Maria’s Sunday Paper: Making Memories That Last a Lifetime
Maria’s Sunday Paper: Making Memories That Last a Lifetime
I’ve been thinking about how to make each and every day matter. How to make each and every day memorable and meaningful.
If the last week or so has taught us anything, it’s that people are super fragile. All of us are, at one point or another. It’s hard to know what’s really going on inside the hearts and minds of others, including those we care about most. So, the most important thing any of us can do with our lives — and with the minutes of our days — is to try our best to make them matter for ourselves and for those we care about.
On this particular day, Father’s Day, I’m thinking a lot about my father and the memories we shared during the time we had together. I’m also thinking about all the other fathers I know who are stepping up, showing up, and trying to be as present as possible in their children’s lives. Happy Father’s Day to you!
Like motherhood, fatherhood is the job of a lifetime. And, like many mothers, there are fathers who also doubt themselves and struggle with their role as a parent. They wonder about their importance and their influence on their children. They wonder if they’re getting things right, or if they’re messing up. They ask themselves, “am I better at this than my own father was?” So many men tell me that’s their hope and their desire. They also wonder, “What will my children remember about me after I’m gone?”
Well, I can only tell you what I remember about my own dad, and what I remember is very different than what other people who worked for him in his political and public life might say. First and foremost, I remember the way he loved and treated my mother. He treated her like a queen. Growing up, that’s what I thought fathers did. I thought they treated their wives — the mother of their children — like the most important people on the planet. My father set an example that trickled down to his four sons.
I also remember my outings with my dad. He loved to look at cars, to go to events, and to talk to total strangers. I remember going to lots of baseball games with my him (Go Orioles!). I don’t watch a single one of these games today without thinking about his love for the game and about the handwritten batting averages that he wrote down (in perfect penmanship) inside every program.
I also remember how he spent his time. I don’t walk into a church today without thinking about my father’s love for God (he went to church every day of his life), his belief in the poor, or his lifelong fight for social justice. He always wanted me to also think about how I could help others, too. Today, because of him, I do.
I also remember what he ate. I don’t see a bowl of potato chips or cashews or Macadamia nuts without thinking of my dad. He ate them all almost every day. He also always put them out for guests, as being a consummate host was something he loved to do. Now, I’m like that, too.
I also remember how well-dressed he always was. My dad believed that being well-dressed was a sign of respect for yourself, your family, and others. Any time I see a man in a suit or a sports coat, I think of my father. And, if I smell Old Spice, I’m immediately transported back to my 12-year-old self, watching my dad shave and smack his face with that cologne.
My father was one of two boys. He was a father himself to four boys and to me. As the only girl, I often felt like he never really knew what to do with a daughter. But, he always tried. He wanted to make sure that I was an accomplished athlete. He wanted me to know how to shoot, skeet and trap. He wanted me to be tough. He also wanted to make sure that I traveled the world and understood other cultures and religions. He wanted me to know what made me special, what to do and what not to do, and what I should remember after he was gone.
Here are just a few of his most memorable pieces of advice:
Maria, there is nothing more unattractive than a drunk woman. Don’t ever be that woman.
Maria, there is nothing more unattractive than a woman who sells herself out to a man. Be your own woman.
And, Maria, always remember this. Whenever you walk into a room — any room in the world — know that you not only belong there, but that they are God damn lucky that you walked in. “You are,” he said, “the smartest, most beautiful girl in the world.”
That’s what he said to me over and over, and I believed him.
So fathers, today know this: your words will live on long after you. What you tell your daughters and your sons matters. And, those silly adventures you take them on… Well, your kids actually will remember them years later. (I got my love of going to open houses from my dad.)
So today, remember that it’s not about the brunch or the tie. It’s about the words, the lessons, the notes and the example that you set. It is about you. You matter. Happy Father’s Day.
