
I also hope that we can recognize their partners (or lack thereof) as individuals who are strong enough to stand by their sides and support them as they step into the arena.
Dear God, please keep me open to the possibilities that the future might hold. At times, things may feel uncertain or unknown, but help me remember that sometimes it is the discomfort in life that brings upon change. Amen.
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INSPIRING VIEWS ABOVE THE NOISE
This Week’s “Meaningful Conversations” Podcast Features My Friend & TODAY C0-Host Hoda Kotb
In the third episode of my new podcast “Meaningful Conversations,” which will be released on Monday, I sit down with my dear friend Hoda Kotb to discuss family, career and staying open to life’s beautiful twists and surprises. and
Janet Dorsett Reveals ‘the Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat’ as the Wife of NFL Superstar Tony Dorsett
I am thrilled that Janet Dorsett, wife of former Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett, has written this exclusive essay for us this Super Bowl Sunday. Janet reveals the great joys that Tony’s career has brought to her family as well as the difficulties they have faced since Tony experienced several life-altering collisions that caused traumatic brain injury and dementia.
Martha Beck Explains Why Winning Doesn’t Always Bring Happiness
On this Super Bowl Sunday, SP columnist Martha Beck shares this timely piece in which she reminds us that winning doesn’t necessarily bring fulfillment. Instead, she says, it’s about choosing a game where the effort of playing, itself, is intrinsically rewarding.
SP Reader Lisa Waschka Expresses How Journaling Has Helped Her Cope With Mental and Physical Pain
I love when our Sunday Paper readers write for us. This week SP Ambassador Lisa Washka reached out to let us know how much journaling in “I’ve Been Thinking…The Journal” has helped her deal with anxiety, depression, and fibromyalgia.
INFORMATIVE NEWS ABOVE THE NOISE
1. A Super Bowl First: Male Cheerleaders: This Sunday, two professional dancers, Quinton Peron and Napoleon Jinnies, will join the cheering team for the LA Rams and become the first men to cheer for a team during the big game.
3. Here’s Why Silence Is Vital for Our Brains: I’ve always said we need to give ourselves occasional mental breaks. This interesting piece reveals that being in silence can open us up to inspiration and also nurture the mind, body, and soul.
4. New Zealand Prime Minister Wants To Focus On Empathy, Kindness, and Well-Being: This should be the standard for every nation. Because homelessness and youth suicide rates are high in her country, New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Arden wants to establish a “Living Standard Framework” to ensure the well-being of her population.
6. Some Fraternities Are Embracing a More Inclusive Form of Masculinity: I’m glad to see that this is happening at colleges across the country. This piece from The New York Times reveals that fraternities are “embracing ‘a more inclusive form of masculinity,’ based on equality for gay men, respect for women, racial parity and emotional intimacy.”
7. How Yoga Is Saving First Responders Across America From Depression: I love finding stories like this. The non-profit group Yoga For First Responders is teaching emergency workers a better way to handle the demands of their hazardous jobs.
8. Yippee Moment of the Week! This fun and creative viral snow-day video announcement was made by Michigan high school administrators. Definitely a Yippee moment for the kids facing bitter cold in the Midwest this week!
THE SUNDAY PAPER IS A PROUD PARTNER OF THE WOMEN’S ALZHEIMER’S MOVEMENT
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Scientists are finding evidence that microbiome, the trillions of microbes inside the healthy human body, may play a role not just in Alzheimer’s disease but Parkinson’s disease, depression, schizophrenia, autism and other conditions.
A RECIPE FOR YOUR SUNDAY DINNER
We hope you’ll keep sending along photos of your family dinners inspired by The Sunday Paper. E-mail us here and we’ll share them in upcoming editions of The Sunday Paper.
A SUNDAY REFLECTION
This is an excerpt from “Praise For the Song” by Elizabeth Alexander. To read the complete poem, click here.
A SHOUT-OUT TO OUR AMBASSADORS
I am both humbled and inspired by the members of our Sunday Paper Ambassador group. These amazing individuals have been supporting fellow member Kris Corless throughout her struggle with cancer and last fall, they even organized a GoFundMe to help send Kris to Disneyland for her birthday. Several Sunday Paper ambassadors joined Kris in California for her Disney adventure last week and sent along this fun photo of them at the park. Never doubt that one person can change another’s life!
SHOP, SHOP SHOP! AThe Maria Shriver Collection: Good for You, Your Mind, & the World
Visit the shop on MariaShriver.com to get Maria’s book “I’ve Been Thinking,” her coloring book for Alzheimer’s “Color Your Mind,” the Maria candle, Rivet Revolution bracelets benefiting The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement, her new Maria BrainHQ program, and more!
PRAISE FOR THE SUNDAY PAPER
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