It is not uncommon for patients entering Vision Therapy to have challenges with self esteem. School is tough, homework time is a war zone, and compared to their siblings and classmates, they’re just not keeping up. Frustration and anger lurk just below the surface, and are poised to erupt at the first sign of trouble. The one emotion that has always been a troubling bi-product of these circumstances grows out of a few specific thoughts – I can’t do this, it’s too hard, my friends are better than me – and that emotion is what I refer to as the “because I’m stupid”. So many times a child has sat in front of me explaining the reason they fall behind, or the reason they are failing, or the reason their sister or brother succeeds and they don’t is simple – because I’m stupid.
No you’re not.
Some of the smartest kids I’ve ever met are the frustrated kids. These are the kids that KNOW they should be able to achieve well at school, who KNOW that they have the brain power to excel in class, who KNOW that reading for 20 minutes a night should be fun, and who KNOW that they have the intelligence to do it all. They just cannot make it work, and have no idea why. That makes them smart.
It is the smart kids who recognize there is a problem, even if the solution is beyond their means. It is the smart kids who get frustrated when a seemingly simple task overwhelms them. It is the smart kids who realize that they are not keeping up, and at times are accused of being lazy, or distractable, or of failing to apply themselves. It takes a true intelligence to maintain that level of self awareness, and a high enough level of caring to not quit when things get tough.
For my money, frustration is a sign of true intelligence.