“I’ve Been Thinking… Reflections, Prayers and Meditations for a Meaningful Life:” If you haven’t read it yet, please do! It’s filled with essays like the one you just read above. Special thanks to @stylinlibrarian for sharing the photo below of my book on Instagram. [ORDER YOUR COPY OF “I’VE BEEN THINKING TODAY]
WHAT OTHERS HAVE BEEN THINKING
I’ve been thinking about the individuals featured below and how their views on the world rise above the noise…
STAY-AT-HOME DAD DOYIN RICHARDS SHARES WHAT HE’S LEARNED ABOUT RAISING GIRLS
Architect of Change Doyin Richards chronicles his life as a stay-at-home dad online as Daddy Doin’ Work. He also has a book by the same name. In this essay he shares with us today, Doyin reveals what he’s learned over time from his experience as a stay-at-home dad to two daughters. [READ MORE]
AUTHOR KELLY CORRIGAN SHARES A SWEET CHILDHOOD MEMORY OF HER BELOVED FATHER
In this endearing essay, best-selling author and Sunday Paper columnist Kelly Corrigan shares a personal memory of her father’s uplifting love and spirit. [READ MORE]
NBC NEWS JOURNALIST KATE SNOW REVEALS THE IMPACT HER FATHER-IN-LAW’S SUICIDE HAD ON HER FAMILY
Following the suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, my friend and NBC News colleague Kate Snow revealed on-air this past week the impact that suicide had on her family after her father-in-law, John, took his own life eight years ago. [READ MORE]
JASON ROSENTHAL, WIDOWER OF ‘YOU MAY WANT TO MARRY MY HUSBAND’ ESSAYIST, BRAVELY OPENS UP ABOUT HIS GRIEF
The late author Amy Krouse Rosenthal broke readers’ hearts last year when she penned the NY Times’ essay “You May Want to Marry My Husband” before passing away from ovarian cancer. Now, her husband Jason is opening up about his grief and life moving forward. He recently gave an emotional TED Talk on the topic and he also spoke to me for the Today Show last week. [WATCH OUR CONVERSATION HERE] Jason has now also penned his own NY Times’ Modern Love column, which you can read in today’s Sunday New York Times.
YOUTH ADVOCATE NEIL PHILLIPS WORKS TO INSTILL CHARACTER AND PURPOSE IN AT-RISK BOYS WHO NEED IT MOST
I was so impressed by a recent talk given by Architect of Change Neil Phillips, that I asked him to write a piece for this special Father’s Day edition of The Sunday Paper. The founder of Visible Men Academy, Phillips has made it his mission to lead at-risk boys toward a realization of their innate strong character – boys who are family orientated, community conscious, and globally aware. [READ MORE]
FAMILY SETS UP FUNDRAISER TO SAVE THEIR SON, AND OTHER CHILDREN, WHO ARE SUFFERING FROM ‘CHILDHOOD ALZHEIMER’S’
This week, we honor the Sarker family as our Architects of Change of the Week. Carter Sarker, age 6, suffers from Sanfilippo Syndrome, a fatal, progressive brain disorder found in little children that causes them to lose the ability to talk, swallow, and walk, and ultimately leads to severe dementia and death. Hoping to use their experience as a way to save the life of their son and other children facing this same condition, the Sarker family has launched a GoFundMe campaign, Saving Carter, to raise one million dollars to fund a clinical trial for this disorder. [READ THEIR STORY HERE]
NEWS ABOVE THE NOISE
Because the media was dominated this week by several unfolding political stories, you may have missed the other news that rose “above the noise.” Below we share a few stories that caught our eye and got us thinking…
1. Mindy Kaling Tells Dartmouth Graduates ‘Be Your Own Cheerleader’: I love Mindy’s uplifting message to the graduates at her alma mater last week, in which she shares her experiences post-college and reminds them that the real world will require them to have “insane confidence” in themselves and their abilities. [WATCH HER SPEECH]
2. Could the Rise in Depression and Suicide Be Due to a Problem With Our Culture? This piece by Kirsten Powers definitely posits something to think about. It examines the effect our Western culture has on our mental psyche due to the fact that we ‘exist largely disconnected from our extended families, friends and communities…” [READ MORE]
3. The World’s First Loneliness Minister Tackles ‘The Sad Reality of Modern Life’: Tracey Crouch, England’s first Minister for Loneliness, has herself suffered from feelings of isolation and depression. She says that since her appointment, she has been meeting with lawmakers from Canada and Sweden who are “looking at us and at how we can perhaps take a lead in helping them tackle isolation.” [READ MORE]
4. Here Are 6 Ways to Boost Your Child’s Emotional Intelligence: Don’t let the summer months hold you back from educating your child on emotional intelligence. This piece offers advice on how to make your child happier, more confident, and more empathetic by teaching them healthy ways to express their feelings. [READ MORE]
5. Yes, Your Brain Can Learn to be Less Racist: Here’s a piece we all need to read. This Fast Company article reveals a study involving test subjects who were repeatedly exposed to unfamiliar faces and objects and trained to have less bias. [READ MORE]
6. Science Tells Us Why We Get ‘Hangry’: Have you ever been so hungry you get angry? A new study published in the journal Emotion revealed that that “being in a stressful situation, and not being in tune with your emotions, may both make a person cross the line from hunger into hanger.” [READ MORE]
7. A Young Girl Confronting Fatal Brain Cancer Lives Life With Resolve: I continue to be amazed by the fortitude young people can find within themselves, even in their darkest hours. In this piece from The Washington Post, photojournalist Moriah Ratner captured the final days of 12-year-old Lola Munoz, suffering from brain cancer, as she tries to live life to the fullest. [READ MORE]
8. To Commemorate George H.W. Bush’s 94th Birthday, His Son Neil Bush Pen’s Piece to Honor His Father’s Legacy: This Sunday, I encourage you to read this touching piece by Neil Bush, who reminds us to follow his father’s example of volunteer service to make our nation stronger, kinder and more united. [READ MORE]
On this Father’s Day, we thought it would be worthwhile to use our Sunday Reflection space to encourage you to reflect on the relationship you have with the father, or father figures ,in your life. Here are a few sentiments shared with us by our Sunday Paper Ambassadors. You can share your thoughts with us here.
