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  • Writer's pictureKate Talbot

Maria Shriver And Patrick Schwarzenegger On Highlighting The Helpers

Updated: Sep 17, 2020

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

Now more than ever, that quote from Mr. Rogers resonates. Amongst the downhearted news arises the heroes that bring about hope and change.

For Maria Shriver and her son, Patrick Schwarzenegger, who are now sheltering-in-place together, they are using this opportunity to highlight the helpers who inspire their communities to take action for the greater good.

I spoke with Maria and Patrick about how they are leveraging their digital platforms to spread positive news through Maria’s Sunday Paper and their joint Instagram Live, #HomeTogether.

Kate Talbot: Maria, tell me about The Sunday Paper?

Maria Shriver: The Sunday Paper is a weekly digital newsletter. It's a paper with purpose, which is to inspire hearts and minds and move humanity forward one person, one story at a time. It's been a labor of love. With grassroots growth, it is now in 80 countries. It's an excellent vehicle for people to sell books, express opinions, and to meet people whom I admire whose viewpoints are moving us forward. 

Talbot: What inspired you to start?

Shriver: The paper's original goal was to give people a platform that espoused views that weren't on television, that wrote books that people were interested in, which traditional mainstream media wasn't covering. There is a real desire for uplifting, inspirational news that isn't biased, negative, one-sided, but is thoughtful and covers all different areas.

Ideally, it encourages people to think about their own life and how they can move the needle forward in whatever way they choose, whether it's in their neighborhood, their own home, the place where they work, or in politics.

Talbot: As you’re sheltering-in-place you have joined forces with your son Patrick Schwarzenegger for an Instagram Live show #HomeTogether, can you expand on that?

Shriver: We’re using our platform to highlight the people that we call the helpers, the healers, and the cultivators of hope. That was our intent. Everybody has their broadcast platform right now, so why not use it to elevate the voices, the ideas, the activities of people who are trying to make a difference.

Talbot: Who has been a pivotal guest for you?

Shriver: They've all been inspirational to me. Whether it's Mitch Albom saying my gift is to be a writer and deciding to write a book chapter every week and asking people to donate and raise money to open a Detroit testing center. All of these people, I have looked at their unique gifts and tried to find a way to share them with the world and raise money. Every person we talked to is deeply motivating, deeply inspiring, and deeply good.

It’s inspirational to hear from Ashton Kutcher on why he started a wine label and the money he wanted to raise or Bethenny Frankel about the work she's doing raising money for masks — all of these people are stepping forward and saying, "I can use the talent that I have to make a difference.”

Talbot: By bringing these stories to life on Instagram, what have you learned about community? 

Schwarzenegger: In times like these, it's always interesting to see how people come together, put aside their differences, and find ways to help people that are struggling. Through Instagram, we can get our message out to tons of different people. It's how we are able to promote optimism and people that are using charities or creating organizations to help people that are really in need. 

Talbot: Switching gears, Maria, I'm sure you're so excited that you're going to be a grandmother. You come from an incredible legacy. Is there anything you learned from your mother you wish to impart to your granddaughter or grandson?

Shriver: Everything I learned from my mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, I've tried to impart to my children. I take many of the things that she did, and then I've added my take. She's certainly my hero, but I mother differently than her. A grandchild is not your child, so you have to take a cue from the child's parents. I'm waiting for my instructions. 

My grandmother, Rose Kennedy, was a significant influence in my life. She was my godmother, and she and my mother taught me a lot. I hope to be able to teach my children and grandchildren about life, love, service, family, and about being a strong woman. All of those things are what I try to remind myself daily. 

Talbot: Maria, what advice do you have millennial writers or entrepreneurs during this unpredictable time? 

Shriver: The advice I would have is to look at this in the long term; you're going to stay the course and survive. Pave a new path forward and focus on your strengths. One of the interesting things about my conversation with Mitch Albom is he said, "I thought about what I do well? What is my gift?" And he said, "That's writing. How can I take my gift and turn it around to help other people?"

If we all think about our gifts and who might support your talents to lead you forward, you will never go wrong.

Don't be afraid of the job you said you would never take. Take it. Don't be fearful of looking at your gift and not know exactly how it looks. Don't be afraid when people say not now or no. I've been booking people for interviews for 40 years. This period has, by far, been the easiest because people are at home. More people have said yes to us in the last two months than in my entire career. Everything has its moment, and you look at everything that leads to something else. Everything gets you ultimately where you want to go. Life is a marathon.

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