If you wanted to reward your eleven plus child for a good piece of work, what method would you use? Would you plum for a concrete reward – something tangible or go for something sweet satisfying – the proverbial current bun? Some parents would even be tempted to go for a reward that has an appeal to the mind and the soul.
Do you remember the words of Tennyson in his poem called `The Revenge’? He used these stirring lines – which may appeal to boys and girls alike:
'Shall we fight or shall we fly?
Good Sir Richard, tell us now,
For to fight is but to die!
There'll be little of us left by the time this sun be set.'
And Sir Richard said again: 'We be all good English men.
Let us bang these dogs of Seville, the children of the devil,
For I never turned my back upon Don or devil yet.'
What about Sir Walter Scott’s take on bravery and fortitude in `Marmion’?
The stubborn spearmen still made good
Their dark impenetrable wood,
Each stepping when his comrade stood
The instant that he fell.
Parents may hesitate to read the whole poem to their children – especially if there is Scottish blood in the family. It is obvious that the poem is about bravery and fortitude – and endeavor against incredible odds.
You may need to convince your child of your pride and wonder and your admiration and gratitude. (Is this really my child?) For immediate gratification offer a quick reward like an ice cream. A more long term reward is the promise of a visit to the pictures. Few children would prefer a wordy reward to an immediate flash of silver.
If your child’s eyes flicker in disappointment at being offered a paltry reward for having done an excellent piece of work – remind him or her of Horatio.
Now who with stand on either hand
And keep the bridge with me?
Horatio and his friends held the bridge. This is all good romantic stuff for a bright ten year old to read and enjoy.
We can now see the threads of the argument drawing together.
Children need to fight for what they want – and not turn their back when the going gets rough.
As soon as one hurdle has been scaled, your child needs to prepare to climb the next.
Your child may need a few friends around at times to keep the morale up. For an outstanding piece of eleven plus work you could organise an eleven plus sleepover. This would be three or four friends. You could lay on a movie then an eleven plus paper. You would be able to show your gratitude and pride – but not lose sight of the long and involved eleven plus road ahead.