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Sunday, November 11, 2007

After the Eleven Plus

Post examination days are sometimes filled with noise and general disruption. Parents whose children have just finished the Eleven Plus examination will understand these sentiments. Indeed the noise of amplified ipods may reverberate around the house – and in the car and in other uncalled for situations or circumstances. Parents will repeat again and again: `Too many decibels. Tone it down.”

But think of the parents of young blue whales. We know that blue whales are the largest creatures ever to have lived on earth. A lesser known fact is that blue whales make the largest noises too. Its bass call sounds through the water for thirty seconds or more. The sound carries over vast distances.

One whale was recorded giving an output of 180 decibels. This would be deafening to our ears. We don’t really know what these loud noises mean. They are probably used for courtship, pairing and communication. Our ten year olds are probably using loud noise for these three reasons as well as a desire to irritate. Some of our ten year olds are also probably using loud noise for calling other like minded children to a frenzy of social gathering and talking nonsense.

Now why is it that if we put our ear to water and hear the sound of a great whale we weep with joy – but if we hear the sound generated by a liberated ten year old we feel anguished and full of anger?

A whale can project a sound that will travel fifteen miles through water. Pop your child into a wetsuit and encourage him or her to turn the ipod on to full blast.

The whale is the winner.

So if your child comes out of the examination and says excitedly: “Mum, I had a whale of a time!” Be happy.

If your child comes out and says: “Mum I blew it!” Be happy because even noisy little whales need to be loved.

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