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Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The Eleven Plus and Thank You

There are two little words that must surely transcend any language – namely `Thank You’.

These are the words every parent must long to hear. There must be some families where the words are rare – and in other families it is possible that the words `thank you’ are sprinkled around in a most liberal and welcome manner. It is never possible, however, to take these words for granted.

Your child has just left an eleven plus lesson. You are offered a squeeze of the hand and the words `thank you’. Sitting in the car playing with the radio and your mobile phone is all worthwhile.

You offer a new eleven plus paper and your child turns to you are says “This is exciting. Thank you. I can’t wait to pit my wits against the paper.”

The ever patient grandparent drops the eleven plus candidate off at home and hears the whispered words: “Thank you. That was great. See you next week.” The heart is full as grand parent drives happily away.

You leave the lesson and, without prompting, your child turns to the teacher and says: “Thank you.” You know that pride is a deadly sin – but you do feel proud as you, and your child, stride comfortably away.

Do you remember the poem by Robert Service?


And so when he reached my bed
The General made a stand:
"My brave young fellow," he said,
"I would shake your hand."

So I lifted my arm, the right,
With never a hand at all;
Only a stump, a sight
Fit to appal.

"Well, well. Now that's too bad!
That's sorrowful luck," he said;
"But there! You give me, my lad,
The left instead."

So from under the blanket's rim
I raised and showed him the other,
A snag as ugly and grim
As its ugly brother.

He looked at each jagged wrist;
He looked, but he did not speak;
And then he bent down and kissed
Me on either cheek.

You wonder now I don't mind
I hadn't a hand to offer. . . .
They tell me (you know I'm blind)
'Twas Grand-Père Joffre.

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