Tomorrow, I will be at my Alma Mater to deliver a message to the graduating batch of 2010. It is the Grade School department who invited me so my speech is tailored for children age 12-13. But of course, since the event is a time when the school's administrators, teachers and parents celebrate a milestone achieved by them and by their children, I will also touch on this joyous accomplishment in their lives.
I did a bit of reading on the memorable commencement speeches by "famous" personalities who delivered inspiration to groups of graduates over the years. It has led me to very good models.
There's Steve Jobs' address to Stanford grads in 2005. Funny how at such an occasion, Jobs talked about death, hunger and foolishness. Paul Hawken, on the other hand, ruminates on life, earth and our smallness being a part of the whole universe. His speech challenged the graduates of the University of Portland to consider serving humanity in the field where they excel the most. He was also campaigning to save Mother Earth in the first place. His belonged to the top ten commencement speeches of the past decade. And then there's JK Rowling's "The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination" delivered in 2008 at Harvard. I love it.
I'm no Steve Jobs. Neither can I do Hawken's insightful take on living and loving the planet we call mother. Rowling's shoes are too humungous to fill. So I'll just do my best with the intention of delivering a message that would relate to my audience's experience and context.