Just yesterday my brother graduated from high school as one of 266 students in the class of 2013! One of his classmates and close friends, JoJo, gave a memorable speech where she requested that everyone aspire to be “a stump”! Crazy, right?
Why would anyone ask an entire audience of people and her classmates to “aspire to be a stump”
Oddly… I thought I might know right from the beginning, and my hunch proved to be right. Her inspiration to work towards “being a stump” through the way she lived her life stemmed from the book The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. In case you haven’t read the book, it is an incredible story about a boy, a tree and their friendship. Throughout the boy’s life, as he ages into an old man, the tree gives all that he can until finally he has nothing more to give the boy. At this point the boy, no longer a boy but an old man, just wants a place to rest. The stump, having what appeared at first to be nothing left to give, gives still, providing the old man with a place to rest. No longer just a stump, but a perfect seat for the old man.
… So what’s the moral of the story? What was JoJo really asking the class of 2013 and everyone to do?
She was requesting that everyone aspire to give unconditional love during their life, just as the stump gave the boy throughout his life.
As mentioned I had graduation on the mind during the weekend. A mixed emotions experience, graduation is a great time for people to contemplate who they want to be. I think an incredible idea is to live out JoJo’s idea. I say…
“Sure, I’ll “aspire to be a stump”! I’ll love unconditionally. I’ll work towards a better world. I’ll forgive when hurt. I’ll keep smiling. I’ll work for my dreams. I’ll be honest with myself. I will do my best to be ‘the best stump I can be‘ “<3