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Why It Takes Courage to Care

This week, I’ve been thinking a lot about care. The word. The concept. The act of it.

Care was something that was front and center in our political discourse this week. The Republicans put forth their new healthcare proposal(a.k.a. Trumpcare) on Monday and spent the week debating it. Meanwhile, the Democrats (like my cousin Congressman Joe Kennedy III) took to the floor to fight for retaining the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare).

Care was also front and center of my mind on Wednesday, International Women’s Day. I got to thinking about all of the millions of women whose lives are devoted to caregiving — whether that’s because it’s their profession, or simply because it’s who they are and what they do.

I also thought about care on a personal level this week. I had a small surgery on Monday that made me dependent on the care of others. My children cared for me, first and foremost. Then there were the doctors and nurses who I didn’t even know, but who stepped up to care for me and care about me during my time of need.

All of this got me thinking about what care means to me in the most practical of terms. How do I define care? What do I care about personally, professionally and politically? How do I show that I care? How do I know someone cares about me, or will care for me? Can a political leader really make you feel cared for? Can your boss? Should he or she even have to care about you?

I think so. I think care is one of the most valuable and important principles for a healthy family and for a healthy country.

I think this is a good time for all of us to think about what care means to us. Many see care as soft, but it’s anything but. Care is a tough, muscular concept. It takes courage to care. It takes passion to stand up for someone or something that you believe in and care about.


Illustration by Julie Paschkis

This week, I had the chance to speak with a few Architects of Change who have put care front and center in their lives. I was so moved by their caring and so inspired by their work. Their caring has literally changed lives and they are worthy of being honored here in The Sunday Paper. (I hope you will also be touched by their stories, which you will find below.)

I myself am trying to build a more conscious, caring, compassionate and connected world, and I’m trying to do that while also not caring too much about what others think about me and how I live my life.

We must each balance our own idea of care with the world’s cold sharp judgments that stop the tender-hearted among us from stepping forward. Remember, those who judge you don’t know you, nor do they care about who you really are. If we want to find our passion and our purpose, we have to care about something deeply, and yet not care about what other people say about what we’re doing. So, care for yourself. Care for others. But don’t care too much what others think or say. Get that right and you can change the world.

My mother used to always say to me, “If you have your health, you have everything.” I would add that if you have someone who truly cares for you and about you, then you have something money can never buy. You have the whole wide world.

Maria Signature



I’ve always believed in the power of one and in the unity of our great country. That’s why I love this One America Appeal campaign –  which is a joint appeal by all five living former American Presidents to encourage their fellow citizens to support hurricane recovery. It’s a reminder that we need to drop our party lines, our state lines, our judgments, and work together as One America. Yes, we are.



In addition to the hurricanes, there was other major news this week. With President Trump announcing his plans to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, millions of these lives now hang in the balance as well. Many think they know who these people are, but I’ve had several conversations this week and realized there’s a real lack of understanding. The NY Times did a nice job putting together this interactive portrait featuring the life stories of 100+ of these individuals. I think it’s worth us all taking a moment to read them and try to better understand.  


God willing, we’re all going to be here for awhile. So, if you’re thinking about how to age well, then you’re going to want to watch this TODAY piece I did this week about a reported “longevity pill.” It’s about a common medication that one doctor hopes could be the key to eliminating certain age-related diseases and leading to a longer life.  



One thing is for sure: we’ll be hearing a lot next week about what Hillary Clinton has been thinking when she releases her new post-election memoir “What Happened.” So many people have weighed in with their opinions on this past election. Now, we get to hear from her directly. Excerpts released so far have certainly been food for thought, including her jabs at Bernie Sanders, who she criticizes for causing “lasting damage” to the Democratic Party. I know I’ll be curious to hear more.   


 This week, we shine our Architects of Change of the Week spotlight on all of the first responders who are serving in Houston, Florida, the Caribbean and elsewhere right now. Some have gotten attention in the news, but so many have been unsung heroes doing incredible work to rescue our fellow citizens and get their families to safety. Many are quickly pivoting from Houston and now headed to Florida. Thank you for all that you are doing. May we all find a way to support your efforts during this time.


Monday marks the 16th anniversary of September 11, a day that is forever stamped in so many of our minds. Today, we share with you a video of Architect of Change Billy Collins, who served as U.S. Poet Laureate in 2001 and wrote a beautiful poem remembering those who had fallen. May we remember today, and may we look ahead to how we can continue to come together as a country.



“My First Coloring Book Is On Sale Now!”

I’m so excited that Color Your Mind” is now a national bestseller! If you know someone with Alzheimer’s or another brain-related challenge, or if you know someone who is a caregiver, I hope you’ll consider gifting them with a copy. It’s designed with love.

“We Want to Make Our Kids Proud. We Want to Give Back.”

The women of Rivet Revolution have also been touched by Alzheimer’s. Through their passion for jewelry-making, they are using their work to ignite conversations and raise awareness. These “WAM Revolution Bands” benefit women-based research.