Some how or another our ten year olds have to find some strength and wisdom while they are still only in Year 5 at school. At times they have to be single minded and even virtuous as they try to maintain a balance between their studies and the rest of their lives. But what makes a ten year old feel virtuous?
The often quoted lines from Proverbs comes to mind: "A virtuous wife is worth more than rubies." But we must appreciate that this is not quite the same virtuous feeling that we hope our ten years olds will attain.
The word `ruby’ comes from Latin - well it would, wouldn’t it? I was in the lower end of the Latin form at school. I never ever felt virtuous learning Latin. I do remember, however, that a word like `ruby’ in Latin could be Masculine, Feminine or Neuter - and it could even be Singular or Plural.
Some one far more erudite than me would be able complete the exercise - and then go on to use the words in a series of sentence.
Some of our eleven plus children will enjoy reading and learning Latin at school. We know that the numbers of children learning Latin at Grammar School has fallen over the years. There still are some pockets, however, of dedicated teachers who continue to value Latin. I wonder if there are more after school clubs where children can learn jewellery making than there are clubs teaching Latin?
There is another quotation (this time from Job) which says: `The price of wisdom is beyond rubies.” This phrase points out quite clearly the immeasurable value of wisdom. Our ten year olds could certainly strive for wisdom in their lives. I wonder if a ten year old would find it easier to be virtuous than wise?
We can only hope that our children, when they land up at Grammar School, will continue to be both virtuous and wise. We hope that the pressure of the eleven plus examinations does not rob them of their love for learning or even their innocence.
We hope too that one day, through hard work and discipline, coupled with a thirst for knowledge, that they will be able to afford the rubies of their choice. To make sure that your child is both virtuous and wise on the day the examination you will have to make sure they are wearing a pure and thrice blessed ruby. This way you will be keeping a few more eleven plus options open.