In education, fertilizer for growth
April 4, 2012
By Sgt. 1st Class Jeff Troth
CAMP CASEY South Korea -- Have you been fertilized today?
That was the question that Sandra Knight was asked by her mother throughout her life.
Knight was the keynote speaker at this year's Area I Women's Professional Development Symposium held at Camp Casey's Community Activity Center, March 30.
Knight, prevention coordinator with the U.S. Army Garrison Red Cloud's Army Substance Abuse Program, spoke to those in attendance about the lessons she learned from her mother and how that empowered her throughout her life.
"I never meet a person who was as smart as she was with only a 6-grade education," said Knight. "She would make you feel like life was a playground and all you had to do was learn the rules."
This meant that you had to be able to keep score, which meant you needed to know how to do math. Her mother also taught her that in life as in any game, it doesn't always go your way. For this reason you have to know how to read and "how to communicate, be able to study and prove your point of view, and be confident" in knowing what you are saying is correct.
All eight of the children had jobs to help prepare them for life. Even the boys had to learn how to cook and clean so they wouldn't have to depend on anyone else. One of Knight's jobs was to start a fire in the family's wood burning stove.
"'I want you to learn how to make a fire so that you can stay warm. Because sometimes if you depend on a man you may freeze to death,'" Knight said her mother had told her.
One of Knight's other jobs as a child was to plant and maintain a garden. One day her mom asked her why she put fertilizer on her garden. Knight recalls thinking "I know this one" and confidently replied, "so they grow and to keep the insects from eating them."
"My mom told me I was correct, but, when you read and study that is your fertilizer. It allows you to grow and be able to keep yourself strong so that this world won't eat you up when things come to destroy you," said Knight.
"'I want to make sure that you get good and fertilized everyday and I want you to remember that you are never too old -- you continue to grow, you continue to learn,'" she said her mother told her.
Continuing to grow was the message of the day at the symposium, as presenters and guests alike tested their knowledge of women's history.
Quizzes made them break out their smart phones and delve into books to find out who was the first woman to run for President of the United States and who was the first Hispanic woman to serve as the U.S. treasurer.
"There are many sources of power in the world," said Maj. Jeanne Godfroy, during her opening remarks. "The common thread among all sources of power is that keeping and welding it necessitates education."
To help inform those at the symposium, Anthony Barkley, the Area I health and fitness facilitator, set up a display and talked about the health issues that women face depending on their ethnic background.
"We specifically wanted someone here to talk about women's health," said Dacia Florencio-Eady, the installation EEO Women's Program Manager and coordinator of the symposium. "We have such a diverse community here and I wanted the women to know how their ethnicity can be a factor to their health"
To aid their health, Robert Gobble, Area I fitness director, lead the attendees in a 15-minute low-impact exercise session that they would be able to do in their work area or at home. He told them they don't need a lot of time or equipment to stay healthy.
Keeping one's self healthy is good, but Knight believes that we need to help others as well.
"Are you fertilizing anybody in your life?" asked Knight. "Everyone needs to find someone they can fertilize and help to grow."