What makes a boy or girl into an explorer? What drove Ellen McArthur to want to circumnavigate the world? Will working on eleven plus questions help a child to achieve greatness?
I used to like reading about Eric the Red. His son, Lief Eriksson, was blown off course on his way from Iceland to Greenland and was reputed to be the first European to reach America.
Of course another hero was Bartolomeu Diaz who was the first to round the Cape of Good Hope – right at the bottom of Africa. I used to sit on the beach while on holiday down in Cape Town and think of his bravery in setting off to see the world.
Christopher Columbus probably led too complicated a life for me to feel that I could idolise him. He wanted to prove that that the world was round.
I also liked Vasco Da Gama who sailed to India and brought back amazing goods for sale and as presents.
A name that must creep into any top ten is that of America Earhart. She coped with many problems before, during and after her great flights.
Men and women of this ilk are remembered and go down in posterity. All must have had key characteristics – some of these will be needed by ten year old children writing the eleven plus.
A desire to achieve and reach a goal
A dream that encompasses hard work and endeavour
A willingness to put up with personal deprivation and hardship
An understanding that failure is not an option.
Of course these are worthy attributes. Think, however, of the hardship undergone by a ten year old not going out to play because of the need to work on eleven plus papers. Think of little or no television for the duration of the eleven plus year. Imagine what it must be like to be a child and have to listen to homilies and eleven plus pep talks from parents and teachers alike.