INSPIRATION FOR THE WEEK AHEAD
IF THIS WEEK, LEARN MORE ABOUT BRAIN HEALTH BY WATCHING THESE CONVERSATIONS WITH LEADING EXPERTS
MOVE FOR MINDS NEW YORK: A conversation with Caregiver Dan Gasby, Women’s Health Expert Dr. Lisa Mosconi, Finance Expert Sheila Klehm, Neuroscientist and Exercise Expert Dr. Wendy Suzuki, and Meditation Expert Bob Roth.
MOVE FOR MINDS BOSTON: A conversation with Nutritionist Nancy Emerson Lombardo, Brain Health Experts Dr. Rudy Tanzi, Dr. Dennis Selkoe, and Dr. Mark Hyman, and Equinox Fitness Instructor Nina Moore.
MOVE FOR MINDS LOS ANGELES: A conversation with Nutritionist Kelly Leveque, Meditation Expert Bob Roth, Neuroscientist Dr. Richard Isaacson, Neuroscientist Dr. Ruth Benca and Actress, Caregiver and Best-Selling Author Marcia Gay Harden.
MOVE FOR MINDS SAN FRANCISCO: A conversation with Meditation Teacher Njechi Njaka, Neuroscientist Dr. Sharon Sha, Neuroscientist Dr. Dale Bredesen and Home Care Assistance Founder Lily Sarafan.
THE MARIA SHRIVER COLLECTION: GOOD FOR YOU, GOOD FOR YOUR MIND, & GOOD FOR THE WORLD
SOMETHING TO BUY
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, DVDs of her PBS Special “Brain Secrets,” Rivet Revolution bracelets benefiting The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement, and our limited time Koral Move for Minds leggings!
SOMETHING TO WATCH
“The Migraine Solution”: This weekend, this program I hosted for PBS debuts on public stations across the country. In this show, experts and patients debunk myths and discuss the best practices for managing migraines. If you suffer from them like I do, I encourage you to check this out. [CHECK YOUR LOCAL PBS LISTINGS FOR AIR TIMES]
SOMETHING TO TRY
JOIN ME AND EXERCISE YOUR BRAIN: This week, I’m proud to announce my partnership with Brain HQ and the launch of our new program to raise the bar on women’s brain health. Women’s brains have a special journey, with different experiences and challenges from those of men. Together with BrainHQ, we’re now offering women a practical and scientifically-proven tool that can improve their cognitive health and can fit easily into their busy lives. [SIGN UP NOW AT WWW.MARIA.BRAINHQ.COM]
SUPPORT MOVE FOR MINDS THROUGHOUT JUNE!
THE MOVEMENT TO CHANGE THE FUTURE FOR ALL MINDS CONTINUES!
Throughout Brain Awareness Month, join Maria Shriver and The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement in our fight against Alzheimer’s. Here are a few ways to get involved:
BECOME A SUNDAY PAPER AMBASSADOR AND SUNDAY HELP US SPREAD THE WORD! SIGN UP HERE
As a loyal reader of The Sunday Paper each week, we value your input, ideas, and help in spreading the word to your family and friends. Now you can become a Sunday Paper ambassador and help us expand our “digital” paper route. Refer your family and friends to become readers and as soon as just one of them has signed up, we’ll add you to our invite-only Sunday Paper Facebook Group.