At IgnitED, we try to encourage students to see their future, not as something they inherit but something they co-create.  

Often (for all of us) this is easier said than done.

It is easier to assume that those with more power, experience, influence or money have things in hand - until you see they don't.

The following inspirational blog post is by Emily Bennington, a mindful leadership guru for professional women, whose West Virginia water supply has recently become flooded with toxic chemicals. 

It's a reminder that we all need to step up to the plate, in our glorious imperfection, and be of service - whether engaged in local issues or global issues which frankly, increasingly are local issues too.

Becoming About Things That Matter - Emily Bennington

Years ago psychologist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Carl Rogers was speaking to a group of college students.

“Who among you,” he said, “are going to be the great engineers?”


“Who among you are going to be the great artists?”


“The great CEOs, the great scientists, and the great authors?”

None of the students raised their hand.

“If not you,” Rogers continued, “then who?”

I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently in light of the collective failings that have led to the slow poisoning of our state’s water supply. 

Sure the politicians and regulatory agencies dropped the ball, but so did we.

Everyday citizens who went about our days unaware and uninvested in the health of our air, water, and soil until it reeked of 4-methylcyclohexane 

If you think the word alone is scary, try standing beside a steaming shower of it wondering whether to bathe your children.

To be honest, there’s a part of me that wanted to be in denial about these issues because looking meant I might actually have to do something and, like you, I’m very busy.

Busy being an entrepreneur, a mother, a wife, and a student – and so maybe I’m not exactly saving the world but, hey, I buy Haitian jewelry as Christmas presents and give money to UNICEF. That’s enough, right?

Guess not.

Because, slowly but surely, I’m getting the hit.

The wake-up call.

The persistent voice that keeps reminding me that “other” people’s problems are no longer “other” people’s problems.

Whether it’s breathing China’s smog in 
Los Angeles
eating toxic chemicals, or – surprise! –discovering you’ve been drinking them for years, there comes a point where you just have to say “enough is enough.”

If there is any “good” to be found in the challenges of our time, it’s that they don’t come without the opportunity to give birth to something within us that has been gestating for far too 

And once you “get it”, believe me, you don’t think the way you did before.

You don’t act the way you did before.

Most of all, you’re not waiting to become your perfectly-actualized self to step up.

You’re just sick and tired of worshiping the problem and ready to be part of the solution.

Sometimes it takes this outrage to remind us that we not only have a choice in whether to play deep or shallow in life, but that life tends to reciprocate by giving us deep or shallow experiences in return.

So I’m putting it out there that, yes, I’m ready to play deeper.

I have no idea what that looks like yet, only that I’m going to trust the same intuition that keeps gently but persistently reminding me to use this as a chance to be of service.

I hope you’ll join me.

Because, if not you, then who.