Read Elements For A Healthier Life Magazine Issue 11 | March 2017 - Page 41

From Start in the Dark: When Egos Feed Workbook

"The dark is where the most beautiful creations begin. You are a miracle and you were created in the dark womb where you began to flourish and grow. Or take a moment to ponder that moment that we are going to plant a seed, however it is too soon. Mother Nature needs to be calm, still and nurture you before you can blossom. We cannot get ahead of ourselves can we.

We are going to begin this point like that. We are going to begin as if this is the winter month.

Winter: This is a time for cold darkness where the days shorten and the nights increase. This is a great time of quite stillness.

Turn off the lights and take a moment to sit in the quiet stillness."

Life experiences lead us on a winding and twisting journey. We think we know where we are traversing, however circumstances crop up and, often times, we go into unfamiliar territory.

Natasha Botkin, the mother of two autistic sons, was a successful entrepreneur of a rental management company when she chose to enroll her youngest son in school (versus homeschooling). Her son has the IQ level of a genius, however his social skills and emotional level are on the spectrum with a developmental disability. Natasha had no idea this single decision would ultimately change her life.

Natasha volunteered in her youngest son’s classroom. The encouragement she received from the school principal and fellow staff members was motivation for her becoming a ParaProfessional. Her passion led her to teach reading and writing to students in Title I (students needing assistance in learning reading, writing and math).

Natasha said, “I am very different than most educators in the sense that I don’t look at kids as just students. They are more than a student. They are a whole person. They are a son, a daughter, a cousin, brother, sister, baseball player, video gamer, artist …”

Her business and personal circumstances underwent a drastic change. Through this period of transition, she found her strength in helping her students and became an autism specialist. “The technical term is emotionally disturbed. Out of respect for them, I always say ‘at risk’.”

The opportunity arose for Natasha to teach ‘at risk’ students in a virtual classroom, and she took it. Natasha currently works with 13-16 year olds. She shared, “This is an age when the brainwave turns from delta into alfa. For example, have you ever looked at a teenager and felt that you didn’t recognize them any longer? The truth is that they are literally changing their brainwaves.”

“This is just a snapshot in their lives,” Natasha stated. “The biggest thing is, they need respect and love. When you give them respect and love, they’re amazing.” Allowing the students to value themselves, to be okay with who they are, is a very strong element of self love.

“I keep using a certain word with a lot of parents. Their ‘at risk’ children are successful with me as their educator is because I give them the allowance to be themselves. They don’t think like other people, I want them to think outside of the box, and I want them to be empowered to be the strong person that they are.”

Natasha has discovered through her experiences as a teacher and mother of two autistic sons, who she is, which has allowed the acceptance of what is. Natasha has a natural gift of teaching people of all ages how to accept and allow, and that it’s okay to be your own unique self. “I always say, ‘not everyone learns the same ways on the same day and that’s okay.’ One moment at a time, and all I ask for is your personal best.”