At about this time of the year parents start giving shorter pep talks. They know that the examinations are growing closer – and deep in their hearts they know too that they can not put too much pressure onto their much loved children.
The pep talks won’t always be the two of you sitting across the table – there could be stolen moments. A father could catch sight of a little scrap of paper and say ever so gently: “You don’t want to go around picking up scraps of paper all your life, do you?”
Any bright and engaging eleven plus child will not hesitate to offer: “But Dad. That is from our lunch. The wind blew it away. We do need to pick it up. You have always told us not to loiter and not to litter.”
Another sort of pep talk could come while the evening meal is being prepared. “Well dear, I see the markets are down again today. Our investments are falling. We may need to re-evaluate. You know that good A Levels may not be enough to get into university. You know too that the job markets are shrinking. You need to take stock.
Passing the Eleven Plus may not be enough. You may need to get an A* pass.”
(Eleven Plus child sotto voce: “Not another pep talk. Leave it off.”)